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Healthy Menu Choices Act - Menu Labelling

Beginning January 1, 2017, the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015 and its accompanying regulation, also referred to as the “menu labelling legislation,” required food service premises' with 20 or more locations in Ontario to display calories on menus for standard food items.1 These laws were made to help Ontarians and their families make healthier, more informed decisions when dining out.

Calories and your Health

The calories in food provide you with the energy you need to be healthy and be productive throughout your day. However, it has been shown that a diet too high in calories can be bad for your health. By taking in too many calories, you are increasing your risk of many chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.2 The Healthy Menu Choices Act will help you have a better idea of how many calories you are getting from meals prepared outside of your home.

On average, adults aged 13 years and older need about 2000 calories per day and children aged 4 to 12 need around 1500.3 Your individual needs may vary based on factors like the amount of physical activity you get. The Government of Canada has developed a list of estimated energy requirements based on your sex, age and activity level to give you a better idea of how many calories you need every day.

By reading the labels on food packages at home and making use of the calorie information now available on menus at your favourite restaurants, you and your family can make more informed decisions about the foods you eat and stay healthy. If you are interested in more information on the nutrient content of restaurant foods, many chain restaurants have nutrition information on their website or in-store. Visit unlockfood.ca for more healthy eating advice or to speak with a Registered Dietitian, call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.

 

Food Service Premises'

Food service premises' with 20 or more locations in Ontario are required to: 1

  1. Display the number of calories for every standard food item and self-serve item, on menus (including menu boards), labels and display tags; and
  2. Display contextual information to help educate customers about their daily caloric requirements.

The following contextual statement must be displayed:

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

For more information on what responsibilities you have as a food service operator, visit the Calories on menus: information for businesses web page.

 

Notify the Health Unit

To notify the Health Unit about a Healthy Menu Choices Act error, please contact the Environmental Health Team:

All concerns will be followed up by a Public Health Inspector in a timely manner.

 
Date of creation: January 11, 2018
Last modified on: June 5, 2018
 
 

References

1Ontario. (2017, April 28). Guide to menu-labelling requirements. Retrieved from
https://www.ontario.ca/document/guide-menu-labelling-requirements
2Government of Canada. (2006, December 15). Obesity. Retrieved from
https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/lifestyles/obesity.html#he
3Ontario. (2018, February 6). Calories on menus Retrieved from
https://www.ontario.ca/page/calories-menus
4Ontario. (2017, June 13). Calories on menus: information for businesses. Retrieved from
https://www.ontario.ca/page/calories-menus-information-businesses#section-3