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Saturday, 1st August 2009

Canada should follow U.S. lead and allow advertisers to promote more health benefits of food products

Canada should follow U.S. lead and allow advertisers to promote more health benefits of food products
Source: Fraser Institute

Canada’s rigid advertising standards leave the public in the dark about health benefits potentially associated with certain food products, according to a new, peer-reviewed study from independent research organization the Fraser Institute.

“The research reviewed in this report suggests there’s a link between consuming particular foods and lowering your risk of developing certain diseases, but in Canada you won’t find the potential health benefits of many food elements printed on product labels,” said Brett Skinner, Fraser Institute director of bio-pharma and health policy.

“Americans, on the other hand, receive much more information about the relationship between diet and health through their everyday contact with products and advertisements.”

In the report, The Regulation of Health Claims in Advertising, author Mark Brosens finds that the United States allows a wider array of health claims to appear in advertisements for nutraceuticals (products isolated or purified from foods and demonstrated to have health benefits or to provide protection against chronic disease), functional foods (conventional foods that have health benefits beyond basic nutritional functions), and natural health products (homeopathic preparations and products used in traditional medicines to restore bodily functions or promote health).

The report points out that Health Canada currently permits only five advertising claims concerning reduced risks of disease. Conversely, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows 27 permissible health claims.

+ Full Report (PDF; 901 KB)


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