We’re making improvements to the nutrition facts table and list of ingredients on food labels.
These amendments will improve the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients to make them easier to understand thereby helping Canadians to make informed choices.
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, 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.
The following is a summary of the changes you can expect for Canadian food labels.
Foods in single serve and multi-serve packages
The two label change proposals mentioned above were under consideration, but are not yet finalized: Front of Pack Labelling (Health Canada initiative under Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations), and Food Labelling Modernization.
Food Labeling Updates:
The following are changes proposed to food labelling by the Canadian Federal Inspection Agency (CFIA)
- Use of class names – Use of group names for similar ingredients, such as vegetable oil, flavour or milk ingredients. The list of mandatory and optional class names is to be supported by international standards.
- Test Market Food – A test market authorization gives a short-term exemption from regulatory requirements to allow a company to test a new product on the market. Currently, there is no consistent process and criteria for all foods.
- Shelf life – Currently, this relates to foods with a best before date of 90 days or less. The proposal is to apply the requirement to all foods.
- Company information – Alternate methods of communication to be allowed, i.e. phone number, email, or a website address.
- Country of origin of imported food –The proposal is to require an indication of the country or state of origin for all wholly imported foods.
- Product/service specific labelling –The proposal is to introduce requirements to describe the true nature of the food and eliminate many commodity-specific requirements.
- Legibility and location of type size –Consistent text requirements for font size and placement of text across food types have been proposed.
- Pictorals – It has been suggested that claims or pictures highlighting the presence of key ingredients can be misleading. It is suggested to declare a percentage of ingredients on the label, the example uses flavoured to describe when food is added in flavouring amounts.
You can find an overview of the proposed changes here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-labelling-changes.html and here: https://www.inspection.gc.ca/consultations-and-engagement/proposed-regulatory-changes/eng/1560907775533/1560907775762.
Front of Package Nutrition Labelling
The proposal is to add logos or pictorials on the Principal Display Panel for food products high in saturated fat, sugars, and sodium. The method of alerting the consumer on which pictorial to use is still not finalized. The proposed labelling values are 15% Daily Value for these three items. The amount is to be considered as per the serving size.
It is recommended that the changes published in 2016 are adopted to current food packaging as soon as possible, if not completed already.
We also recommend that all marketers of packaged food should review their food product categories to determine if their packaging will be further affected by the proposed changes under the Food Labelling Modernization or Front of Package initiatives.