The Healthy Eating Strategy: Health Canada Issues Changes to Food Label Regulations

December 21, 2016 By

The Healthy Eating Strategy: Health Canada Issues Changes to Food Label Regulations

December 14, 2016 Canada Gazette II Publishes Amended Food Label Regulations

On December 14, 2016 Health Canada announced amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations in reference to the labelling provisions for packaged foods. These changes stem from Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, an effort to empower consumers to make healthier food choices by making food labels easier to read and understand. The final objective being the elimination of industrially produced trans-fat, reduction of sodium and additional information pertaining to sugars and food colours.

As a result of these amendments, Health Canada has updated food labelling as it concerns the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients.

Nutrition Facts Table

  • Increasing the font size of the Calories and Serving Size
  • Adding a bold line under Calories
  • Adding the footnotes “5% or less is a little” and “15% or more is a lot”
  • Assigning new % daily values based on modern nutrition science
  • Adding a new % daily value for total sugars
  • Adding potassium
  • Removing Vitamin A and Vitamin C
  • Adding the milligram amounts for potassium, calcium and iron
  • Creation of a regulated reference Serving Size, based on single serve versus multi-serving packages

List of Ingredients

  • Following ‘sugar’ group sugars-based ingredients in brackets
  • Listing food colours by their individual common names
  • Using black font on a white or neutral background
  • Separating ingredients using bullets or commas
  • Listing ingredients using both upper and lower case letters
  • Using Minimum type height requirements for ingredients
  • Following the same formatting requirements for the ‘Contains’ statement (indicating the presence/potential presence of priority food allergens, gluten sources and/or added sulphites)

The food industry has been given a five year transition period, as of December 14, 2016 to implement the new food label requirements under these revised regulations. During this interim period, companies may choose to label food products under the former regulations or the new regulations. Over this period, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will maintain its current guidance and tools while simultaneously updating them to reflect these new requirements. Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have prepared a guide to develop accurate nutrient values, as well as a number of laboratory methods for nutrient content analysis. Health Canada will respond to questions related to the new requirements and their intent, whereas inquiries dealing with compliance and enforcement will be handled by local Canadian Food Inspection Agency offices.

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