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Can J Public Health. 2012 Jun 5;103(4):e260-2.

Front-of-pack nutrition labelling systems: a missed opportunity?

Author information

1
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON. teri.emrich@utoronto.ca

Abstract

Both the US Institute of Medicine and the Canadian Standing Committee on Health have called for simple, standardized front-of-package (FOP) nutrition labelling systems on packaged foods. However, despite scientific evidence and expert consensus on the topic, Canada's Minister of Health has dismissed these recommendations, stating that Canadian consumers already have "the tools they need to make healthy food choices when they shop for groceries". This is relevant since existing evidence suggests that the current regulated nutrition labelling tools may not meet their intended objectives. Furthermore, Canada's current FOP labelling environment--characterized by a variety of FOP labels with varying criteria--does not support the objectives of good nutrition labelling defined by Health Canada. Evidence suggests that well-designed FOP systems are capable of positively influencing consumer purchases as well as product reformulations by manufacturers. The US Institute of Medicine suggests a standardized, simple, interpretive, and ordinal FOP symbol as the ideal FOP labelling system. Although additional research is required, such a system should be considered in Canada, as it may be capable of addressing the shortcomings of existing nutrition labelling tools found in the Canadian marketplace.

KEYWORDS:

Nutrition policy; food labelling; front-of-pack nutrition labelling; policy; public health

PMID:
23618637
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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