The Canadian food regulations have transformed significantly over the past 6 years, evolving and modernizing to better protect consumers.  Many of these regulatory changes have approached the final implementation deadlines.

New Labelling Requirements:

Health Canada published amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations six years ago to improve labelling on food and beverage products. These amendments included changes to nutrition labelling; format requirements for the list of ingredients; sugar grouping and food colour declaration requirements.  The industry was given a 5-year transition period, plus one additional year due to pandemic challenges, to meet the new requirements; the transition period ended on December 14, 2022.

Beer Standard of Identity:

Regulations outlining the new Beer Standard of Identity and associated labelling requirements came into force in April 2019.  All beer labels must include an allergen declaration; the addition of a flavouring preparation requires a modified common name; and the standard for ale, stout, porter, and malt liquor were repealed.  In addition, standardized beers must have a total residual sugar limit of 4% w/v.  With a transition period of over three and a half years, all beer products must meet the requirements of the amended Food and Drug Regulations as of December 14, 2022.

Vodka Standard of Identity:

The new regulations of the Vodka Standard of Identity came into force in June 2019. The new regulations allow vodka to be produced from agricultural products other than potato and cereal grain, however this triggers the use of the expression “Produced from” and the name(s) of the agricultural material used. All vodka products must meet the requirements of the amended Food and Drug Regulations as of December 14, 2022.

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations:

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations require businesses to track the movement of their food in the supply chain – forward to the immediate customer and backward to the immediate supplier. This regulation requires that all selling units have a lot code, and products sold must have traceability documents one step forward and one step back in the supply chain.  Due to pandemic challenges, CFIA deprioritized compliance activities associated with the July 15, 2020, coming into force, however, as of November 1, 2022, CFIA has confirmed that this grace period has ended.

As the extended transition period has now ended, products that are not compliant with the above regulations will be flagged for non-compliance and will be subject to corrective action, which may include corrective labelling, fines, or penalties, product return to vendor or product destruction.

Labelling resources and prior regulatory trade letters can be found on Doing Business with LCBO.  Inquiries about the regulations, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) or Health Canada requirements should be directed to CFIA via their website.

Inquiries about LCBO label reviews may be directed to the LCBO’s Quality Assurance department. Email or call (416) 864-6724.