On July 20, 2022, the Government of Canada published amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (Nutrition Symbols, Other Labelling Provisions, Vitamin D and Hydrogenated Fats or Oils): SOR/2022-168 in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These regulations came into force upon publication and are subject to a transition period that ends on December 31, 2025, to allow industry time to implement these updates and use up existing label stock.
These amendments introduce a number of changes to the Food and Drug Regulations in support of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy. We would like to share with you some highlights of these updates that may be impactful to our trade partners.
Front-of-package nutrition labelling
Health Canada has introduced new nutrition labelling regulations for packaged foods requiring a symbol on the front of packages indicating that a food is high in saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium. In most cases, the threshold will be 15% of the daily value for each nutrient of concern, based on the reference amount for the food or serving size, whichever is greater. The new front-of-package (FOP) nutrition symbol includes a magnifying glass which will act as a quick and easy visual cue to identify foods high in these three nutrients.
In line with the exemption from displaying a Nutrition Facts Table (NFt), alcoholic beverages with more than 0.5% alcohol by volume are conditionally exempt from the front-of-package nutrition symbol requirements. However, these exemptions may not apply in certain situations, for example, when a nutrient or calorie content claim is made on the label. When these exemptions do not apply, the new front-of-package nutrition symbol may be required on your product label.
Permitted nutrient content claims
Health Canada amended the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) to incorporate by reference the Table of Permitted Nutrient Content Statements and Claims. This amendment includes a number of changes to the conditions for certain nutrient content claims, as well as the introduction of a new claim "low in sugars". Products that make a permitted nutrient content claim must display a Nutrition Facts Table.
High-intensity sweetener labelling
Health Canada has made changes to how certain high-intensity sweeteners (acesulfame-potassium, aspartame, neotame and sucralose) are labelled. For example, the regulatory amendments have removed the requirement for a statement on the principal display panel that the food contains the sweetener, removed the requirement for a quantitative declaration of the sweetener content grouped with the ingredient list, and added provisions that improve the legibility requirements of mandatory phenylalanine statement for food containing aspartame. These changes will bring consistency to the labelling of all sweeteners in Canada.
Non-alcoholic, alcohol content declaration
These regulatory amendments permit beverages containing 0%–0.5% alcohol, such as non-alcoholic beers and wines, to include representations as to their alcohol content. This provides factual information for consumers.
This overview is intended to help summarize key elements of the recent labelling updates published by Health Canada. In preparing this summary, some requirements pertaining to the labeling of products may not have been included and some details may have been omitted. LCBO strongly urges suppliers to review the published regulations and supporting Health Canada documents (links below) to consider the impact of the regulatory amendments on their products. Suppliers are reminded that they are responsible for ensuring that products supplied to LCBO comply with all applicable laws.
Your assistance in sharing this information with your members is greatly appreciated. Questions on the new requirements and their intent can be submitted to Health Canada. For questions dealing with compliance and enforcement activities, please refer to the implementation plan on the CFIA website.
Any other inquiries may be directed to the LCBO’s Quality Assurance department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (416) 864-6724.