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Decisions: Fortification of Foods

Fortification of Gluten-Free Foods

Question 1: When may gluten-free foods be fortified?

Answer 1:  Any food which has been processed or formulated to meet the gluten-free requirements of the B.24.018 & B24.019 of the Food and Drugs Regulations may be fortified, on condition that;

- there is no standard prescribed in the Regulations and

- the food is not advertised (to the general public).

E.g., It is acceptable to fortify a gluten-free snack food. While it is also acceptable to label milk as "gluten-free", milk may not have additional fortification as it is a standardized food. (AU/02)

Question 2:  Which nutrients may be added and what restrictions are placed on the levels of addition?

Answer 2:  Technically there are no specific regulatory restrictions, neither for the specific nutrients which may be added to these gluten-free foods nor to the level of nutrient addition. However, Health Canada recommends that gluten-free products have levels of enrichment corresponding to the amount of flour replaced. Companies which are considering fortification beyond the nutrients (and amounts) permitted for flour should contact Health Canada for advice. (AU/02)

Question 3:  What are the labelling and advertising requirements for these fortified foods?

Answer 3:  Gluten-free foods which have been fortified in a manner that is not in accordance with D.03.002 must be labelled as "gluten-free", on the pdp, in close proximity to the common name. E.g. "Rice bread - gluten free". A food is not permitted to be labelled, packaged, sold or advertised in a manner likely to create an impression that it is "gluten-free" unless it does not contain wheat, including spelt and kamut, or oats, barley, rye, triticale or any part thereof.

As per B.01.401(3)(e)(ii), any food represented as having a particular nutritional or health-related property, such as "gluten-free", must carry the Nutrition Facts table that includes all the added nutrients as per FDR B.01.402. Any exemption permitted by B.01.401(2) no longer applies when a food is represented as "gluten free".

Specially fortified gluten-free foods may not be advertised to the general public. They may be advertised in magazines, newsletters and other material targeted to individuals with celiac disease. These fortified foods may be sold at retail but may not be advertised by the store.

Note: Other foods labelled as gluten-free (those which are not fortified or those fortified in accordance to D03.002) may be advertised to the general public and do not require "gluten-free" to be adjacent to the common name.