Canada finalizes Changes to Nutrition Facts Label Requirements
By way of background, on October 24, 2016, Canada’s Minister of Health launched the Healthy Eating Strategy for Canada. Part of this strategy involves revising Canada’s food labeling requirements over the next 2 years in consultation with Canadians and stakeholders.
As part of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, on December 14, 2016, final amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) – Nutrition Labelling, Other Labelling Provisions and Food Colours were published in Canada Gazette, Part II.
Changes to the nutrition facts requirements include:
requiring the declaration of the % Daily Value (DV) for sugars (based on the 100 g DV for total sugars established in this amendment);
updating the list of nutrients to add potassium and remove vitamin A and vitamin C
requiring vitamins and minerals to be declared in both quantitative terms and on the basis of % DVs;
requiring a “rule of thumb” footnote to the Nutrition Facts table that states “*5% or less is a little, 15% or more is a lot.”;
requiring all sugar-based ingredients to be grouped in the list of ingredients following the term “Sugars”;
changes to increase the legibility of the list of ingredients, including:
requiring the use of uppercase and lowercase letters;
instituting minimum type height requirements for ingredients;
requiring good contrast of color (black text or equivalent dark shade of another color on a white or other uniform, neutral color background), with a border around the list or one or more lines above, below or at the sides of the list;
prohibiting the practice of horizontal scaling of text (i.e., condensing the width of letters so they take up less space horizontally); and
mandating bolding of titles such as “Ingredients” and, when used, “Contains” and “May Contain”;
changes to improve the legibility of labeling concerning food allergens, gluten sources and added sulphites when a “Contains” statement is used. Specifically, when a “Contains” statement is used:
it must follow the same legibility requirements as those for the list of ingredients; and
if the list of ingredients is bound by a border or lines, the “Contains” statement must also be inside the border or lines; and
requiring that all food colors be identified by common name as specified in the Food and Drugs Regulations (rather than under the generic name “colours”)
See Health Canada’s summary of the food labeling changes here for additional information.
While Health Canada develops the nutrition labeling regulations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is charged with enforcement. Industry has a transition period of 5 years (December 14, 2021) to come into compliance with the new labeling requirements.