Food labelling: Local, provincial and territorial regulation of menu labelling

Learn how local, provincial and territorial governments can limit unhealthy eating by adding calorie and nutrient labels to foods and menu displays

Inside this healthy eating policy pack

Menu labelling

Issue

Food labelling

Action

Menu labelling 1,2,3,4

  • On-shelf labelling 2
  • Calorie and nutrient labelling on menus and displays in out-of-home venues 2,5
  • Warning labels on menus and displays in out-of-home venues 2

Degree of policy adoption*

Provinces and territories: LOW
31 Canadian municipalities:** LOW

Current action(s) in Canada

Provinces and territories

Ontario is an early adopter of calorie labelling on menus and displays in out-of-home venues. The Healthy Menu Choices Act requires food premises with more than 20 locations in the province to display calorie information on menus.

31 Canadian municipalities**

The Region of Peel has a resolution on Nutritional Information of Food Served in Cafeteria 6 that requires calorie and sodium menu labelling in its two regional cafeterias.7

Opportunities for action at local, provincial and territorial levels

Provinces and territories may introduce legislation to increase menu labelling, including information related to core nutrients, fat and sodium, along with calories.1,8

In the absence of action at the provincial/territorial levels, municipalities may also introduce similar bylaws that require menu labelling related to core nutrients, along with calories in public institutions, or in private businesses.1

* Levels of adoption:  LOW = very few jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action; MEDIUM = some, but not all jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action; HIGH = most jurisdictions have adopted evidence-informed policy action.

** Prevention Policies Directory captures information for 31 Canadian municipalities (18 largest municipalities in Canada, and at least 1-2 largest municipalities in all other provinces/territories).


References

1 Vanderlee L, Goorang S, Karbasy K, Schermel A, L’Abbe M. Creating healthier food environments in Canada: Current policies and priority actions – Summary report. Toronto; University of Toronto, 2017.

2 World Cancer Research Fund International. NOURISHING policy framework. Retrieved from: https://www.wcrf.org/int/policy/nourishing/our-policy-framework-promote-healthy-diets-reduce-obesity

3 World Cancer Research Fund International. (2009). Policy recommendations. Retrieved from: https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-prevention-recommendations

4 World Health Organization (2013). Global action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases: https://www.who.int/nmh/events/ncd_action_plan/en/

5 Public Health Ontario / Cancer Care Ontario (2012). Taking action to prevent chronic disease: Recommendations for a healthier Ontario. Retrieved from: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/eRepository/takingactionreport%20Mar%2015-12.pdf

6 Regional Municipality of Peel. June 14, 2012 Regional Council Minutes: Nutritional Information of Food Served in Cafeteria – 10 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton. Retrieved from: https://www.peelregion.ca/council/council_minutes/2010s/20127/rcmin20120614.htm#he

Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention (APCCP). (2016). The Region of Peel’s nutrition policy and menu labelling initiative: POWER Up! Policy stories. Retrieved from: http://abpolicycoalitionforprevention.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/region-of-peel-story-nutrition-and-menu-labelling.pdf

8 Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention (APCCP). (2018). Alberta’s Nutrition Report Card on Healthy Food Environments for Children and Youth. Retrieved from: http://abpolicycoalitionforprevention.ca/evidence/albertas-nutrition-report-card/