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Chapter 5
Nutrition Labelling
Sections 5.1-5.4

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Standard Format

Image - Standard Format (English)

Figure 1.1 (English)

Image - Standard Format (French)

Figure 1.1 (French)

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Narrow Standard Format

Image - Standard Narrow Format (English)

Figure 2.1 (English)

Image - Standard Narrow Format (French)

Figure 2.1 (French)

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Bilingual Standard Format

Image - Blingual Standard Format

Figure 3.1 (Bilingual)

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5.1 Purpose of the Nutrition Labelling Regulations

Canada's nutrition labelling regulations have been designed to provide a system for conveying information about the nutrient content of food in a standardized format, which allows for comparison among foods at the point of purchase. Clear, uniform information should support consumers in making informed food choices toward healthy eating goals.

Canadians need nutrition information to permit dietary management of chronic diseases of public health significance, and to help them make food choices that may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.

5.2 Transitional Period

As of December 12, 2007, this section has been repealed.

5.3 Exemptions [B.01.401(2)]

The following products are exempt from displaying a Nutrition Facts table.

  1. foods such as spices and some bottled waters, for which all the nutritional information (other than serving of stated size) set out in column 1 of the table to B.01.401 may be expressed as "0".
  2. beverages with an alcohol content of more than 0.5%.
  3. fresh vegetables and fruits without added ingredients, oranges with colour, and fruit and vegetables coated with paraffin wax or petrolatum;

    This category includes fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, thyme, etc. (but not dried herbs); sprouts; and fruits and vegetables that are minimally processed (e.g., washed, peeled, cut-up, shredded, etc.), including mixtures of fruits and vegetables, such as bagged mixed salad and coleslaw (without dressing, croutons, bacon bits, etc.).

    NOTE: The exemption is lost if any health claim set out in the table following B.01.603 is made (see Chapter 8 of this Guide), including the following: "A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer," [B.01.401 (3)(e)(ii), and item 4 of the table following B.01.603].

  4. raw, single ingredient meat, meat by-product, poultry meat, and poultry meat by-product;

    NOTE: prepackaged ground meat, ground meat by-product, ground poultry meat and ground poultry meat by-product must always carry a Nutrition Facts table [B.01.401(3)(d)].

  5. raw, single ingredient marine or freshwater animal products (such as fish, crustaceans, etc.);
  6. foods sold only in the retail establishment where the product is prepared and processed from its ingredients, including products made from a pre-mix when an ingredient other than water is added to the pre-mix;

    NOTE: A Nutrition Facts table is required when only water is added to a pre-mix or when a product is only baked, cooked, etc. on the premises without the addition of other ingredients;

  7. foods sold only at a road-side stand, craft show, flea market, fair, farmers' market and sugar bush by the individual who prepared and processed the product;
  8. individual servings of foods that are sold for immediate consumption (e.g., sandwiches or ready-made salads), when these have not been subjected to a process or special packaging, such as modified atmosphere packaging, to extend their durable life;
  9. foods sold only in the retail establishment where the product is packaged, if the product is labelled by means of a sticker and has an available display surface of less than 200 cm2 (see definition in 5.5.1 of this Guide);
  10. prepackaged confections, commonly known as one bite confections, that are sold individually, (e.g., small individually wrapped candies, mints, etc.);
  11. prepackaged individual portions of food that are solely intended to be served by a restaurant or other commercial enterprise with meals or snacks (crackers, creamers, etc.); and
  12. a variety of cow and goat milk products sold in refillable glass containers.

5.3.1 Losing the Exemption [B.01.401(3)]

The last three items listed above in 5.3 (a one-bite confection, an individual portion served with meals, milk in glass containers) never lose their exemption. The remaining items listed above lose their exempt status and are required to carry a Nutrition Facts table when:

  • a vitamin or mineral nutrient is added to the product;
  • a vitamin or mineral nutrient is declared as a component of an ingredient (other than flour);
  • aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame-potassium is added to the product (see Chapter 9 of this Guide);
  • the product is ground meat, ground meat by-product, ground poultry meat or ground poultry meat by-product; or
  • the label or advertisement contains one or more of the following:
    • a nutritional reference or nutrient content claim;
    • a biological role claim;
    • a health claim;
    • a health-related name, statement, logo, symbol, seal of approval or other proprietary mark of a third party; or
    • the phrase "nutrition facts", "valeur nutritive" or "valeurs nutritives".

5.3.2. Other Exemptions

Non-prepackaged foods are not required to carry nutrition information. However, when a label or advertisement of a non-prepackaged food carries a representation related to Calories or a nutrient (e.g., any mention, reference, indication, statement or claim including a health claim.), the label or advertisement is required to declare the applicable energy value or amount of the nutrient per serving of stated size [B.01.312, B.01.503(1)(c), B.01.602, table following B.01.603]

Foods used solely in the manufacture of other foods and multiple-serving, ready-to-serve foods intended solely to be served by an industrial or commercial enterprise (such as a hotel, restaurant, hospital, etc.) or an institution, are exempt from the Nutrition Facts table format (but not from the nutrition information). The product must be accompanied by written nutrition information when delivered to the purchaser (i.e., in any format, not necessarily in a Nutrition Facts table format). (See 5.14 and 5.15 of this Guide for further information.)

