Nutrition labelling: Nutrition claims

Learn about nutrient content claims, health claims, and other claims that might appear on food labels.

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About nutrition claims

Nutrition claims are optional statements on food labels that highlight specific nutrients, foods or ingredients. It's important to check the nutrition facts table and list of ingredients when making food choices, even if there are claims on the package.

Foods must meet certain criteria to ensure that nutrition claims are consistent and accurate.

There are 2 types of nutrition claims:

  • nutrient content claims
  • health claims

Nutrient content claims

Nutrient content claims describe the amount of a nutrient in a food. They can help you choose foods that contain a nutrient you may want more of. Look for words like:

  • source: for example, "source of fibre"
  • high or good source: for example, "high in Vitamin A" or "good source of iron"
  • very high or excellent source: for example, "excellent source of calcium"

Nutrient content claims can help you choose foods that contain a nutrient you may want less of. Look for words such as:

  • low: for example, "low in sugars"
  • reduced: for example, "reduced in sodium"
  • free: for example, "trans-fat free"

Learn more:

Health claims

Health claims on food labels describe the potential health effects of a food product when consumed as part of a healthy diet.

There are 2 types of health claims on foods:

  • function claims (including nutrient function claims)
  • disease risk reduction claims (including therapeutic claims)

Function claims are statements about the specific benefits a food has on normal body functions. For example, "Consuming fibre from coarse wheat bran promotes regularity."

Nutrient function claims are a type of function claims. They are statements about the roles of energy or nutrients that are essential for good health or normal growth and development. For example, "Vitamin D helps build strong bones and teeth."

Disease risk reduction claims are statements that link a food to a lower risk of developing a disease or condition. They frame the claim in the context of the total diet. For example, "A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer."

Therapeutic claims are a type of disease risk reduction claims. They link a food to the treatment or improvement of a disease, condition or body function. For example, "Oat fibre helps lower cholesterol."

Acceptable health claims

The Food and Drug Regulations regulate some types of health claims.

Health Canada also has a list of accepted health claims, as well as the criteria a food product must meet in order to use them.

Manufacturers must submit some of the claims to Health Canada for approval before they can be used. Others can be submitted voluntarily.

Some companies use health claims that aren't in the Food and Drug Regulations or on Health Canada's list of accepted claims. These companies must provide scientific evidence to support their claims upon request by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Submit questions about health claims to

Companies that wish to make a health claim submission for foods can contact Health Canada at

Learn more about:

Other claims

Other types of claims may also appear on labels. These claims can be misleading and don't always provide useful information. Don't rely on these types of claims when choosing your food.

These include:

  • symbols and logos that are not from Health Canada
  • vague claims that an ingredient or food provides a health benefit, such as "improves cognitive performance"
  • broad, simple claims about the nutritional value of a food, such as:
    • "smart"
    • "healthy"
    • "sensible"

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