Toronto, ON, December 14, 2005 ? Good news for food shoppers. The packaged food and beverages you pick up on store shelves now have standard nutrition information printed right on the label. You?ll find the amount of calories and 13 core nutrients – fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, protein, fibre, sugars, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron ? all at your fingertips.
All of this information appears in a consistent format called a Nutrition Facts table. It?s easy to read and available in both official languages. The table also shows you how many calories and nutrients you?re getting for the serving size shown and the percent daily value so you know if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in one serving.
Labels on food and beverage products are not new. Companies first introduced nutrition labels on packaged food in Canada in the early 1980?s. In January 2003, the federal government introduced an initiative to put standard labels with an expanded list of nutrients on almost all food packages by the end of December 2005.
The only exemptions are products with single ingredients such as spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, and raw meat and poultry that are not ground. Small businesses with less than $1 million in sales have an extension until December 12, 2007.
Over the last three years, food companies spent more than $260 million collectively to convert to the new label format. Companies invested a lot of time and resources into redesigning packages, as well as undertaking nutrient analysis, translation and printing for thousands of new packages.
While companies had until December 12th to include the new labels on their packages, it will take a few months for all products with the new labels to work their way on to store shelves. However, you may have noticed the new Nutrition Facts table already, since many products were converted months in advance.
To help make sense of the nutrition information on labels, the Dietitians of Canada and the Canadian Diabetes Association with support from the food industry developed a program called Healthy Eating is in Store For You.
A website supporting the program has simple, easy-to-use tools and tips to help you make sense of the label. You can even take a virtual shopping tour to test your label reading skills. To learn more, visit www.healthyeatingisinstore.ca.
Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) is the industry association representing the largest number of Canadian-operated member companies that make and market retailer and national brands sold at stores across the country. The industry employs more than 350,000 Canadians, making it the largest employer in the manufacturing sector, and annually contributes more than 5 million bags of groceries to food banks across Canada.