Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Chapter 7 - Nutrient Content Claims

Chapter 7: Sections 7.1-7.13 | Sections 7.14-7.18 | Section 7.19-7.25 | Annexes

PDF (165 kb)

Highlights of the 2002 Amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations

Nutrient content claims are limited to those permitted by the Food and Drug Regulations.

  • Claims are permitted for trans fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • "Free" claims are based on amounts of nutrients that are nutritionally insignificant or trivial in relation to current dietary recommendations.
  • Criteria for saturated fatty acid claims (and in turn cholesterol claims) are linked to the trans fatty acid content of the food.
  • The claim "X% fat-free" is permitted on foods that meet the criteria for, and are accompanied by, a "low fat" or "low in fat" statement.
  • Modifiers such as "ultra" or "extra" cannot be used with claims such as "low fat" or "high fibre" to make them appear to be lower than low or higher than high.
  • The nutrient content claim "light" can only be used for foods that are "reduced in fat" or "reduced in energy". The claim "lightly salted" is also permitted.
  • The word "light" may be used in reference to a sensory characteristic. However, when used in this manner, the name of the sensory characteristic being described must accompany the "light" claim (e.g., "light tasting" or "light colour").
  • Only a limited number of nutrient content claims can be made on foods for children under two.
  • The claims "calorie-reduced", "low calorie", "free of sugars" and "low in sodium or salt" are no longer restricted to foods for special dietary use.
  • The use of the words "diet" or "dietetic" are restricted to foods for special dietary use that meet the criteria for, and are labelled as, "free-", "low", "reduced" or "lower" in energy/Calories or "free of sugars".
  • Claims such as "low carbohydrate", "source of complex carbohydrates", "source of polyunsaturates/monounsaturates" are no longer permitted on foods.
  • Nutrient content claims that are made for non-prepackaged foods or claims in advertisements placed by someone other than the manufacturer (such as trade associations or marketing boards) must be accompanied by a quantitative declaration of the energy value or the nutrient(s) as required for the claims.

7.1 Introduction

Nutrient content claims are statements or expressions which describe, directly or indirectly, the level of a nutrient in a food or a group of foods. The regulations apply whether foods are sold to the trade, at retail, at restaurants or to other food service establishments.

Nutrient content claims are now limited to those that are permitted by the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR). Only the wording permitted in the regulations may be used. The regulations also prescribe the compositional criteria for each claim and any related additional labelling requirements. The conditions for some claims have been changed from what was previously in the regulations or in the Guide. Consult the appropriate item in the summary tables to make sure your food qualifies for the claim that you wish to make.

The objectives of these new regulations are to help consumers to make informed dietary choices in order to prevent injury to health. By restricting the types of claims that can be made as well as prescribing the conditions that a food must meet, and by making the nutritional profile mandatory, consumers can easily compare foods based on consistent information.

The compositional criteria for most of the nutrient content claims are based on regulated standardized "reference amounts" for foods as well as the "serving of stated size" for the particular food. (For an explanation of these terms, see 6.2 of this Guide.) These reference amounts are based on average quantities of food eaten at a single eating occasion. Having criteria for reference amounts in addition to the servings of stated size provides a uniform basis for claims for any specific category of food.

This chapter explains nutrient content claims and the criteria that must be met in order for each claim to be made. The chapter begins with general information and then describes the permitted claims for each nutrient. Information about health claims is presented in Chapter 8.

Note: For information on the nutrition labelling and nutrient content claim requirements for foods for children under two, refer to 5.16 of this Guide.

7.2 Transition Period

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

7.3 Permitted Nutrient Content References

The following types of references to the nutrient content of foods are permitted and may appear on the label of a food, or in advertisements for a food, provided any prescribed conditions are also met:

  • nutrient content claims listed in column 4 of the table following B.01.513 [B.01.503];
  • vitamin and mineral nutrient content claims [D.01.004(1), D.02.002(1)];
  • quantitative statements for nutrients e.g., "2 g of tryptophan per 80 g serving" [B.01.301]; and
  • claims with nutrition implications such as health claims (see Chapter 8 of this Guide).

