Bottom Line: The comment period recently closed
(September 20, 2012) on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's
("CFIA") second round of consideration for its proposed
Guidelines for Highlighted Ingredients and
Flavours ("Guidelines"). After a decade's
delay, it is hoped that final Guidelines will follow soon.
'Highlighting', of course, refers to giving prominence
on a product label to certain flavours and/or ingredient(s) –
i.e., "made with fruit", or "strawberry flavoured
Highlighting could take the form of written claims, the common
name declaration and/or illustrated vignettes of the flavour or
ingredient. While highlighting certain ingredients can help
consumers know what a product will taste like, highlighting runs
the risk of being misleading as to what is actually in the product,
or how much of an ingredient is present.
While they are certainly still subject to revision, the draft
Guidelines seek to clarify compliance for foods that highlight
ingredients viewed as beneficial or desirable. Things to watch out
for under the Guidelines include ingredients present in small
quantities that are highlighted without more information, and
formulations where the quantity of the highlighted ingredient is
bolstered by ingredients that are similar in characteristic.
If this all sounds familiar, it is because we
were in the same boat about ten years ago, when CFIA put out a call
for comments and consulted with the industry on this very same
issue. Unfortunately, formal guidance was never published following
that first round of consultation. With comments on round two now
closed, CFIA will hopefully finalize formal guidance to nail this
Things to watch out for under the Guidelines include ingredients
present in small quantities that are highlighted without more
information, and formulations where the quantity of the highlighted
ingredient is bolstered by ingredients that are similar in
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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