NDP Introduces Private Members Nutritional Labelling Bill

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TORONTO — The push for increased nutritional labelling continues as NDP health critic France Gélinas introduced another private members bill to force chain restaurants to display calorie counts on their menus.

The bill will require restaurant menus to display the calorie count beside each item’s price and mark items with an asterisk that have a high sodium count.

At the same time, restaurants will also have to provide free brochures containing detailed nutritional information. The bill would apply to any restaurant chain with more than $5 million a year in revenues and at least five units in Ontario.

According to the NPD Group research firm, 71 per cent of Canadians reported it’s at least somewhat important that they have access to the nutritional information for menu items at full-service restaurants. Information pertaining to fat, calories, sodium and sugar is most important to them.

“While restaurant chains are willing to provide nutritional information to customers, they would greatly prefer a national standard, rather than meeting different requirements in different regions,” said Robert Carter, executive director, Canada Foodservice for The NPD Group. “Additionally, there are a number of customer-friendly methods to provide this information, beyond putting it directly on menus. Access through a smartphone application is one example.”

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