7.3.1  Other Permitted Nutrient-Related Statements [B.01.502(2)]

Nutrition Labelling Tip

Some foods are exempted from showing the Nutrition Facts table under subsections B.01.401 (2)(a) and (b). If a reference or statement, express or implied, about one of the nutrients in the table to B.01.401 or B.01.402 is made, then the food loses its exempt status and the Nutrition Facts table must be shown (with any additional information, as required). This also applies in the case of the other permitted references and statements [B.01.401(3)(e), B.01.402(4)].

Certain names or statements are commonly used, while some are recognized or prescribed by legislation. Therefore, the following references are permitted as they do not contravene B.01.502(1):

  • representations for which there are provisions in the FDR, such as prescribed common names like "unsweetened chocolate" or "mineral water" and prescribed statements like "X% meat protein" on meats with added phosphates;
  • statements prescribed by Section 35 of the Processed Products Regulations (e.g., "packed in light syrup" on canned fruit, "X% sugar added" on frozen strawberries packed in sugar, etc.);
  • statements required by Section 94(4) of the Meat Inspection Regulations (e.g.,"extra lean ground beef", "lean ground pork", etc.);
  • some established common names such as "defatted soybeans", "high fructose corn syrup" and "demineralized water";
  • statements that characterize the amount of lactose in a food (e.g., "lactose-free" when lactose is non-detectable in the food);
  • statements that characterize the percentage alcohol in a beverage (e.g., "14% alcohol by volume");
  • statements regarding the addition of salt or sugars to a food (e.g., "salted nuts", "sweetened", etc.);
  • the term "light salted fish"; and
  • the term "lean" (in English only) when related to a prepackaged meal for use in weight-reduction or weight-maintenance diets.

7.4 Quantitative Declarations Outside the Nutrition Facts Table [B.01.301]

Energy value and the amount of many nutrients are required (or permitted) to be declared inside the Nutrition Facts table. However, quantitative declarations of energy value and the amount of nutrients per serving of stated size are also permitted outside the Nutrition Facts table, on labels or in advertisements, including on labels that are exempt from carrying a Nutrition Facts table, such as those for one-bite confections.

The nutrients permitted to be declared outside the Nutrition Facts table include:

  • nutrients required or permitted inside the Nutrition Facts table,
  • nutrients not required or permitted inside the Nutrition Facts table (e.g., named amino acids), and
  • constituents of nutrients.

All quantitative declarations outside the Nutrition Facts table must be declared on the basis of a serving of stated size in the units specified in Table 7-1 of this chapter.

Note that the Regulations permit a declaration of the % Daily Value of a nutrient, per serving of stated size, outside the Nutrition Facts table, when a % Daily Value is required or permitted in the Nutrition Facts table [B.01.301(2)]. This applies to:

  • any core nutrients (i.e., those listed in column 1 of the table to B.01.401), and
  • any permitted additional nutrients (i.e., those listed in column 1 of the table to B.01.402).

Note: Other words must not be used to qualify quantitative declarations outside the Nutrition Facts table. Thus "0 g carbohydrates" would be acceptable but not "contains 0 g carbohydrates".

Units Required for Quantitative Declarations Outside the Nutrition Facts Table
Table 7-1

Subject Units Example
Energy Caloriesm (Cal) 4 Calories per 250 ml serving
Vitamins & Mineral Nutrients (except Sodium and Potassium) mg, µg, RE, NE
(as applicable and as set out in Table 1 to Division 1 & 2 of Part D, FDR)
316 mg of calcium per bar (40 g)

25 µg of folate per serving of 1 cup (250 mL)

31 RE of vitamin A per 2 tablespoon (30 mL) serving

Sodium, Potassium & Cholesterol milligrams (mg) 451 mg potassium per banana (114 g)
Mineral Ion Content of Prepackaged Water or Ice parts per million (ppm) fluoride ion 2 ppm per bottle (500 mL)

[see also B.12.002]

All Other Nutrients grams (g) 0.4 g isoleucine per 125 mL serving

2 g of tryptophan per 80 g bar

0.1 g fat per 200 mL serving

0.2 g of DHA per 250 mL serving

7.5 Making Nutrient Content Claims: General Requirements

There are general conditions for making nutrient content claims which are outlined below. The table which follows B.01.513 sets out specific requirements for making each nutrient content claim. These are summarized later in this chapter starting in 7.14 of this Guide.

