Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is making changes to the nutrition facts table and list of ingredients on food labels. The changes are intended to improve food labels and make them easier to understand and to assist Canadians to make informed choices.
The Regulatory Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (Nutrition Labelling, Other Labelling Provisions and Food Colours) was published in the Canada Gazette Vol.150,No.25 December 14, 2016. While the Regulations came into force in 2016, industry have five years to update their labels in line with the amendments to the nutrition and ingredient labelling provisions.
The amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) aim to:
- modernize and improve food labelling to reflect the latest science (e.g. updates to the Daily Values (DV) for nutrients to be based on the most recent dietary recommendations);
- introduce new requirements such as a note at the bottom of the NFt explaining the % DV, serving sizes to always be based on the amount of food typically consumed in one sitting, and improved legibility of the list of ingredients to enable Canadians to make informed choices about their food in order to maintain or improve their health;
- provide information on the content of sugars and other sugars-based ingredients of prepackaged foods, with the goal of supporting the reduction in sugars intake, as excess sugars intake may lead to overconsumption of calories, and thus to obesity and associated chronic diseases;
- expand the use of health claims on fruits and vegetables to allow a disease risk reduction health claim linking their consumption to a reduced risk of heart disease;
- allow for permitted nutrient content and health claims to be made for fresh fruits and vegetables without triggering additional labelling requirements;
- align food colour labelling requirements with those of other food additives by mandating that food colours be identified using their individual common names in the ingredient list;
- remove the requirement for certification prior to the sale of each individual lot of synthetic food colours; and
- allow for the application of internationally accepted food-grade specifications for food colours.
A notice to industry advises of the approach to the enforcement for the changes to the nutrition facts table.
A five-year transition period, ending on December 14, 2021, was provided to allow sufficient time for industry to make the necessary changes to their labels and also to use up any existing stocks of labels already printed to comply with current requirements.
However, given the challenges imposed by COVID-19, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will focus its efforts on education and compliance promotion for the first year, December 14, 2021 until December 14, 2022.
As of December 15, 2022, CFIA will verify compliance and apply enforcement discretion in cases where non-compliant companies have detailed plans showing how they intend to meet the new requirements at the earliest possible time.
CFIA enforcement approach timeframe:
- Education & compliance promotion: December 14,2021 -December 14, 2022
- Enforcement discretion: December 14, 2022 –December 14, 2023
CFIA Changes to Food Labels: Food Labelling for industry
- Anticipated 2026 (e.g. origin labelling)
More information on the Food labelling changes:
- Government of Canada finalizes changes to the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients on packaged foods
- Regulations Amending the Food and Drug Regulations – Nutrition Labelling, Other Labelling Provisions and Food Colours
- Industry Labelling Tool
- Nutrition Labelling
- Healthy eating strategy
Questions regarding compliance to the nutrition labelling requirements can be submitted to CFIA.
Inquiries related to nutrition labelling can be sent to Health Canada at firstname.lastname@example.org