Labelling of packaged food in Canada has undergone some regulatory changes in the last few years, and there are some proposals for label revisions that have been active for some time. While these were posted for consultation, and the consultations closed in 2019, they have yet to be finalized. As with most things in 2020, we can blame the Covid-19 pandemic for the delay.
The following summarizes the changes in effect for Canadian food labels.
Changes regarding serving size, Nutrition Facts Table (NFT) and ingredient listing presentation were published on December 14, 2016. These changes were published with a 5-year transition date, i.e. labels should comply with the new style by December 14, 2021. In the intervening years (well before Covid-19), there was some talk of extending that deadline by one more year, but nothing official was published.
The two label change initiatives mentioned above that were under consideration, but are not yet finalized, are (i)Front of Pack Labelling (Health Canada initiative under Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations), and (ii) Food Labelling Modernization (CFIA initiative), which will be discussed in further detail below.
Food Labelling Modernization:
The following are changes proposed to food labelling by the Canadian Federal Inspection Agency (CFIA)
You can find an overview of the proposed changes 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 (PDP) for food products high in saturated fat, sugars, and sodium. The method of alerting the consumer (which pictorial to use) is still not finalized. The proposed labelling threshold values are 15% DV (Daily Value) for these three items. The amount is to be considered as per the serving size.
We recommend to our clients to ensure that the changes published in 2016 are adopted to current food packaging as soon as possible, if those changes have not been made 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. If you have any questions about this article or any related to food labeling, or any other regulatory matter, please contact dicentra today.