General Conditions for Making Nutrient Content Claims
Conditions for the Claim(s) The food for which a claim is made and the label or advertisements containing or conveying the claim must meet any conditions set out for the claim in columns 2 and 3 of the table following B.01.513 [B.01.503(1)(a)&(b)].

Note: In order to make some claims, the food must meet compositional criteria for the nutrient content based on both the serving size and the reference amount. If no reference amount exists for a food in Schedule M, FDR (see 6.2.1 of this Guide), these particular claims cannot be made.

Size and Prominence When a claim is made on the label or in any advertisement, all of the words, numbers, signs or symbols that are part of the claim must be of the same size and prominence [B.01.503(3)].
Placement of Accompanying Information When a claim is made on the food label, the information required to accompany the claim must be adjacent to (without intervening material) the most prominent claim on the principal display panel; or when the claim is not on the front label, grouped with the most prominent claim elsewhere on the label, and in letters of the same size and prominence as the claim [B.01.504].
Language Requirements All representations on the label must be in both English and French, unless B.01.012 (2) or (7) permits only one official language and the required information is shown in that language [B.01.501].
Nutrition Facts Table When a nutrient content claim appears on a food that is exempt from showing the Nutrition Facts table [under B.01.401(2)(a) and (b)], then the exemption no longer applies, and the Nutrition Facts table must appear as prescribed [B.01.401(3)(e)].
Quantitative Declaration Related to the Claim When a claim is made for a food, the nutrient that is the subject of the claim must appear in the Nutrition Facts table. In the absence of a Nutrition Facts table, a quantitative declaration of the energy value or nutrient value that is the subject of the claim must be provided on the label or in the advertisement.
Conditions for Advertising Accompanying information, quantitative declarations and other advertising related issues are addressed in 7.11 of this Guide.

7.6 Altering the Wording of Permitted Nutrient Content Claims [B.01.511]

Wording for nutrient content claims set out in the table following B.01.513 are prescriptive and word-sets shown in quotations must not be altered unless permitted. Table 7-2 shows acceptable and unacceptable ways of making claims. 

Altering Permitted Nutrient Content Claims
Table 7-2

 # Altering Nutrient Content Claims Examples

1

Words, numbers, signs or symbols may accompany a label or advertising claim, providing they precede or follow the statement or claim, but are not interposed between the words of the statement or claim (subject to the requirements set out in points 2-4 in this table) [B.01.511(1)]. Unacceptable:
"100% deliciously fat-free"

Acceptable:
"delicious and 100% fat-free"

2

Words such as "very", "ultra" and "extra" and other words, numbers, signs or symbols that change the nature of the statement or claim are prohibited [B.01.511(2)]. Unacceptable:
"ultra low fat", "extra high protein", "super low energy", etc.

3

The brand name of a food may not accompany a claim regarding a food that has not been processed, formulated, reformulated or otherwise modified in order to meet the conditions set out for that claim [B.01.511(3)]. Unacceptable:
"Brand Y olive oil is cholesterol free."
"Brand X low fat carrots."
"Like all carrots, Brand X carrots are low in fat."

Acceptable:
"Low in fat – all carrots are low in fat."
"Carrots are low in fat."

4

Any claim regarding a food that has not been processed, formulated, reformulated or otherwise modified in order to meet the conditions set out for that claim, shall relate to all foods of that type and not only the specified food [B.01.511(4)]. Unacceptable:
On an apple sauce label: "Low in fat"

Acceptable:
"Low in fat – all apple sauces are low in fat."
"Olive Oil, a cholesterol-free food"

5

When more than one of the claims in column 4 of the table following Section B.01.513 are made on the label or in the advertisement for a food, the common elements of the claims may be conjoined rather than repeated [B.01.512]. Acceptable:
"low in fat" and "low in sodium",
"low in fat and sodium"

7.7 Nutrient Content Claims for Vitamins and Minerals: General Requirements

The majority of permitted nutrient content claims, including those for sodium, are prescribed in column 4 of the table following B.01.513. However, nutrient content claims with respect to other vitamins and mineral nutrients are regulated by Part D of the FDR and are not covered in the table following B.01.513.

