Why are there calorie counts on the menu at restaurants?
The Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015 (the “HMC”) came into force on January 1, 2017 and aims to help customers of food service businesses (i.e. restaurants, cafeterias, grocery stores, convenience stores, movie theatres, food trucks, coffee shops, ice cream shops) make more informed choices about what they eat and drink. In connection with this objective, and subject to certain exceptions, the HMC requires food service businesses with 20 or more locations in Ontario to specify the information listed below on all of their menus, advertisements and flyers in addition to any display of the standard food or beverage item:
- the number of calories; and
- a particular statement, which is specified in the HMC regulations, about the caloric needs of adults and children.
Any director(s) and officer(s) of a corporation that owns or operates a food service business that is required to comply with the HMC and fails to do so shall be required to take all reasonable care to ensure that the corporation is in compliance with the HMC and its respective regulations. Failure to do so, can result in:
- a fine up to $500.00 for every day the offence occurs or continues, for the first offence; and
- a fine up to $1,000.00 for every day the offence occurs or continues, for the second or subsequent offence.
Furthermore, the corporation itself will be subject to:
- a fine up to $5,000.00 for every day the offence occurs or continues, for the first offence; and
- a fine up to $10,000.00 for every day the offence occurs or continues, for the second or subsequent offence.