Front-of-package nutrition labelling

We're improving food labels. A front-of-package nutrition symbol is required on foods that are high in one or more of these nutrients:

The food industry has been given until January 1, 2026 to make this change. However, you may start seeing the front-of-package nutrition symbol earlier.

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Why a front-of-package nutrition symbol

Frequently eating foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat can lead to increased health risks. Some of these risks are:

  • stroke
  • obesity
  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • some types of cancers

The front-of-package nutrition symbol will:

  • help you make quick and informed choices when shopping for groceries.
  • support health professionals in educating people about foods high in sodium, sugars and saturated fat.

Infographic: Front-of-package nutrition labelling

Foods that must have a front-of-package nutrition symbol

The front-of-package nutrition symbol is mandatory for prepackaged foods that meet or exceed set levels for sodium, sugars or saturated fat.

Some foods do not need to display a nutrition symbol. These include:

  • foods exempt for technical reasons, such as:
    • packaged individual portions that are only intended to be served by a restaurant or other commercial enterprise to accompany meals or snacks (for example, individually portioned crackers served with soup or creamers served with a cup of coffee)
    • milk and cream sold in refillable glass containers
    • foods in very small packages
    • raw, single ingredient whole cuts of meat, poultry and fish that do not carry a nutrition facts table
  • foods with a protective effect on health, such as fruits and vegetables without added sodium, sugars, or saturated fat
  • certain dairy products, such as plain milk, plain yogurt and cheese because they are important sources of calcium that is needed to promote bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • raw, single ingredient ground meats and poultry to avoid giving the impression that they are nutritionally inferior to whole cuts that do not carry a nutrition symbol
  • butter, sugar, salt and other products used for the same purpose as butter, sugar or salt, such as:
    • honey
    • celery salt
    • maple syrup
    • vegetable oils
    • seasoning salt

What the front-of-package nutrition symbol looks like

The front-of-package nutrition symbol is black and white. It has a magnifying glass and highlights what the food is high in: sodium, sugars, saturated fat or any combination of these.

The words "Health Canada / Santé Canada" appear at the bottom of the symbol.

Figure 1. Examples of the front-of-package nutrition symbol
Figure 1
Figure 1
Figure 1 - Text Description

The figure on the left shows a nutrition symbol for the principal display panel that indicates that a prepackaged product is high in saturated fat and sodium. This symbol is bilingual, with the English text shown first, followed by the French text. There is a white rectangular box outlined by a thin black line. At the top of the box is a heading composed of the words "High in" followed by a forward slash and the words "Élevé en" in black, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of the words "High" and "Élevé" are in upper case. Under the heading is a left-justified black magnifying glass with three bars stacked to its right. There is a small amount of white space between the magnifying glass and the left side of the three bars. This left side forms a concave curve that follows the curvature of the magnifying glass. There is a small amount of white space between each bar, as well as between the right side of the bars and the thin black line that outlines the box. The first bar is black and contains the words "Sat fat" followed by a forward slash and the words "Gras sat." in white, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of the words "Sat" and "Gras" are in upper case. The second bar is white, is outlined by a thin black line and contains no words. The third bar is black and contains the word "Sodium" in white, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter is in upper case. Centred at the bottom of the box are the words "Health Canada" followed by a forward slash and the words "Santé Canada" in black, lower case letters, except that the first letter of each word is in upper case.

The figure on the right shows a nutrition symbol for the principal display panel that indicates that a prepackaged product is high in saturated fat and sodium. This symbol is bilingual, with the English text shown first, followed by the French text. There is a white rectangular box outlined by a thin black line. At the top left of the box is a black magnifying glass. To the right of the magnifying glass is a heading composed of the words "High in" above the words "Élevé en" in black, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of the words "High" and "Élevé" are in upper case. Under the heading are three bars that are stacked. There is a small amount of white space between each bar, as well as between both ends of the bars and the thin black line that outlines the box. The first bar is black and contains the words "Sat fat" above the words "Gras sat." in white, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of the words "Sat" and "Gras" are in upper case.

The second bar is white, is outlined by a thin black line and contains no words. The third bar is black and contains the word "Sodium" in white, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter is in upper case. Centred at the bottom of the box are the words "Health Canada" above the words "Santé Canada" in black, lower case letters, except that the first letter of each word is in upper case.

How we chose the front-of-package nutrition symbol

Feedback from people living in Canada and consumer research helped us choose the nutrition symbol.

Learn more: Front-of-package labelling consumer research and consultation

How the nutrition symbol must appear on the front of the package

The nutrition symbol must always appear in the same way, so that it is easy to find and use. There are specific requirements for its:

  • size
  • location
  • language

Size

The size of the package determines the size of the symbol. This way, it can be easily seen on packages of all sizes.

Location

The nutrition symbol will appear in the upper half of the label for most package shapes. It will appear on the right half of the package label, if the label is wider than it is tall.

