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Out with the Old and In with the New (Food Labels)

Based on feedback from people like you who want to make informed choices when purchasing and consuming food, in December 2016 Health Canada announced a 5-year plan to change how foods are labelled. The 5 years are almost up, which means many of the changes are starting to roll out on the products on shelves. Knowledge is power, and these changes are meant to provide you with the information you need to compare different products and make more informed food choices!  

How does this impact you? Well, you might have already noticed that the food labels on some products are starting to look different. Here’s a side-by-side comparison from Health Canada of the old and new nutrition facts table! 

Here’s what’s changing in the Nutrition Facts Table: 

1. Serving Sizes: Serving sizes on similar foods will be more consistent. The font size of serving sizes will be larger. 
Why it matters: With more consistency, it’s easier to compare similar products. Sizes will be more realistic to reflect how much Canadians typically eat in a sitting. Of course, this is meant to be a guide, and you may have different intake needs.  

2. Calories: The font size of calories will be larger, and a bold line will be added under the calories row. 
Why it matters: The calories will be easier to find in the nutrition facts table and will be separated from the other nutrients.  

3. Percent Daily Value (%DV): The %DV is the amount of a nutrient a serving of food provides compared to the recommended daily intake, expressed as a percent. Values will be revised using updated science and a footnote at the bottom of the table will be added.  
Why it matters: The new values will more accurately reflect the amounts Canadians should be consuming daily. Remember, your individual needs may be different, so ensure you follow the guidance of your health professional. The footnote will help consumers understand what a high or low %DV of a nutrient indicates so they can make choices that suit their individual needs. 

4. Sugars: Sugars will now have a %DV. Before, sugars did not have a corresponding %DV even though fibre and carbohydrates did. 
Why it matters: Canadians will now be able to determine how much sugar a product contains compared to how much the suggested daily serving is. Since many Canadians are looking out for added sugars, it’s also important to look at the ingredients list to see where the sugars are coming from (i.e. natural sugars like dates or added sugars like high fructose corn syrup). 

5. Potassium: Will now be included in nutrition facts tables as both %DV and total amounts (as displayed  in mg). 
Why it matters: Most Canadians are not getting enough potassium, so including potassium on the nutrition facts table will help consumers make wise decisions about the products they consume, especially since potassium is an important nutrient for maintaining healthy blood pressure.. 

6. Vitamin A and C: Will be removed from nutrition facts tables. 
Why it matters: Most Canadians are getting enough of both these vitamins. Ensuring only the most vital information is included on the label decreases confusion and draws your attention to the nutrients that are most important for Canadians. 

7. Calcium and Iron: Will be listed in mg to accompany the %DV that is currently displayed on nutrition facts tables. 
Why it mattersThis will make all the nutrients listed on the table more consistent and make it easier for Canadians who are taking supplements track how much of a nutrient they are consuming. 
 
Here’s what’s changing in the Ingredients List: 
1. Sugars: All sugars will be grouped together in brackets after the name “sugars”. 
Why it matters: This will help consumers identify all sources of sugar added to a food, rather than just listing them together as ‘sugars’. 

2. Food Colours: Colours will be listed by their individual common names. 
Why it matters: Anyone, regardless of their nutrition knowledge, will be able to recognize when colours are added to foods. 

3. Font Size and ColourThere will be a minimum font size requirement and the text must be black on white or neutral background 
Why it matters: The ingredients list will be easier to find and read, making it more accessible to all Canadians. 
 
Here’s a look at what the new ingredients list will look like: 
 
 
Of course, Mother Raw only uses coconut sugar and doesn’t use any food colours in our tantalizingly tasty products, so not much will be changing on our ingredient list. 
 

Written By: Tracy On 

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