Canadian Pizza Magazine

CRFA says menu labelling bill a bad move for Ontario consumers

Laura Aiken   


April 9, 2009, Toronto – Ontario’s restaurant industry has been
working to provide more nutrition information for customers, but labelling
menus with calorie counts will be a step in the wrong direction, says the
Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA).

chains in particular have taken significant steps to provide more nutrition
information for their customers, and the entire food industry has been working
to reduce the level of trans fat in menu items,” says Stephanie Jones, CRFA vice president Ontario.  “Bill 156 is a
huge step backward on both of these issues.

“CRFA and
our member companies are trying to work with the government of Ontario to
improve and expand the industry’s Nutrition Information Program, which was
developed with Health Canada,
recognizes the unique challenges of the restaurant setting, and meets the full
spectrum of information needs among our customers.”


Through the
voluntary Nutrition Information Program, chain restaurants provide nutrition
information via brochures, posters and website calculators for standardized
menu items.  The information covers the
13 key nutrients that consumers are accustomed to seeing on the Nutrition Facts
panel on packaged foods, as well as allergens. 
There are now 33 restaurant chains participating in this program. 

Nutrition Information Program was developed to address the wide range of
dietary concerns among restaurant customers,” says Jones.  “Some are counting calories while others are
watching carbohydrates or fat consumption. 
As an industry we need to respond to all of these needs.” 

restaurants offer information via brochures, posters and websites, because
these formats are flexible enough to provide accurate information given the
“made to order” nature of restaurant meals. 
Changing the side dish or toppings on a restaurant item can have a
material impact on its nutrition profile, including calories.

On the
issue of trans fat, CRFA has repeatedly called for federal regulations to limit
trans fat in the Canadian food supply, because the entire food supply chain –
from farm to fork – must work together to increase the supply of healthier
trans fat alternatives.

 “Provincial or local limits on trans fat are
short sighted,” says Jones. “Restaurants rely on food manufacturers to provide
trans-free alternatives, and while we’ve made a lot of progress in this area,
we’re not going to reach the finish line unless farmers, food processors,
manufacturers, retailers and restaurateurs are all moving in lock-step.”

urging the province to join its call for federal action on trans fat.

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