Claims may only be made for vitamins or mineral nutrients for which recommended daily intakes (RDIs) have been established [D.01.004(1)(a), D.02.002(1)(a)]. A minimum of 5% of the RDI per serving of stated size must be present for the vitamin or mineral that is the subject of the claim. These RDIs, which are synonymous with Daily Value (DV) for these nutrients, are listed in Table I of both Division 1 and 2 of Part D of the Food and Drug Regulations and summarized later in Chapter 7 of this Guide. See 7.25 of this Guide.

7.8 Nutrient Content Claims on Foods Exempted or Prohibited from Showing a Nutrition Facts Table

The regulations exempt or prohibit certain foods from showing a Nutrition Facts table on their label. The following sections indicate how nutrient content claims may be made on these foods and what the relevant labelling requirements are.

7.8.1 Products Not Required to Show the Nutrition Facts Table [B.01.401(2)]

Non-prepackaged products and prepackaged products exempted from showing a Nutrition Facts table are permitted to make nutrient content claims or other permitted nutrition-related statements or representations on either the label for the food and/or in an advertisement. (For the exempted foods, see 5.3.2 of this Guide.) However, if a claim is made by or for the manufacturer for a prepackaged product exempted by B.01.401(2)(a) or (b), it nullifies the exemption and triggers the requirement to show an appropriate Nutrition Facts table [B.01.401(3)(e), B.01.402(4)].

When nutrient content claims are made, the label or advertisement must also comply with all the prescribed requirements, as applicable:

  • the label must show the amount of any nutrient which is the subject of the claim, in the Nutrition Facts table, as applicable [B.01.402(4)]; and
  • the food must meet the applicable conditions set out in column 2 of the table following B.01.513 and the label must also meet the conditions, if any, set out in column 3 [B.01.503(1)] (see Tables 7-3 - 7.16 in this Guide). For example, an "X% fat free" claim must be accompanied by a "low fat" statement.

The Nutrition Facts table is not required in the following cases:

  • when a claim is made on a non-prepackaged product, such as on a sticker on bulk bins of fresh fruit, or
  • when a claim for a prepackaged product is made in an advertisement by someone other than the manufacturer, such as a Marketing Board that advertises all brands of the product through a generic ad in which no brands are named
  • when nutrient content claims are made on one-bite confections, on individual portions of food (those intended to be sold with meals or snacks by restaurants or other commercial enterprises) or on a variety of milks and goat milks packaged in glass bottles.

However, in the first two cases, a declaration of the applicable energy value or nutrient amount to support the claim must appear either on the label or in the advertisement [B.01.503(1)(c)].

7.8.2 Claims Made on Labels of Small Packages [B.01.467]

Foods with an available display surface of less than 100 cm2 are considered to be "small packages" and do not have to carry a Nutrition Facts table if the outer side of the label of the product indicates to consumers how they may obtain the nutrition information that would otherwise be required in a Nutrition Facts table on the label (see 5.10 of this Guide).

However, when the labels on foods with an available display surface of less than 100 cm2 carry a nutrient content claim, statement or representation, the labels must display a Nutrition Facts table: they no longer qualify to use a toll free telephone number or postal address.

In these cases, the options for smaller packages identified in 5.10 of this Guide will apply, including the specific "alternative methods of presentation" listed in B.01.466(1): a tag attached to the package, a package insert, the inner side of a label, a fold-out label or an outer sleeve, overwrap or collar.

