Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long Term Care recently
announced amendments to the regulations (Regulations) under the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015 (Act),
which, among other things, add new categories of items exempt from
the Act's labelling requirements. These amendments were made to
clarify and provide further guidance on the Act. The Regulations
have now been finalized and set out below are some of the changes
to the Regulations.
The following items are now exempt from the Act's labelling
requirements: standard food items in a vending machine, and select
food items sold at grocery stores (comprised of certain deli meats
and cheeses that are normally sold by weight and are not part of
another standard food item; prepared fruit and vegetables intended
for multiple persons; flavoured bread, buns and rolls that are not
part of another standard food item; and olives and antipasti that
are not part of another standard food item).
The requirements related to the contextual statement have been
updated. As of January 1, 2017, the contextual statement must state
either: "The average adult requires approximately 2,000 to
2,400 calories per day; however, individual calorie needs may
vary" or "Adults and youth (ages 13 and older) need an
average of 2,000 calories a day, and children (ages 4 to 12) need
an average of 1,500 calories a day. However, individual needs
vary". As of January 1, 2018, only the latter option (the more
detailed version setting out both adult and child calorie
requirements) may be used as the contextual statement. As a result,
use of the latter statement as of January 1, 2017 will avoid the
need to update the statement a year later. In either case, the
Regulations also allow the use of a French version of the
Various other clarifications have been made to the Regulations.
For example, the definition of menu has been updated to clarify
that the "other means of communicating information that lists
standard food items for sale" included in the definition of
"menu" must be in writing. In addition, billboard,
radio and television advertisements have been excluded from the
definition of menu, and therefore calorie declarations are not
required on such advertising. The exemption from calorie
declarations for online menus and menu applications, advertisements
and promotional flyers that do not list standard food items
available for delivery or take-away ordering has been clarified to
only apply if such medium does not provide a method for placing an
order. The rounding rules for caloric declarations have also been
revised for food items with five calories or less.
As of January 1, 2017, the Act will require food service chains
with 20 or more locations in Ontario to disclose calorie
information for most standard food and drink items on menus,
labels, tags and signage as Ontario's new era of nutritional
disclosure requirements begins. For more information about the new
calorie disclosure requirements, see our September 2016 Blakes article:Let's Eat: New Calorie Disclosure
Requirements Coming to an Ontario Restaurant Near You. As
with the Act, most of the recent amendments to the Regulations also
come into effect January 1, 2017.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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