Figure 2. Food packages of different shapes and sizes showing the size, location and presentation of the nutrition symbol
Figure 2 - Text Description

This figure shows three food packages of different shapes and sizes to illustrate the size, location and presentation of the nutrition symbol. There is a small, rectangular, 4 piece chocolate bar in the upper left-hand corner, a 500 mL cylindrical glass bottle of fruit juice in the bottom left hand corner, and a 198 g bag of popcorn taking up the whole right-hand side.

  • Chocolate bar: The package in the upper left corner is a chocolate bar in a black and blue package. In the top right corner is a nutrition symbol that indicates that the product is high in saturated fat and sugars. This symbol is bilingual, with the English text shown first, followed by the French text. There is a white rectangular box outlined by a thin black line. At the top of the box is a heading composed of the words "High in" followed by a forward slash and the words "Élevé en" in black, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of the words "High" and "Élevé" are in upper case. Under the heading is a left-justified black magnifying glass with three bars stacked to its right. There is a small amount of white space between the magnifying glass and the left side of the three bars. This left side forms a concave curve that follows the curvature of the magnifying glass. There is a small amount of white space between each bar, as well as between the right side of the bars and the thin black line that outlines the box. The first bar is black and contains the words "Sat fat" followed by a forward slash and the words "Gras sat." in white, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of the words "Sat" and "Gras" are in upper case. The second bar is black and contains the word "Sugars" followed by a forward slash and the word "Sucres" in white, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of each word is in upper case. The third bar is white, is outlined by a thin black line and contains no words. Centred at the bottom of the box are the words "Health Canada" followed by a forward slash and the words "Santé Canada" in black, lower case letters, except that the first letter of each word is in upper case. In the top left corner of the package is the brand name "Nostalgic Bites". In the middle of the package are the words "Milk chocolate" followed by a bullet and the words "Chocolat au lait" in orange uppercase letters. Below this are the words "Everton's chocobar" in blue uppercase letters. There is an image on the right of the package showing two chocolate squares. On the bottom left corner of the label is the net quantity, "35g" in white letters.
  • Popcorn: The package on the right side is of a blue bag of popcorn. In the top right corner is a nutrition symbol that indicates that the product is high in sodium. This symbol is bilingual, with the English text shown first, followed by the French text. There is a white rectangular box outlined by a thin black line. At the top of the box is a heading composed of the words "High in" followed by a forward slash and the words "Élevé en" in black, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of the words "High" and "Élevé" are in upper case. Under the heading is a left-justified black magnifying glass with three bars stacked to its right. There is a small amount of white space between the magnifying glass and the left side of the three bars. This left side forms a concave curve that follows the curvature of the magnifying glass. There is a small amount of white space between each bar, as well as between the right side of the bars and the thin black line that outlines the box. The first and second bars are white, are outlined by a thin black line and contain no words. The third bar is black and contains the word "Sodium" in white, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter is in upper case. Centred at the bottom of the box are the words "Health Canada" followed by a forward slash and the words "Santé Canada" in black, lower case letters, except that the first letter of each word is in upper case. In the top left corner of the package is the brand name "Avery & Sons". Centered towards the top of the bag is the word "Ordinary", in pink arched uppercase letters. Centered below it, in the middle of the bag, is the word "pop", in pink lowercase letters with each letter outlined in white. Behind the word "pop" is a top view of a yellow bowl of popcorn. Two popcorn kernels are on the right side of the bowl and three on the left side. Centered below the image is the word "Ordinaire", in pink arched uppercase letters. Centered towards the bottom of the bag is the word "Popcorn" followed by a bullet and the words "Maïs Soufflé" in blue uppercase letters. These words are in a white rounded rectangle. In the bottom left corner of the bag is the net weight of "198 g" in white.
  • Juice: The package in the bottom left corner is a glass bottle of fruit juice. On the top right of the orange label attached to the juice bottle is a nutrition symbol that indicates that the product is high in sugars. This symbol is in English only. There is a white rectangular box outlined by a thin black line. At the top of the box is the heading "High in" in black, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter of the first word is in upper case. Under the heading is a left-justified black magnifying glass with three bars stacked to its right. There is a small amount of white space between the magnifying glass and the left side of the three bars. This left side forms a concave curve that follows the curvature of the magnifying glass. There is a small amount of white space between each bar, as well as between the right side of the bars and the thin black line that outlines the box. The first and third bars are white, are outlined by a thin black line and contain no words. The second bar is black and contains the word "Sugars" in white, bold, lower case letters, except that the first letter is in upper case. Centred at the bottom of the box are the words "Health Canada" in black, lower case letters, except that the first letter of each word is in upper case. On the top left corner of the orange label is the brand name, "Hinton's". Below this, toward the centre of the label is the word "Tropical" in orange, cursive text, with the word "Twist" underneath in red, cursive text. Running diagonally through the center of the label from the lower left side to the upper right side are the words: "citrus, mango, pineapple" in green, bold, uppercase letters. Centered behind these words is a picture of a stack of tropical fruit slices: orange, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple and mango. There is a splash of orange coloured juice coming from the top of the orange slice. On the bottom left corner of label is the net quantity of the bottle, "500 mL" in black letters.

Language

The front-of-package nutrition symbol is in both English and French. There could be two separate symbols, one in English and one in French, or both languages on the same symbol.

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