Regulations and compliance: Nutrition labelling
As part of Health Canada's Healthy Eating Strategy, the final amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) Nutrition Labelling, Other Labelling Provisions and Food Colours were published in Canada Gazette, Part II on December 14, 2016. See food labelling changes for more information.
The legislative authorities obtained through the Jobs, Growth, and Long-term Prosperity Act of 2012, have provided Health Canada with the ability to make more timely updates to scientific information. This is accomplished by moving some information from regulatory text into documents that are incorporated by reference into the FDR. These may be updated administratively by the Minister.
In this case, the three documents incorporated by reference are:
- Nutrition Labelling: Table of Reference Amounts for Food (formerly Schedule M to the FDR)
- Nutrition Labelling: Table of Daily Values (this is a new document replacing the reference standards in the Table to Section B.01.001.1 and the recommended daily intakes found in Table I to Division 1 and Table I to Division 2 of Part D of the FDR)
- Nutrition Labelling: Directory of Nutrition Facts Table Formats (formerly Schedule L to the FDR)
Health Canada will keep stakeholders advised of potential changes to these incorporated documents through consultation and notification processes.
While it is Health Canada that develops the nutrition labelling regulations, it is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that is responsible for the enforcement of the regulations. With respect to the new regulations published on December 14, 2016, a five year transition period was established for industry to meet the new requirements. Companies may apply either the former regulations or the new regulations during this time. The transition period for the 2016 nutrition labelling changes is currently set to end on December 14, 2021. However, given the challenges imposed by COVID-19, the CFIA will focus its efforts on education and compliance promotion for the first year, 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.
Compendium of templates for nutrition facts tables and list of ingredients
To help label designers and the food and packaging industry meet the format specifications of the regulations, Health Canada has created the Compendium of Templates: Nutrition Facts Tables and List of Ingredients. The templates are the actual-size graphic illustrations for various Nutrition Facts table formats permitted by the FDR. For the list of ingredients, there are many variations that could meet the graphic specifications set out in the FDR. Some examples have been provided within the Compendium to demonstrate acceptable variations.
Guide to developing accurate nutrient values
Health Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, has prepared the Guide to Developing Accurate Nutrient Values to assist the food industry, private laboratories, academia, health professionals and government agencies in developing accurate nutrient values for a variety of purposes, including nutrition labelling.
Laboratory methods for nutrient content analysis
A number of laboratory methods have been developed by Health Canada for nutrient content analysis.
If you are interested in staying abreast of consultations, policies and regulations related to nutritional sciences please add yourself to Health Canada's Consultations and Stakeholder Information Management System (CSIMS).
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