Canada demands more visible warnings for junk food

junk food labels in Cana
Understanding the nutritional value of junk food could become a lot clearer. Photo by margouillat photo, Bigstock.

Canada is aiming to be the first country in the world with a high-income to have visible warning labels on junk foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. The majority of the world at the moment has an obesity problem where no one knows what to do about it.

Chile is leading the world in obesity control experiments by changing how companies label their products. When you look at the wrapper of a food product you are greeted with a wall of numbers and percentages that most consumers don’t really understand. The Chilean government has implemented laws that all food products must have warning symbols for products that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

Canada is aware of the rise of obesity where 1 in 5 adults are considered obese. They are close to implementing the same laws in Canada that Chile currently has. Mexico has stated that obesity and diabetes are a public health emergency and are also considering adopting the same strategy as Chile.

American trade representatives are planning to make sure that this strategy is not implemented in these countries.

Leaked emails have surfaced that show that trade representatives from the US are planning on using the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement to make sure that the food labelling polices are overridden.

The US is stating that countries that are involved in the trade deal shouldn’t be allowed to adopt the warning symbols on the packaging of food products. Obviously the warning labels will harm the companies that produce unhealthy junk food, hence why trade representatives are so desperate to make sure that countries don’t implement this new strategy.

Americans export their foods all around the world which mainly consists of processed foods. Past studies have shown that Americans consume the majority of their calories from ultra-processed foods such as soft drinks, juice and frozen meals.

Packaged foods consist of a lot more fat, sugar, salt and calories than if you were to cook it at home. The massive increase of these ingredients is why pre-packaged foods have been linked to the rise of obesity and other metabolic disorders.

The flourish of the packaged food industry has left a lot of people confused on how to tell the nutritional value that these foods have. For the majority of the time, understanding the impact on your health relies upon knowledge of nutrition and some math skills. From the lack of transparency, groups such as the World Health Organisation are suggesting that consumers would greatly benefit from an easy to follow symbol system.