Federal Government announces new Food Health Strategy to revamp Canada Health Guide and improve food labelling.
Health Minister Jane Philpott announced Monday a new food strategy comprised of policy measures that include revamping the Canada Food Guide, making the nutrition labels on food more readable, reducing harmful food additives such as trans fats and sodium, and restricting the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children.
The main components of the strategy are as follows:
Firstly, she has asked Health Canada to come up with a replacement for the venerable Canada Food Guide in the form of a “suite of products” – from the classic chart you can stick on the fridge to an app – that are: Evidence-informed, relevant, written in plain language, easy-to-understand and follow and adaptable to food preferences. There will be a 45 day public consultations process beginning October24.
The second major initiative is to improve the Nutrition Facts labels on food. The plan here is to modify the labelling rules so there are standard serving sizes, more info on sugars, identifying additives such as dyes with common names and making the ingredients easy-to read, and actually put labels on the front of packages.
The third initiative in the minister’s food program is a plan to restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children, something Quebec has has been doing for over a decade with some success.
The fourth element in the strategy is the reduction of harmful food additives such as trans fats and sodium. In a written statement , the Heart and Stroke Foundation said it was “especially pleased to see regulations forthcoming to prohibit artificially produced trans fats in our foods and restaurants. This is important because although we have made great progress, there are still high levels of trans fats in baked products and foods often consumed by children.”
All of the actions announced by the minister were part of the Liberals campaign platform and her ministerial mandate letter.
In developing and implementing the details of the policy, Philpott will have to contend with intense behind-the-scenes intense lobbying from groups such as Food and Consumer Products Canada (FCPC), the lobby group for Canada’s packaged food industry. In its release in response to the food strategy announcement, the industry lobbying group said that the strategy represented “an unprecedented amount of change that will require an unprecedented level of investment and resources (on the part of the industry) in an unprecedented timeframe. This will change what’s in our products, what’s on our product packaging and how those products are marketed”.
In an excellent article in the New York Times published October 5, noted food expert Michael Pollan detailed the enormous resources that the American food industry threw into derailing President Obama’s healthy food initiatives.
Projected House Business for Tuesday, Oct. 25:
Main Chamber Business
The House is meeting between 10:00p.m. – 7:00 p.m. today.
- 10:15 a.m. – Government Business: Bill C-26: An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act and the Income Tax Act may continue to be debated at Second Reading. Watch Here!
- 2:15 – Question Period. Watch Here!
- 3:30 – Private Members’ Debate will resume on Bill S-201 sponsored by Mr. Oliphant (Don Valley West) — An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination. Watch Here!
Projected House Committee Business for Tuesday, Oct. 25
- 8:45 a.m. – The Standing Committee on Health is meeting on Parliament Hill to continue its study of Opioid Crisis in Canada. A full list of witnesses testifying is here. Watch Live!
- 11:00 – 1:00 p.m.: The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage will meet to examine Reinvestment Plan of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).Hubert T. Lacroix, President and Chief Executive Officer of the CBC will be testifying. Watch Here
- 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. – The Finance Committee will be continuing with its Pre-budget consultations. A full list of presenters is here. Watch here!
- 5:30 – 8 p.m. The Special Committee on Electoral Reform will be meeting to continue its study of electoral reform options . Unifor head Gerry Dias will be amongst the presenters and a full list of witnesses can be found here. Watch here!
- Get a full list of House committee meetings scheduled for October 25 on the House committee page.
Search up-to-date Canada Fact Check databases for the full text, approval status, committee hearings and other details of all Federal bills and regulations from the current session here!