Health Claims on Canadian Foods

~ October 2001 No.133 ~

The Canadian consumer is about to see changes on many of the food labels in the near future after Health Canada announced elements and conditions for the use of five generic health claims. The allowed claims are supported by conclusions drawn from an extensive and thorough review of the scientific literature, and will allow food manufacturers to make health related statments on food labels as long as their products meet certain defined criteria. For example the claim for sodium will only be allowed for foods that contain140 mg sodium per reference amount and per serving of stated size and per 50 g.

At the present time the United States has 10 such claims and the Canadian health officials will be looking at the remaining five in the next few months.

Below are the foods and food components that are covered by these first generic health claims, the diseases or health claims they apply to and statements proposed by Health Canada for label claims.

Sodium and Hypertension
Moderation in intake of sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure, a condition also associated with overweight, excessive alcohol consumption, inadequate intake of dietary potassium, and inactivity. (Naming the food) is [low in sodium/sodium free].

Calcium and Osteoporosis
A healthy diet with adequate calcium and regular exercise help to achieve strong bones in children and adolescents and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in older adults. Adequate intake of Vitamin D is also necessary.(Naming the food) is a [good/high/excellent] source of calcium.

Saturated and Trans Fat and Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease
A diet low in saturated and trans fats may reduce the risk of heart disease. (Naming the food) is [low in / free of] saturated and trans fat.

Fruits and Vegetables and Cancer
A diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer

Sugar Alcohols and Dental Caries
Won´t Cause Cavities, Does not promote tooth decay, Does not promote dental caries, Non-cariogenic.

Health Canada points out that claims are not appropriate on the labels of foods intended for infants and children under the age of 2 years.

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September 10 2015