VICTORIA - With the official launch of the Informed Dining program this week, British Columbians can now easily find important nutrition information when they eat out in restaurants throughout the Province.
Restaurant-goers can look for the Informed Dining logo at their favourite restaurants, or ask them to participate. Already nearly 300 restaurant outlets have signed up to participate in the program, which provides consumers with nutritional information similar to that found on packaged foods at the grocery store.
With British Columbians eating an average of one in ten meals at a restaurant or food service establishment, the Informed Dining program will help people make the healthy choice the easy choice. Calorie and sodium information will be prominently highlighted for all regular menu items, along with information on daily calorie and sodium needs, to help consumers understand the information.
To coincide with the launch of the program, a public awareness campaign began May 14, showcasing the participating restaurants and encouraging British Columbians to look for the Informed Dining logo. The campaign also invites British Columbians to visit a Healthy Families BC website - www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/informed-dining - and take part in a contest with both weekly draws and a grand prize to cook like a chef and learn from a dietitian.
Although Informed Dining is a voluntary program, the Province is encouraging all restaurants in B.C. to take part. It is not too late for restaurants that are interested in participating in the program to sign up. For more information on joining the Informed Dining program, visit: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/informed-dining
Informed Dining is part of Healthy Families BC, the Province's campaign to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent chronic disease. It has been developed in collaboration with the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, chain and independent restaurant leaders and public-health partners.
Minister of Health Michael de Jong -
"British Columbians have made it clear that they want information to help them make informed choices about what they and their families are eating. With Informed Dining, we are partnering with B.C. restaurants to help make the healthy choice the easy choice. Look for the logo in restaurants in your community to learn more."
Ian Tostenson, CEO and president, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association -
"I am proud that we have about 300 outlets across the province signed up to participate in this important program. I know that other businesses will continue to learn more about Informed Dining and sign up - this information is what our customers have been telling us they want, and it is our responsibility to provide it."
Gavin Arthur, vice president, research and health promotion, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada -
"Healthy eating is a critical element in living a long and healthy life and avoiding cardiovascular disease. The Informed Dining program takes a positive step forward in providing people with information they can use in making informed choices while dining out."
Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association -
"We want to be part of the solution in making healthy choices, easy choices in B.C. This program has the potential to help restaurant patrons become more conscious about what they are eating - it also shines a light on those establishments already providing menu nutrition content while encouraging other restaurants to follow suit."
- According to the BCRFA, there are about 12,000 restaurants in British Columbia.
- Nutrition labelling of pre-packaged food is already regulated by Health Canada.
- Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer are estimated to cost our health-care system between $730 million and $830 million per year.
- Reducing sodium intake could prevent up to 23,500 cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke per year, and could generate direct savings of $1.38 billion annually.
- The Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition reported that in 2006, of all the money spent on food in Canada, 40 per cent is spent in food service outlets.
- People who eat more sodium than needed are at greater risk from high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.
- British Columbians consume more than double the amount of sodium considered adequate to promote good health in B.C., as recommended by Health Canada.
A backgrounder follows.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
Informed Dining - participating restaurants
There are about 300 restaurant outlets in the province that have already signed up to participate in the Informed Dining program. More restaurants will be added in the future, so check back regularly at: www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/informed-dining
Current participating restaurants are:
- A&W, multiple outlets
- Little Caesar's, multiple outlets
- De Dutch, multiple outlets
- The Boathouse, multiple outlets
- The Reef, Victoria and Vancouver
- The Swiftsure Restaurant and Lounge, Victoria
- Joseph's Coffee House, Victoria
- Heidi's Restaurant, Cranbrook
- El Taco, multiple outlets
- Mountain Eagle Books, Smithers
- Thai Away Restaurants Ltd., Vancouver
- H.A.V.E. Cafe, Vancouver
- Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, Victoria
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health