Roth: Nutrition labels on the front of packaged foods will save billions of dollars in healthcare costs


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As we learned from the pandemic, the best way to decrease the cost and impact of the disease is to prevent it by wearingmasks, social distancing, working from home and to get vaccinated.

We must apply the same lessons to others serious health challenges.

While eating processed foods is linked to increased health risks, including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, obesity and Cancer. In 2019, an estimated 36,000 deaths in Canada were attributed to unhealthy eating.

The processed food industry thrives during the pandemic like us eat more comfort foods and snacks.Unfortunately, identifying healthy choices and comparing products in grocery stores are not easy tasks. We need simple nutritional information on the front of packaged foods. This is a very important way of ushelp avoid illnesses and deaths that result from unhealthy food choices.

The federal government has the opportunity to decide whether we come out of this pandemic healthier by acting at health commitments, including food labeling Strategies. And it won’t take much time, effort or money.


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Canadians recognize importance of healthy eating policies even as pandemic continues, with 80 percent proof action on nutrition policies over the next six months.

The Liberal government’s 2015 election platform, the 2019 federal budget, and several mandate letters from the Prime Minister to the Minister of Health pledged to promote healthy eating. Some promised measures have been implemented, including a ban on artificial trans fats and the introduction of a revised food guide. the food guide is a key achievement of the federal government that has received widespread public acclaim. This shows that nutritional measures are good policy.

However, an important exceptional commitment rneed clear nutritional labeling on the front of the package. Work on it has been running since 2015 but Canadians have yet to see it implemented. It would be relatively easy and free of charge that this government implement. This measurehas already been the subject of extensive consultations, received the support of Canadians and would be as simple as completing the regulatory change process by posting and adoption of the draft final regulation.

Since Canada’s proposal wasintroduced in February 2018,several other countries have implemented mandatory front-of-package nutrition labeling, including one of our major trading partners,Mexico. A a proposal for harmonized and mandatory nutrition labeling on the front of the package should be launched European Union in 2022. If Canada does not move soon to adopt this regulation, we will fall behind the other countries instead of being a leader.


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It may seem like a small, unimportant policy in the context of a global pandemic, but the costs are very high. Healthy Canadians mean a healthy economy. The economic burden of diet-affected chronic diseases and other modifiable risk factors is $ 26 billion per year. Front-of-package labeling is an easy way to save $ 3.19 billion over 10 years in direct and indirect health costs.

So why has this settlement not been finalized at support the health and well-being of Canadians? The government has faced significant pressure from the food and drink lobby to put these regulations aside, saying the burden of costs will be too high.

We know this is not true. The packaged food industry is making incredible profits right nowas canadians more than evereat more of their products.

But also more than ever, Canadians deserve to know and clearly understand the contents of the foods they buy so that they can make healthy choices for themselves and their children. It will save lives.

– Doug Roth, Managing Director, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada


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