Ottawa will impose new labeling rules on the food industry. It should clearly indicate on the front of the package if a product contains large amounts of particularly unhealthy ingredients.
Passing through an Ottawa supermarket, Canada’s Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, presented the new symbol that will have to be affixed to these foods.
We know that it is not always easy to make healthier choices, said the minister. We need quick and easy ways to find out which options are the healthiest.
Very small changes in our diet can make a big differencehe pleaded.
Find yourself better in the “jungle” of the grocery store
Finally!exclaims the president of the Order of Dietitians-Nutritionists of Quebec (ODNQ ), Paule Grenier, reached by telephone.
peut le lire”,”text”:”On sait que ce ne sont pas tous les consommateurs qui prennent le temps de retourner le produit pour lire le tableau nutritionnel. Et encore, ce n’est pas tout le monde qui peut le lire”}}”>We know that not all consumers take the time to return the product to read the nutritional table. And again, not everyone may read itshe adds.
Such regulation had become essential, according to Ms. Grenier.
If there weren’t so much industry pressure and so much marketing freedom [des aliments ultratransformés], we would not be there, she said. If we are there, it is because it is necessary from a public health point of view.
” It’s the grocery store jungle. »
However, the federal government is giving the agri-food industry three and a half years to adapt. The new labeling regulations will not come into force until January 2026.
But some foods will escape this new regulation. This is the case, among others, of milk, butter, cheese and minced meat.
In a press briefing, Minister Duclos denied having yielded to pressure from industry lobbies. This decision is, according to him, the result of a
outstanding collaborative and consultative work with all the actors concerned.
This exemption is
a great relief for Jean-Thomas Maltais, president of the Quebec Cattle Producers Association.
: “Pourquoi la viande hachée serait différente d’un roastbeef?” Ça n’avait aucun sens”,”text”:”On voyait la date approcher et on était découragés… on se disait: “Pourquoi la viande hachée serait différente d’un roastbeef?” Ça n’avait aucun sens”}}”>We saw the date approaching and we were discouraged… we said to ourselves: “Why should minced meat be different from roast beef?” It didn’t make sensehe says, pointing out that 50% of the beef consumed in Canada is ground.
His association, a member of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CBCA), has been lobbying Parliament Hill in recent weeks to have these products exempted from the new regulations.
” It would have been a disaster. It would have killed our industry. »
And producers are getting support from food specialists on this issue.
Excluding these products from the list is a
good thingaccording to Bernard Lavallée, known under the pseudonym of Urban Nutritionist.
These are fresh, unprocessed products, in which nothing has been addedhe said in an interview, judging them preferable to
any ultra-processed product.
He insists :
it is important not to demonize these foods, he adds. He still invites you to include them sparingly in your diet.
An opinion shared by the president of her professional order.
The energy that must have been put into identifying highly processed products… already, that’s a lotsays Paule Bernier.
It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s a hell of a step forward.she adds.
A suitable approach?
But not everyone is so enthusiastic about the strategy adopted by Ottawa.
This is the case of Stéphanie Côté, nutritionist and author of the book Buy well to eat better. She fears that this one will only
scare people and does not encourage
fan des approches négatives, qui disent aux gens ce qu’il ne faut pas manger. Au contraire, il faut changer les habitudes de façon positive, en misant sur l’éducation et en faisant la promotion des fruits et des légumes, par exemple”,”text”:”Je ne suis pas fan des approches négatives, qui disent aux gens ce qu’il ne faut pas manger. Au contraire, il faut changer les habitudes de façon positive, en misant sur l’éducation et en faisant la promotion des fruits et des légumes, par exemple”}}”>I’m not fan negative approaches, which tell people what not to eat. On the contrary, we must change habits in a positive way, by focusing on education and promoting fruits and vegetables, for exampleshe says.
” Nobody buys a pogo saying to yourself: “It’s good for my health”… Is it necessary to feel guilty? Is this the best way to convince? »
Bernard Lavallée is also wary of the industry’s reaction. By emphasizing only three nutrients – fat, salt and sugar – he fears that Ottawa will push manufacturers to review their recipes and try to present their products as being from now on.
A soft drink, even without the sugar, is still an ultra-processed product, and it still needs to be avoided.he says, adding that studies tend to show that it is the processing of the products themselves, and not the specific ingredients, that cause health problems.
In a press briefing, Minister Jean-Yves Duclos assured that this new labeling was
based on scientific evidence and that its benefits were
widely recognized by scientists and experts from global organizations including WHO.
He cited as an example many countries, including Chile, which have seen a significant drop in sugar and salt consumption after adopting similar regulations.