June 12, 2015 9:50 am
Updated: June 12, 2015 2:43 pm

Feds want nutrition labels to be easier to read, use consistent serving sizes


WATCH ABOVE: Global News’ Jennifer Tryon sat down with Dietitians of Canada spokesperson Kate Comeau and ran through Health Canada’s new proposed changes to nutrition labels.

TORONTO – The federal government has announced a number of initiatives meant to help Canadians make healthier choices with the foods they eat.

At a press conference in Toronto Friday, Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced proposed changes to Canada’s nutritional labelling regulations.

READ MORE: Making sense of nutrition labels

Included in those proposed changes: making labels and Nutrition Facts tables easier to read and mandating consistent serving sizes so it’s easier to compare foods.

The government also announced proposed changes to how sugar is labelled on food products and identified in ingredient lists.

WATCH: New nutrition labels could make it easier to identify sugar, allergens

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These proposed changes may sound familiar, as they were announced by Health Canada a year ago.

READ MORE: What Health Canada’s ‘easier to read’ nutrition labels would look like

The 2013 throne speech committed to improving nutritional information on food labels. A consultation process was launched in January 2014, with the feds saying more than 10,000 Canadians provided feedback.

Ambrose said that during the consultation process they heard from parents who had trouble comparing similar foods because the serving sizes were inconsistent.

According to Ambrose, Canadians will be consulted on the proposed changes for the next 75 days and within 18 months after that those changes will be published online.

In terms of when consumers will start to see these new labels, that’s not entirely clear.

Ambrose said the government gave industry partners a five-year period to implement any changes that are decided on, but she’s optimistic change will come quickly “because people want it.” However, that five-year period won’t kick in until after the 75-day consultation wraps and the 18-month window has closed and the changes are published.

“We did give industry a good lead time because we don’t want to impose it right away, but we expect to see them come online soon,” she said.

Also on Friday, Ambrose unveiled two new educational tools to help consumers use Canada’s Food Guide: the “My Food Guide” mobile app and the “Eat Well Plate,” which offers more general tips on healthy eating according to the Food Guide.

WATCH: Canada’s food guide goes modern

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