Health Bulletins

New Menu Labelling Regulation Coming into Effect January 1, 2017

September 27, 2016

Ontario is helping Ontarians make healthier food and beverage choices when dining out with a new menu labelling regulation that comes into effect on January 1, 2017.

Owners and operators of food service premises that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations in Ontario will be required to display calorie information for every standard food and beverage item listed or depicted on their menus, and on tags and labels where standard food items are put on display. A contextual statement about average daily calorie requirements will also be mandatory, to help consumers better understand their choices.

The new regulation under the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015, comes into force on January 1, 2017, and will include:

  1. The addition of a definition of "grocery store," which includes convenience stores that sell the same items.
  2. Requiring food service premises to post either of the following contextual statements (in English or French) between January 1,2017 and December 31, 2017:

    “Adults and youth (ages 13 and older) need an average of 2,000 calories a day, and children (ages 4 to 12) need an average of 1,500 calories a day. However, individual needs vary.”

    OR

    “The average adult requires approximately 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day; however, individual calorie needs may vary.”

  3. Requiring food services premises to post as of January 1, 2018, in English or in French, the contextual statement for adults, youth, and children: “Adults and youth (ages 13 and older) need an average of 2,000 calories a day, and children (ages 4 to 12) need an average of 1,500 calories a day. However, individual needs vary.”
  4. Clarifying the definition of "menu" to be any written means of communication that lists standard food items for sale.
  5. Clarifying that billboards and radio and television advertisements are not menus, and are exempt from the requirements of the Act and the regulation.
  6. Clarifying that the menu labelling requirements do not apply where there is no price listed next to an item or a method to place an order, in the case of online menus or menu applications, or advertisements and promotional flyers distributed outside of regulated food service premises.
  7. Clarifying that the following standard food items are exempt from the menu labelling requirements in the Act and the regulation, if sold or offered for sale in grocery stores:
    • Deli meats and cheeses normally sold by weight and that are not part of another standard food item;
    • Flavoured bread, buns and rolls that are not part of another standard food item;
    • Prepared fruits and vegetables for a group of people (e.g. salads and fruit/vegetable trays); and
    • Olives and antipasti that are not part of another standard food item.
  8. Exempting all standard food items in vending machines from the requirements of the Act and the menu labelling regulation.
  9. Requiring calories per serving and the serving size to be posted on a sign for each flavour/variety of standard food item that is displayed in bulk form. Calories are also required to be posted on a sign for all options available in combination meals displayed in bulk form (e.g. hot meal counters). Bulk form means standard food items not portioned into their standard portion size.
  10. Specifying new requirements in relation to the contextual statement so that it would be required to be posted:
    • on every menu of a regulated food service premise, subject to limited exceptions, and must appear in close proximity to the standard food items; and
    • where customers order or serve themselves, and a menu containing the contextual statement is not readily visible, the contextual statement would be required to be posted on one or more signs.

QUOTES

"Our government is strengthening the menu labelling regulation to help Ontarians make healthier food and beverage choices when dining or ordering out. The new regulation will also help to increase public awareness about the calorie content of food and beverages eaten outside the home."
– Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“Restaurants Canada supports and promotes awareness about healthy eating, and our members are committed to providing their customers with the nutrition and ingredient information they need to make decisions about their health and wellbeing. We have been working closely with our members and the Ontario government to ensure that menus are updated to reflect the changes outlined in the Healthy Menu Choices Act.”
– James Rilett, Vice President, Ontario, Restaurants Canada

"Inclusion of nutrition information on menu boards marks a bold step by the Ontario government. Dietitians are pleased to see the incorporation of recommendations they made during the consultation process. Education and evaluation are important next steps to ensure the long-term success of this initiative."
– Leslie Whittington-Carter, Dietitians of Canada

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