Canada to require nutrition warnings on front of some packaged food

Labels will warn consumers of high saturated fat, sugar or sodium levels
Woman doing grocery shopping at the supermarket and reading food labels, nutrition and quality concept

Canada will require that companies add nutrition warnings to the front of pre-packaged food with high levels of saturated fat, sugar or sodium, starting in 2026.

But ground meat will be exempt from the labels, after ranchers groups objected to Health Canada's proposal earlier this month.

The government says the labels are meant to help Canadians make healthier choices, as those nutrients have been linked to conditions such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Health Canada says the new labels will complement, rather than replace, the more detailed nutrition information that's typically on the back of food packaging.

In general, they'll apply on pre-packaged foods that contain more than 15% of the suggested daily value of saturated fat, sugars or sodium.

Ground meat is among a list of foods exempt from the warning labels even if they're high in fat or salt. The product was deemed to have health benefits in spite of high levels of the nutrients.

The rules are set to come into force at the beginning of 2026, which the government says gives companies ample time to manage the costs of adjusting their packaging.

Health Canada will also limit the size of "voluntary health-related information," such as labels that proclaim an item high in fibre.

The proposed labels were at the centre of controversy earlier this month when a group of ranchers opposed the government's plan to include warnings on ground meat.

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