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Healthy Menu Choices Act: Helping people make healthier choices

Starting on January 1st 2017, the Healthy Menu Choices Act requires any food service provider with 20 or more locations in Ontario to list calories beside menu items. This includes restaurants, coffee shops, movie theatres, grocery stores and convenience stores.

Providing this information can help you and your family make informed decisions when eating out. You can compare menu items based on calorie count and see how many calories an average person needs in a day.

What is Ontario’s Menu Labeling about?

The display of calories on menus provides customers with nutrition information that is standardized and provides nutrition information that will help customers make well-informed decisions about what they eat and feed their families when eating out.  For more information visit Calories on Menus and Revealing facts about calories on menus.

How can I make healthier choices?

A standard statement about average calories needed per day will be posted; however needs depend on many factors including gender, age and activity level. To better estimate your calorie needs visit Health Canada.

Inquire about other nutrients in your food such as fibre, sodium, fat, sugars and protein.  Most restaurant chains have complete nutrition information in their stores and/or on their websites. For easy tips to make healthier choices when dinning out visit Eat Right Ontario.

What about Alcohol?

According to the act the calories in alcoholic beverages must also be identified. Most people do not realize how many calories are in alcohol itself as well as calories from mixes. The calories in alcohol vary as there are many different serving sizes and different types of alcohol. One standard drink (one bottle of 5% beer, or one 5 oz. glass of 12% wine or 1 1/2 oz. of hard liquor) equals about 100 calories. Follow Canada’s low risk drinking guidelines to help reduce your short and long term health risks.

Information for Retailers

Under the Healthy Menu Choices Act, if you are an owner or operator of a food service premise you are required to comply with the menu labelling legislation as of January 1st, 2017.  Public Health Inspectors are designated under the Act to enforce requirements and failure to comply may lead to a fine.

For more detailed information on how to comply visit Calories on Menus: information for businesses.

More resources:

To learn more about label reading and calories please call Eat Right Ontario at 1-877-510-5102.

For any inquiries related to the Healthy Menu Choices Act please e-mail EnvironmentalHealth@hnhu.org  or to speak with a Public Health Inspector call 519-426-6170 Ext. 3231 or 3245