Health Canada Consultation: Sodium Reduction as part of a Healthy Eating Strategy

October 29, 2017 By

Health Canada Consultation: Sodium Reduction as part of a Healthy Eating Strategy



Service(s) related to this article:  Food Labelling, Health Claims and Nutrition Facts Table (Canada), Preparing for the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA)

Earlier this year, we wrote about Health Canada’s decision to release an updated Food Guide. This update to the Food Guide would be the first since 2007, making it an even more helpful tool in fighting the increasing tide of obesity and assisting in the development of healthy attitudes towards food for all Canadians.

One section of the updated Food Guide includes a Healthy Eating Strategy. Recently, Health Canada had requested consultation from the general public and food-service sector regarding sodium reduction in foods. In Canada, 77% of Canadians’ sodium intake is from processed foods (including food from the food-services sector), 12% is naturally occurring in foods, 6% is added at the table and 5% is added during cooking. On average, Canadians currently consume 3400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day, which is more than double the amount recommended for daily intake. Excess sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure, and is a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. With this in mind, the goal established by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial (FPT) Health Ministers is to reduce daily sodium intake to an average of 2300 mg per day.

To achieve this, Health Canada has introduced a proposed benchmarking guideline for sodium. This guideline identifies 15 product categories with a unique set of voluntary limits for sodium control. These categories range from baked goods to infant foods and outlines their current limits and the goals for sodium reduction per category. To meet these established goals, processors and retailers would have to reduce the sodium levels in their products to create a downward shift in total daily sodium consumption by consumers.

So what does this mean for processors and manufacturers of food products? The requirements of this Healthy Eating Strategy will definitely impact your formulations, labelling requirements and quality of your product. For instance, a reduction in sodium in your product may allow you to make certain sodium reduced claims such as “lightly salted” or “lower in sodium” that you may have not intended to make before, but are now able to. In addition, some health claims may now be available for your product that may assist with marketing. At dicentra, we provide claim substantiation services and review of food product labels to meet all of the guidelines of the Safe Food for Canadians Act, the Healthy Eating Strategy and all aspects of the updated Food Guide. It is mandatory for certain foods to have a Nutrition Facts Table that is correctly formatted and contains core nutrients and calories in a defined amount of food, including sodium. To ensure you are going to market with a compliant food, dicentra can assist with reviews for any regulatory concerns. Our experts at dicentra have first-hand knowledge of food regulations and guidance’s to help you achieve compliance with your food product and will provide you with our comments, concerns and recommendations.

dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the life sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations, allowing you to gain market access while building confidence in your brand.