Health Canada Announcement:
The Minister of Health has introduced new front-of-package nutrition labeling laws for prepackaged food products, and they will apply to packaged foods high in saturated fat, sugars, and salt. A front-of-package emblem will need to be shown on these prepackaged foods in order to comply with the new requirements.
Food products carrying these new symbols are ones that meet or exceed daily amounts of saturated fat, carbohydrates, and salt. It is required that the sign, which is a magnifying glass in black and white with accompanying text, be visible on the front of all packages, that it be situated on the upper right side of the label, and that it be printed in both English and French.
These new changes represent a significant cost investment for specific businesses operating in various food product segments specifically targeted by the regulations.
The food industry has been given until January 1, 2026, to make this change. However, you may start seeing the front-of-package nutrition symbol earlier.
The CFIA will begin to check compliance on December 15, 2022, and will use enforcement discretion when non-compliant enterprises have documented plans outlining how they intend to satisfy the new rules as soon as is humanly practicable.
Food labels have updated the list of ingredients and the nutrition data table to reflect these changes. Because of these revisions, the nutrition facts table and the list of ingredients will be improved so that they are simpler to comprehend.
This will assist the people in Canada in making decisions based on accurate information. It was decided to give the industry five years to make the necessary changes to their labels and use up any labels that had already been printed to meet the current requirements.
Despite this, because of the difficulties created by COVID-19, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has decided that, for the first year, up to December 14, 2022, they would concentrate their efforts on education and the promotion of compliance.
Main sectors affected by these changes.
The changes that have been made to the nutrition facts table are subjected to help make healthier food choices. Now people will have access to more accurate information, and they will be able to know and decide what is good for them.
This transparency will develop trust between consumers and manufacturers as well.
- Changes to the nutrition facts table
- Changes to the serving size
- Changes to the information on sugars
- Changes to the information on sweeteners
- Changes to the list of ingredients
- Front-of-package nutrition labeling
Food items that require symbols and those that do not:
The following are examples of foods that will need to display the symbol:
- Generally, prepackaged foods that reach or surpass 15 percent of the recommended value for saturated fat, carbohydrates, or salt are prefabricated (such as deli meats, soups, frozen desserts, or puddings).
- Foods sold in a pre-packaged form that includes 10 percent or more of the recommended value for saturated fat, carbohydrates, or salt and have a tiny reference quantity (meaning the amount of food a person generally takes in one sitting) are considered to be high in these nutrients (such as pickles, salad dressings, cookies or breakfast cereals).
- Main meals sold in a pre-packaged form with a reference quantity larger than or equal to 200 grams and that meets or exceeds 30 percent of the recommended value for saturated fat, sugars, or salt (such as frozen lasagna, meat pie, or pizza).
A few food items are excluded from this rule:
- Foods that are beneficial to one’s health, such as fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables; 2% or whole milk; eggs; foods that contain a healthy fat profile, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and fatty fish; and any combination of these foods so long as they do not contain ingredients that contain saturated fat, sugars, and sodium.
- Foods that provide a source of nutrients that are not commonly accessible in other foods and that most Canadians do not receive enough of, such as cheese and yogurt, which include calcium and are manufactured from dairy products. These are examples of foods that fall into this category.
- Foods that are developed specifically to fulfill the requirements of a particular demographic, such as rations for usage by members of the armed forces.
Standard Format Details
Changes are introduced for the following standard formats
- Colour in the Nutrition Facts Table
- Crowding of Information and Narrowing the Nutrition Facts Table
- Adjusting the Nutrition Facts Table Rectangle
- Dividing the Nutrition Facts Table
- Destruction of the Nutrition Facts Table Upon Opening of the Package
- Abbreviations and Symbols in the Nutrition Facts Table
- Presentation of Certain Additional Information in the NFT
- Tailoring of the Linear format and Language Specifications
Abbreviations and Symbols in the Nutrition Facts Table
Consultations with members of the public back up the idea that readers often have trouble understanding what is meant when abbreviations are used. The following are the only acronyms that can be used in the Nutrition Facts table (NFT) because of this restriction on the number of allowed abbreviations:
- “% Daily Value” or “% DV” for “Percent Daily Value” (English expression)
- “% valeur quotidienne” or “% VQ” “pourcentage de la valeur quotidienne” (French expression)
- “Vit” for vitamin
- “kJ” for kilojoules
The shortened forms “% DV” or “% VQ” should be limited to the particular NFt figures they are authorized, as stated in the Directory of Nutrition Facts Table Formats. This will ensure that the information presented is accurate.
When the abbreviated form “% DV” and “% VQ” subheading is used within the NFt rather than the long form “% Daily Value” and “% valeur quotidienne,” the asterisk (*) that follows it also links the abbreviation to an explanation of its meaning, elsewhere within the table (i.e., * DV = Daily Value; * VQ = valeur quotidienne), as demonstrated in the example that follows.
The Canadian government has changed the information available on food and nutrition items. The information on the list of ingredients seen on food labels has been improved due to input from consumers and stakeholders.
Now customers will have more access to more information and can decide what is better for them and their children.
How Quality Smart Solutions can help
At Quality Smart Solutions, we have a team of experts who are skilled in Health Canada Food & Beverage Compliance.
Please contact us today or call us at 1-800-396-5144 to learn about how we can help you.