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ARCHIVED - Consultation on setting sodium reduction targets: Questionnaire (February 2010)

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Notice: The online consultation is now closed. The content found on this page is a snapshot of the consultation as it was presented to the public.



Health Canada is chairing a Multi-stakeholder Working Group on Dietary Sodium Reduction (Sodium Working Group) tasked with developing and overseeing the implementation of a strategy that will lower the sodium content of the diets of Canadians to within the range recommended by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (Dietary Reference Intakes report for sodium). The strategy will be multi-staged and based on a three-pronged approach that will include education, voluntary reduction of sodium levels in processed food products and foods sold in food service establishments, and research.

At their September 28-29, 2009 meeting, the Sodium Working Group agreed that the interim goal would be to reduce the levels of sodium in the Canadian diet to 2300 mg per person per day by the year 2016. This goal is based on achieving a five per cent reduction each year, in the amount of sodium consumed by Canadians, which is currently estimated to be 3400 mg per day. Health Canada has undertaken the task of working with stakeholders to set sodium targets for individual categories of food to help achieve this goal.

Work Update

In September 2009, Health Canada and the Food Supply Sub-committee of the Sodium Working Group met with food industry stakeholders to inform them about the sodium issue, and the work of the Sodium Working Group. Information provided during these meetings was the first step to laying the ground work for discussions on sodium reduction targets for processed foods and foods sold through foodservice establishments. Preliminary data from the sodium food label survey that Health Canada conducted during the summer was also shared with the industry and possible approaches that could be used to establish Canadian sodium reduction targets were reviewed.

In November and December 2009, the Food Directorate/Health Canada conducted eight additional meetings with food industry stakeholders to inform them about Health Canada's approach to reducing sodium in foods and to initiate discussion on the proposed draft sodium targets for the first set of food categories.

Next Steps

In response to the industry meetings, the following feedback questionnaire was developed to assist industry in providing Health Canada with information required to proceed with the development of sodium targets for the first set of food categories.

Please respond to the following questions as soon as possible so that we have data that is as comprehensive as possible in order to finalize the proposed targets for Group I and develop plans for next steps in the target setting process. No information or comments will be attributed to a specific person or company/association without prior consent. Information from the questions will be shared with the Sodium Working Group as an aggregate and as a summary of responses, and will be used to help shape the final report and recommendations from the working group. Please be assured that no Confidential Business Information will be released.

Health Canada is available to meet with industry stakeholders by request to discuss sodium reduction issues during February and March 2010. Mondays or Tuesdays are preferred. If you are interested please reply to with your meeting request.

Feedback from Industry Stakeholders on Proposed Sodium Reduction Targets - Questionnaire

The online consultation is now closed. The content found on this page is a snapshot of the live consultation as it was presented to the public and contains the content that was open for submissions during the consultation period.

Please return your feedback in response to the questions below on or before March 15th, 2010. Responses can either be e-mailed to Health Canada at or faxed to 613-941-6636. Although the deadline is March 15, 2010, earlier responses would be greatly appreciated as it will help us work together to achieve sodium reduction targets and allow for more time for the review process of the proposed targets.

For each food category listed in Appendix A that your company manufactures please answer the following questions.

  1. What is the role of salt and/or sodium in this product and is it essential? Please explain.
  2. Is the proposed draft target achievable by 2016? If not, why (e.g. technical, processing, flavour, food safety concerns) and what target would you consider achievable? Would you be able to achieve greater reductions? Please elaborate.
  3. What would be useful to help you achieve the target?
  4. Have you already lowered the sodium in this product? If so, by how much and when (please provide dates and documentation of the previous and current levels).
  5. Should the food groupings be changed and why? Could some foods be grouped together that are not grouped now to reduce the number of food groups? If so, what would you suggest?
  6. For any of your categories of food products, do you provide directions or recipes for user preparation? If they include adding salt, could this be reduced or eliminated from the directions? Please provide specific examples.

    Please answer the following questions. These only need to be answered once.
  7. Do you determine the sodium level declared in the Nutrition Facts Table by: lab analysis or by calculation (using the sodium content information for each ingredient as supplied by the ingredient supplier) or other methods? Please describe.
  8. Are all relevant food categories covered in the group I and II groups (Appendices A and Appendices B)? If not, please list those which are missing. For those missing, do you think that targets from existing similar food groups could be applied?
  9. For the purpose of monitoring progress in sodium reduction, we will be setting interim targets to be achieved by 2012 and 2014, leading to the final targets in 2016. How do you recommend determining the interim targets for your food category(ies) (e.g. do you expect greater reductions in the first few years or about equal reductions over 6 years)? Based on these considerations, what would you propose as interim targets for each time point?
  10. Are there research gaps that prevent your company/industry from reducing sodium in the foods you manufacture?
  11. Do you have any further comments or suggestions on this initiative that you believe would be helpful in advancing Canada's strategy to reduce dietary sodium intakes?

Notice regarding collection of "Group II" food information

For the nutrition label analysis for Group II foods, we will be asking companies if they could provide us with copies of their food packages (either actual labels or electronic labels) so that we can collect data from the Nutrition Facts Table, ingredient list and on any relevant claims. With your help, this will speed up the data collection process. We will provide you with a specific list of foods and their UPC in the spring. We would greatly appreciate your co-operation in this process. If there is a contact person to whom we should direct this request, please notify us as soon as possible.

Thank you for taking the time to respond to this questionnaire