5.3.3  Prohibited Display of the Nutrition Facts Table

Formulated liquid diets, human milk substitutes, foods represented as containing a human milk substitute, meal replacements, nutritional supplements and foods represented for use in a very low energy diet have specific nutrition and other labelling requirements set out in Divisions 24 and 25 of the Food and Drug Regulations (see Chapter 9 of this Guide). Although the labels for these products are prohibited from using the Nutrition Facts table heading (i.e., "Nutrition Facts", "valeur nutritive" or "valeurs nutritives"), they may voluntarily use the Nutrition Facts table format with respect to the order of presentation, naming of nutrients, fonts, layout, etc. provided the applicable requirements of Divisions 24 and 25, FDR, are met.

  Voluntary Display of the Nutrition Facts Table [B.01.401(1),  B.01.402(2)]

Exempt foods may voluntarily display the Nutrition Facts table providing the content and format of the table are in accordance with the requirements of the regulations. Of course, this does not apply to those foods (e.g., formulated liquid diets, meal replacement, etc.) that are specifically prohibited from displaying a Nutrition Facts table (see 5.3.3 above).

5.4 Information in the Nutrition Facts Table [table to B.01.401]

Bilingual Standard Format

Image - Bilingual Standard Format

Figure 3.1 (Bilingual)

For purposes of illustration only. Copying may cause distortion

The sample bilingual Nutrition Facts table in Figure 3.1(B), above, indicates the core information that must always be included in the Nutrition Facts table and the order in which it must be presented.

Additional nutrition information may also be required in the table or permitted either inside or outside the table, as prescribed. (See the list of additional information in 5.4.1 below.)

5.4.1 Additional Information Permitted in the Nutrition Facts Table [table to B.01.402]

Image - Additional Information Permitted in the Nutrition Facts Table

Figure 19.1(B)

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The declaration of additional information is generally optional. In addition, the declaration of one nutrient does not necessarily trigger the declaration of other nutrients, unless specifically required by the Regulations.

However, in certain cases, manufacturers may be required to declare certain nutrients in the additional information list. This additional listing is triggered when references to nutrients are made in a nutrient content claim or in a health claim.

In addition to the core mandatory information, only the additional information included in Figure 18.1(E)&(F) or 19.1(B) is permitted in the Nutrition Facts table. Additional information must be presented in the manner shown in the Regulations (i.e., order of presentation, use of indents, and presentation of footnotes). The information must be incorporated into an applicable format (e.g., standard, narrow standard, bilingual standard, etc.) as selected according to the information presented later in this chapter. Additional information must be shown in English and French, except in those cases outlined subsections B.01.012(3) or (7). These subsections define local and specialty foods and then go on to specify when information may be shown in English only or French only [B.01.402(9)].

NOTE: Figures 18.1(E) and (F) and 19.1(B) are not format choices.

5.4.2 Mandatory Declaration of "Additional Information"

In the following cases, the declaration of "additional information", which is generally optional, becomes mandatory:

  1. omega-6, omega-3 and monounsaturated fatty acids must all be declared when any one of these, either on the label or in any advertisement, is declared. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are not required to be declared, but when shown, triggers the three declarations previously mentioned. Any specifically named fatty acid, whether on the label outside the Nutrition Facts table or in any advertisement, also triggers the same three declarations [B.01.402(3)];
  2. any nutrient set out in the table to B.01.402 (see 5.4.1 above) must be declared when there is any representation (e.g., any mention, reference, indication, statement, claim, etc.) regarding the nutrient anywhere on the label, including in the ingredient list, or in any advertisement [B.01.402(4)];
  3. potassium must be declared when the product contains added potassium salts and when there are claims relating to the salt or sodium content of the food [Items 31 - 36 of the table following B.01.513, B.01.402(5)];
  4. any sugar alcohol, vitamin or mineral nutrient (except for iodide added to salt and fluoride added to prepackaged water and ice) added to a prepackaged food must be declared [B.01.402(6)];, and
  5. vitamin or mineral nutrients must be declared when shown as a component of one of the ingredients (except flour) of a prepackaged product [B.01.402(7)].

5.4.3 Declaring Nutrients Outside the Nutrition Facts Table [B.01.301(1)(e), B.01.008(1), B.01.014, B.01.016, B.01.019, B.01.305(2)(b)]

When the regulations require mandatory declarations of nutrients that are not permitted to be shown within the Nutrition Facts table (i.e., not listed in 5.4.1 of this Guide) this information must be declared, in the appropriate units (g, mg, etc) per serving of stated size.

For example, a representation respecting an amino acid triggers the declaration of nine specific amino acids found in the food in grams per serving of stated size. This information must be displayed outside the Nutrition Facts table.

When any of the non-nutritive sweeteners aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame-potassium is added to a food, the content of these in the food must be declared in milligrams per serving of stated size, outside the Nutrition Facts table, adjacent to the ingredient list [B.01.008]. (See Chapter 9 of this Guide for more information on sweeteners.)

Information on the amounts of nutrients or food components not permitted within the Nutrition Facts table, such as boron or individually named fatty acids, may be displayed on a voluntary basis providing it appears on any part of the label other than within the Nutrition Facts table, and is declared, in grams per serving of stated size.

Note that absolute amounts of vitamins and minerals (e.g., milligrams (mg), micrograms (µg), Retinol Equivalents (RE), Niacin Equivalents (NE)), even when required by regulation, may only be declared outside the Nutrition Facts table. These units are not permitted within the Nutrition Facts table as only the % Daily Value may be shown within the table. The % Daily Value may additionally be declared outside of the Nutrition Facts table per serving of stated size.

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