Canada on Menu Labeling

June 7/Toronto, Ontario/States News Service -- Following on the heels of U.S. action, Ontario is pursuing menu labeling legislation that would require restaurants to post calorie counts of their menu items, the Toronto Sun reports.

"Calorie labeling is something our government has been considering for quite some time now," said Ontario Health Promotion Minister Margaret Best. "We have been exploring the option of legislating, and we want to continue to look into it. It's certainly something we see merit in."

A bill has been introduced calling for menu calorie counts in chain restaurants, a move that won praise from the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).

"We know obesity is an epidemic that needs immediate action," said OMA president Dr. Mark MacLeod. "Ontario has a chance to be a leader in Canada in tackling obesity, and Ontario's doctors are calling on MPPs from all parties to support and pass this important piece of legislation."

The proposal calls for any company with at least five foodservice locations and $5 million (CDN) in gross annual revenue to post calorie counts on their menus.

Opponents include the Progressive Conservative party, which cites costs and bureaucracy as prohibitive.

"There's a lot of red tape out there, and what I'm hearing from families is that life's getting more expensive," said Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak. "I don't hear them worrying so much about what the menus say ... I'm hearing about how much more prices are increasing."  

From the June 8, 2010, Prepared Foods' Daily News
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