Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Ontario rejects Informed Dining program


October 10, 2013
By Canadian Pizza

Oct. 10, 2013, Toronto – Ontario has chosen to legislate calorie posting on menus and menu boards instead of participating in the national Informed Dining program.

“Ontario is choosing to go it alone, out of step with other provinces,” said Garth Whyte, CRFA president and CEO, in a media statement. “B.C. and Manitoba have adopted the Informed Dining program and other provinces are currently working on implementation. Ontario is the only province that refused to consider adoption of a successful program that provides a wider range of information in a user-friendly format.”

Informed Dining was developed by the government of British Columbia in collaboration with industry and health groups, and provides restaurant guests with nutrition values at or before the point of ordering. Calories and sodium are highlighted with information about daily requirements.
Participating restaurants must display the Informed Dining logo and a statement on their menu or menu board telling customers that nutrition information is available. All nutrition information is provided in a standard format.

Ontario’s calorie-posting approach has been tried in other jurisdictions and has not worked. Several recent studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals have shown it has little to no effect on eating habits. That is why industry chose to work with governments to design the Informed Dining program that is rolling out across the country.

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“Today’s announcement is about politics, not health,” says James Rilett, CRFA’s vice-president of Ontario, in a news release. “Monitoring and policing calorie-posting programs comes with a significant cost, and there is no indication where the government will find the money.”