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CPMA releases Canadian Nutrition Facts for fresh fruits and vegetablesWednesday, July 29, 2015 > 09:01:11
Culmination of three years of work with Health Canada
The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) has released new Canadian Nutrition Facts data which contain serving sizes and nutrient content claims for commonly-consumed fresh fruits and vegetables.
Industry can make voluntary use of the new values in a Canadian Nutrition Facts Table, says Sally Blackman, manager, food safety and nutrition at the CPMA in Ottawa.
The nutrition data has been adapted from U.S. Food and Drug Administration values and other reliable data, with serving sizes, calculations and allowable nutrient content claims determined under the direction of Health Canada in what was a three-year process.
The CPMA says the new Canadian data were developed for industry by industry. Previously, it was left to individual companies to determine the nutrition content of produce.
Currently, pre-packaged fresh fruit and vegetable products in Canada cannot make health or nutrient content claims about their product without the presence of a Canadian Nutrition Facts Table, which reduces consumers’ ability to compare nutrient dense healthy foods with other products on the market.
Fresh fruit and vegetables cannot make a health or nutrient content claim unless they provide a Nutrition Facts Table, Blackman says.
Several years ago, the health claim “A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer” was approved for fresh fruits and vegetables except potatoes, yams, cassava, plantain, corn, mushrooms, legumes and their juices.
Recently, Health Canada announced a formal process to confirm usage of an additional heart disease health claim for eligible fruits and vegetables that says: “A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of heart disease.”
The heart disease health benefit claim should go through the regulatory amendment process in the coming months, Blackman says.
In June, the federal government unveiled proposed new nutrition labels that will make it easier to compare the nutrient content of similar foods and highlight when food products contain a lot of sugar. Along with stating the amount of sugar per serving, labels would include a percentage of how much one portion represents of a person’s recommended daily intake.