Notice of proposal to update the nutrition labelling: Table of reference amounts for food

June 24, 2021

On this page

Background

Health Canada's Food Directorate is proposing amendments to the Table of Reference Amounts for Food based on new consumption data and market trends, and to address identified gaps in certain food categories.

The table sets out reference amounts for different food categories.

Reference amounts:

The table also provides detailed instructions on how to determine and declare the serving size for each food.

The purpose of this communication is to publically announce Health Canada's intention to revise the Table of reference amounts for food and to provide the appropriate contact information for any inquiries or for those wishing to submit comments or new information relevant to this proposal.

Rationale for revising the Table of reference amounts for food

Reference amounts represent the amount of food typically consumed by a person at a single eating occasion and are currently based on 2004 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) consumption data. With the availability of more recent CCHS consumption data (2015), Health Canada is taking the opportunity to update the Table of reference amounts for food as needed.

Furthermore, based on stakeholder feedback, which identified gaps in the table or areas requiring further clarity, Health Canada is proposing to:

Proposed changes to the Table of reference amounts for food

The proposed changes consist of:

Nutrition labelling considerations

The updates to the Table of reference amounts for food will provide clearer guidance on several food categories and address questions received from stakeholders after the 2016 nutrition labelling amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, regarding implementation of the new reference amounts and the declaration of the serving of stated size.

Updating the reference amounts would not require redesign of package labels, as it would not affect the nutrition facts table's size or format. However, for manufacturers who have already implemented the new nutrition labelling requirements introduced in December 2016, some of the proposed modifications may require additional label changes.

Since claim eligibility is assessed against both the serving of stated size and the reference amount, the proposed modifications may have an impact on the ability to make certain claims. For example, products whose reference amounts have decreased (e.g. drinkable yogurts, yogurt and refried beans) or products that have been assigned a new reference amount category (e.g. hollandaise sauce), may no longer be able to make the claims they are currently making (e.g. "low in fat" or "free of sodium").

Implementation and enforcement

The proposed changes to the Table of reference amounts for food will be made the day on which the Notice of Modification is published on Health Canada's website. Given the nature of the proposed changes, Health Canada is proposing to give industry until December 14, 2023 to implement these changes. During this time, the proposed changes and the previous 2016 Table may apply. This will provide industry sufficient time to implement these changes and align with the 2016 nutrition labelling amendments to the FDR. Therefore, by December 15, 2023, only the updated 2021 table will be in effect.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for the enforcement of the Food and Drugs Act and its associated regulations with respect to foods.

Information document

To request a copy of the updated table containing the proposed changes, please send an email to hc.bns-bsn.sc@canada.ca with the words "Table of Reference Amounts for Food (NOP/ADP-QRA-2021-1)" in the subject line.

Public Comments and Contact Information

Health Canada's Food Directorate is committed to reviewing any new information relating to this proposal. Interested persons wishing to submit comments or any inquiries on this proposal may do so electronically by September 7, 2021, 75 days from the date of this posting. All such submissions must use the words "Table of Reference Amounts for Food (NOP/ADP-QRA-2021-1)" in the subject line of the e-mail and be addressed to:

Bureau of Nutritional Sciences, Food Directorate

E-mail: hc.bns-bsn.sc@canada.ca

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: