Canada: Government Of Canada Finalizes Food Labelling Changes

On December 14, 2016, the Government of Canada announced amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) by publishing the Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations (Nutrition Labelling, Other Labelling Provisions and Food Colours). The amendments will bring significant changes to the labelling of food products, including changes to standardize serving sizes, amend the nutrients listed in the nutrition facts table (NFT), modify the way sugars are listed, improve legibility of the ingredients list and allergen information, and allow for greater health claims for fruits and vegetables.

These amendments have been finalized after two years of consultations with consumers and stakeholders. For more information about the previous consultations, please see our August 2014 Blakes Bulletin: Coming to a Grocery Store near You: Proposed Changes to Canadian Nutrition Labelling Requirements and our June 2015 Blakes Bulletin: Health Canada Pushes Forward with Nutrition Labelling Changes.

KEY CHANGES

Key changes to the FDR include:

  • Standardizing serving sizes by better aligning them with the amount of food typically consumed in one sitting. Serving sizes are used to calculate the nutrient content information within the NFT on food labels. Previously, serving sizes were not mandated in regulation and their determination was at the discretion of manufacturers, so values could vary for similar foods. Now, serving sizes will be based on regulated reference amounts, which have been updated to reflect current consumption patterns and marketing trends. This change is also meant to enable consumers to more easily compare the nutrient content information of various products.
  • Changing the "core" nutrients required to be listed in the NFT. The list of nutrients that must be declared in the NFT has been revised to remove the requirements for vitamins A and C, and to add a new requirement for potassium.
  • Changing the recommended daily values (DVs) for core nutrients as well as voluntary non-core nutrients to reflect more current dietary recommendations. The amendments also take into account the distinct nutritional needs of infants and children by setting different DVs for infants (older than six months but younger than one year of age) and children (one year or older but younger than four years of age) for foods sold specifically for these age groups. In addition, a "rule of thumb" footnote will be required to be added to the bottom of each NFT to educate consumers about the meaning of the per cent DV in their dietary choices. The footnote will read: "5% or less is a little, 15% or more is a lot."
  • Requiring a declaration of vitamins and minerals in absolute amounts as well as per cent DV to allow consumers to compare with levels found in supplements.
  • Requiring a per cent DV for sugars and requiring sugars-based ingredients to be grouped together. A DV of 100 grams has been set for total sugars and the per cent DV for sugars is to be declared in each NFT. Furthermore, the requirement to group all sugars-based ingredients on the ingredients list under the name "Sugars" means that where a product has multiple sugars-based ingredients, such as honey, glucose-fructose and fancy molasses, such ingredients will appear closer to the top of the ingredients list, which will more clearly indicate the product's relative proportion of sugars-based ingredients. This new grouping approach is also intended to help consumers identify sources of sugars in their foods that they may not recognize, such as barley malt syrup and isomaltulose.

Recent changes to labelling requirements in the United States also included a requirement to declare the amount of "added sugars". However, Health Canada chose to proceed with the per cent DV approach and the grouping of sugars on the ingredients list, as feedback indicated that this is less confusing and more useful for consumers.

  • Standardizing the formatting and contrast of the ingredients list to ensure consistency and improve legibility. The amendments require the use of both uppercase and lowercase letters, good contrast of colour (black text or equivalent dark shade of another colour on a white or other uniform, neutral colour background) with a border around the list or one or more lines above, below or at the sides of the list, and titles such as "Ingredients", "Contains" and "May Contain" to be bolded. Furthermore, the amendments include minimum type height requirements and prohibit horizontal scaling of text. Specific measures have also been introduced for smaller packages where there is less space to display information.

While the proposed amendments included a requirement for the use of bullets to separate ingredients, this was removed after considering stakeholders' concerns that it would be difficult and costly to implement, particularly for small businesses. Going forward, ingredients may be separated using either bullets or commas.

Additionally, the font size of serving sizes and calories in the NFT has been increased, and a bold line will be added under the calories in order to make this information easier to read.

  • Changing the requirements for the labelling of allergens, including requiring the "Contains" statement, which declares food allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites, to follow directly after the ingredients list and follow the same legibility requirements. In addition, if the ingredients list is bound by a border or lines, the "Contains" statement must also be inside the border or lines. If manufacturers choose to make non-mandatory, precautionary declarations of potential allergens or sources of gluten, these statements need to appear in the same font size as the ingredients list and immediately after either the ingredients list or the mandatory allergen declaration, as applicable.
  • Allowing for greater health claims for fruits and vegetables. The claim, "a healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of heart disease" will now be allowed on most fruits and vegetables in order to promote their health benefits to consumers. The amendments also allow nutrient content and health claims to be made for all fresh fruits and vegetables without triggering accompanying nutrition information.
  • Requiring that all food colours be declared by their common names on the list of ingredients (e.g. "Citrus Red No. 2" rather than just "colours", as is currently permitted). The amendments also replace the current standards for food colours with internationally recognized food-grade quality specifications, and eliminate the current lot-by-lot certification of synthetic colours.

In addition to the above substantive changes, the amendments also move some information that was previously found in the FDR into external documents that are incorporated by reference, namely: the Table of Reference Amounts for Food; the Table of Daily Values; and the Directory of Nutrition Facts Table Formats. This change is intended to allow these documents to be updated administratively rather than requiring regulatory amendment.

COMING INTO FORCE

Though the federal government initially proposed a five-year coming-into-force period, the amendments instead came into force on December 14, 2016. However, the amendments provide for a five-year transition period for regulated parties to make the necessary changes to their labels and use any existing stock of labels. At the same time, if any labelling changes are made in accordance with the new requirements within the transition period, this will trigger the immediate application of all of the new labelling requirements. Manufacturers are not permitted to partially comply with either the old or new labelling requirements. Furthermore, the limited amendments dealing with food colour specifications and synthetic colour certification are effective immediately without any transition period.

MORE CHANGES COMING

These labelling changes are just one of a number of initiatives that Health Canada is undertaking on the food regulatory front as part of its new healthy eating strategy, the objective of which is to make healthy food choices the easy choice for all Canadians. Going forward, the federal government is also considering changes to introduce front-of-package labelling on foods that are high in sugars, sodium and saturated fat, reduce sodium in prepackaged foods, ban the use of partially hydrogenated oils in foods, update Canada's Food Guide, and introduce restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children. The government has started consultations on a number of these proposals and has stated that the timeline for implementation of any further labelling changes will align with the current amendments.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Events from this Firm
12 Sep 2017, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

Please join us as we take an in-depth look at the legislation and the impact on the industry.

14 Sep 2017, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

Change, stress and uncertainty are ever]present factors in todayfs legal environment, and specific aspects about the practice of law make it difficult to thrive in the profession long term. Luckily, there are specific research]based strategies that have been shown to help lawyers thrive and lead to more effective ways to manage stress and pressure.

5 Oct 2017, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

Blakes is proud to host our New to In-House Series, designed to bring together junior and mid-level in-house counsel for a candid exchange of insights to highlight and address some of the challenges and opportunities facing in-house lawyers in their roles today.

 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.