New Menu Labelling Rules to Help Residents Make Informed Food Choices

Written by admin, January 9, 2017

 January 9, 2017 – Calorie Amounts Now Required on Menus for Food Service Providers with 20+ Locations in Ontario

Local residents will now be able to make more informed food decisions at certain food premises thanks to Ontario’s new “Healthy Menu Choices Act” that took effect January 1, 2017.

The new legislation only affects food service providers with 20 or more locations in the province.  This means calorie tallies will now be seen on menus at approximately 80 local food premises according to Peterborough Public Health.

“More and more people are paying close attention to what they are eating, so providing this calorie information is one way to encourage healthier food choices,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “For those who aren’t aware of how many calories are in certain foods, providing this information directly on the menu will help them better understand how to balance out their caloric intake throughout the day.”

Calories are a measure of how much energy is in the food we eat. Knowing how many calories are in our food can help us get the right amount of energy for our needs.  Dr. Salvaterra noted that individual calorie needs vary depending on a number of factors, including activity level, age and gender.

Residents will now see the number of calories for each food and beverage item included on the menus, labels or tags at several local food service providers, such as restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, grocery stores, and movie theatres.  Food service providers are also required to post an educational statement for customers about average daily caloric needs.  For an updated list of local food premises affected by the legislation, click here or visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca.

Public Health Inspectors at Peterborough Public Health are in the process of receiving provincial designation to enforce the new act. Once this is in place, they will verify that caloric information is properly posted at required food premises as part of their inspection routine.  Inspectors will only be checking for labelling compliance, and not confirming caloric values.  Local residents can also submit complaints regarding menu labelling to Peterborough Public Health by calling 705-743-1000, ext. 232 or emailing info@peterboroughpublichealth.ca.

Ontario is the first province in Canada to require this type of menu labelling to help make it easier for people to make informed and healthy choices about what to eat when dining out or purchasing ready-to-eat meals to take home.

For more information, please refer to Health Canada’s Estimated Energy Requirements.

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For further information, please contact:
Brittany Cadence
Communications Manager
705-743-1000, ext. 391