The Heart and Stroke Foundation (the “Foundation”) recently announced the end of their popular “Health Check” program after 15 years in the marketplace.
The program was launched to help Canadians make healthier choices in grocery stores and restaurants. Under the program, participating companies were able to label their packages, menus, and other marketing materials with the “Health Check” symbol if certain nutritional criteria were met.
According to the Foundation’s press release, the program is being terminated because of the growing popularity of nutrition labelling programs in stores and restaurants and the wide availability of nutrition information at point of purchase, in the media, and online. Despite this announcement, the Foundation will continue its nutrition related advocacy efforts and the “Health Check” website will remain active for a few months.
The end of the program comes after criticism from certain media outlets and other health advocates for concerns related to the nutritional criteria and qualifying foods and beverages. This announcement may have broader implications for other labelling programs in the marketplace, including third party programs and proprietary schemes. Companies engaging in this space should expect continual debate on the legal and public policy implications of these programs.