Nutrition Labels of Unhealthy Foods Should Be On The Front Of Packages

Armen Hareyan's picture
Banana Nutrition Label

Wouldn't it be nice if nutrition labels were written in bigger sizes and on the front of packages? Especially for those foods that contain unhealthy ingredients, such as too much salt or too much sugar.

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Blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are all conditions that force many people to monitor their diet, but it is not always easy to know what is found in the food that is being consumed. Canada wants to address this problem as the government wants to tackle chronic diseases caused by poor nutrition.

"It's really growing," Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor told a press conference on Friday, referring to the growth of chronic illnesses. "Two out of five Canadians suffer from at least one chronic illness, so eventually we know we need to do something," she added.

Food Nutritional Symbol On The Front of Processed Food Packages

She now proposes the addition of a nutritional symbol on the front of packages of processed foods to notify consumers of their high content of saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. This corresponds to 15% or more of the recommended daily intake.

The consumption of these ingredients in large quantities is one of the causes of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Don't Miss: Feeding your family good nutrition without having to read food labels.

"If we think about the obesity crisis among young people, it is a huge and growing scourge," says the director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Yves Savoie. "There are obviously other factors such as sedentary lifestyle, but junk food plays a very important role and it is a time bomb."

He welcomes the Health Canada initiative that will allow consumers to see at a glance which products contain a high level of fat, sugar, or salt that they did not suspect beforehand.

"Behavioral science shows us that these logos have a dissuasive effect on consumer choice," says Paule Bernier, President of the Professional Order of Dietitians of Quebec, who also supports this new policy.

"This measure would affect 50% of all products processed in grocery stores," Health Canada officials said during a briefing with reporters. They expect the agri-food industry to reduce the fat, sugar, and salt content of its products.

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"This is what happened in Chile where the experiment has already been tried," said Minister Petitpas Taylor.

"It's certain that some processors will make major or drastic changes," said Quebec's President of the Quebec Food Processing Council, Sylvie Cloutier, who is nevertheless in favor of these changes.

"There are others for all kinds of reasons that will not be able to decrease below the 15% of the daily intake for chemical, recipe or other reasons," she added.

Bread and cheese belong to this category. The Dairy Farmers Association is also concerned that many of their products will carry the warning logo even though they contain other essential nutrients, reports the Canadian Press.

Certain foods such as whole or 2% milk, packaged fruits and vegetables without added sugar, and vegetable oils such as canola oil or olive oil would be exempt because of their health benefits. However, this is not the case for all dairy products.

People To Choose Between 4 Symbols for Food Labels

Health Canada is asking Canadians to choose between four symbols that would warn consumers of the high content of a product in fat, sugar, and salt. The public consultation will end on April 26.

The proposed changes would come into effect in December 2018 and the agri-food industry would then have three years to comply.

This new logo is part of a series of measures to encourage Canadians to eat better. All trans-fats will be banned in processed foods starting in October. Health Canada is also working on a new version of Canada's Food Guide that will be available later this year.

Would you like to see bigger and clearer labels on our food packages in the United States, especially those that contain harmful ingredients in excess quantities? Please, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Based on Materials from Canadian Press

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