The overconsumption of sodium is a major contributor to heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses in Canada. Statistics Canada estimates that Canadians currently consume 3400mg of sodium per day, which is more than double the recommended intake of 1500mg. It is estimated that 77% of the sodium consumed by Canadians comes from pre-packaged foods.
Bill C-460 seeks to reduce sodium levels in the food supply by implementing the Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada, which was released by the expert Sodium Working Group in 2010, but not yet implemented by the federal government.
Bill C-460 prioritizes 5 areas of action within the Sodium Reduction Strategy:
- Ensuring the amount of sodium in prepackaged and restaurant foods is reduced to safe levels.
- For foods that exceed Health Canada’s recommended serving level of sodium (as per the levels set by Health Canada in the Guidance for the Food Industry on Reducing Sodium in Processed Foods), food manufacturers would ultimately need to either lower the sodium in their foods or display a label on the front of the package that indicates the food is high in sodium.
- Food manufacturers will not have to remove their high sodium products from the market, they just have to reduce the sodium content or label their product.
- Improving the labeling of sodium on foods.
- Bill C-460 would make changes to the Food and Drug Regulations, to ensure that sodium is expressed in a standardized, simple way on food packages.
- Protecting children from being deceived by advertisements for high sodium foods.
- The Bill requires that the Chief Public Health Officer regulate television or other ads that are geared to children and promote the consumption of high-sodium foods.
- All advertising to children is currently illegal in Quebec and NDP MP Peter Julian has a comprehensive bill (Bill C-430) on regulating advertising to children in the rest of Canada.
- Ensuring government funds are not purchasing foods that are too high in sodium.
- Establishing the Government of Canada as the leader in monitoring and ensuring progress is made by food companies to achieve sodium-reduction goals.
- The Sodium Reduction Strategy for Canada would initially be implemented by the Minister of Health and Chief Public Health Officer. The progress on sodium reduction would then be monitored by an appointed Sodium Reduction Advisory Committee, made up of health and nutrition experts.
If you have further questions about Bill C-460, please contact my office at email@example.com or 613-992-6036.