7.8.3 Claims Made on Foods Prohibited from Showing a Nutrition Facts Table

Certain foods are prohibited from showing a Nutrition Facts table, or using the words "Nutrition Facts" or the French equivalents [B.01.401(5)]. These include:

  • formulated liquid diets,
  • human milk substitutes (such as infant formula),
  • foods represented as containing human milk substitutes,
  • meal replacements,
  • nutritional supplements, or
  • foods for use in very low energy diets.

The regulations for these foods already stipulate the required nutrition information that must appear on the label. However, these foods are permitted to make some nutrient content claims and other permitted claims on their labels and in advertising (unless the product is prohibited from being advertised to the general public, e.g., formulated liquid diets, foods for use in very low energy diets). A quantitative declaration of the energy value or amount of nutrient that is the subject of the claim must be made, if this information is not already provided with the nutrition information [B.01.301] (see 7.5 of this Guide). Note that Column 2 - (Conditions - Food) of the table following B.01.513 sets out requirements for some claims based on both the serving size and the reference amount, which are set out in Schedule M, FDR (see Table 6-3 of this Guide). Where no reference amount exists for a food, nutrient content claims based in part on a reference amount cannot be made.

Types of Comparative Claims
[Table following B.01.513]

  • Claims such as "reduced fat " or "more protein", etc. [items 3, 4, 6,10,13,14, 20, 21, 23, 24, 29, 30, 33, 34, 38, 39 and 44]
  • "light in energy or fat" claims [item 45]
  • "lightly salted" claims [item 36]

7.9 Comparative Claims

Comparative claims are those that compare the nutritional properties of two or more foods. Examples of comparative claims include:

  • "3 grams more fibre than 1 slice of Brand X bread"
  • "33% less sodium than our regular potato chips"

7.9.1 Conditions for Use of Comparative Claims

Only those comparative claims listed in the table following B.01.513 (and in the series of Summary Tables in this chapter of the Guide) may be used on food labels or in advertising. The tables (both in the Food and Drug Regulations and in this Guide) set out both the food conditions which must be met when making comparative claims (see column 2) and the labelling and advertising conditions (see column 3). In general, comparative claims must:

  • involve similar foods, or foods of the same food group depending on the type of claim;
  • clearly identify the foods being compared and the differences between them; and
  • be based on differences which are both nutritionally and analytically significant.

See 7.25 of this Guide for comparative claims for vitamins and mineral nutrients.

7.9.2 Definitions [B.01.500]

"Combination foods" means the category of foods that contain as ingredients foods from more than one food group, or foods from one or more food groups mixed with foods from the category of "other foods". Some examples include pizza (bread-type crust, vegetables, meat and cheese), lasagna (pasta, vegetables and cheese) and a prepared garlic bread (bread, butter and garlic).

"Food group" means one of the four following categories of foods:

  • milk products and milk product alternatives such as fortified plant-based beverages;
  • meat, poultry and fish, and alternatives such as legumes, eggs, tofu and peanut butter;
  • bread and grain products; and
  • vegetables and fruit.

These groups are similar to the four food groups presented in Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating.(See Chapter 8, Annex 8-5 of this Guide.)

"Other foods" means foods that are not part of any food group, including:

  • foods that are mostly fats and oils, such as butter, margarine, cooking oils and lard;
  • foods that are mostly sugar, such as jam, honey, syrup and candies;
  • snack foods, such as potato chips and pretzels;
  • beverages, such as water, tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks; and
  • herbs, spices and condiments, such as pickles, mustard and ketchup.

"Reference food of the same food group" means a food which can be substituted in the diet for the food to which it is compared, and which belongs:

  • to the same food group as the food to which it is compared (e.g., cheese as a reference food for milk, or chicken as a reference food for tofu);
  • to the category of other foods, if the food to which it is compared also belongs to that category (e.g., pretzels as a reference food for potato chips); or
  • to the category of combination foods, if the food to which it is compared also belongs to that category (e.g., pizza as a reference food for lasagna).

These reference foods in the same food group do not have to be similar; they are used to make comparative claims, such as "lower in energy", "lower in fat", or "lower in saturated fatty acids". A comparative claim might state, for example, that "our pretzels contain 90% less fat than our regular potato chips."

"Similar reference food" means a food of the same type as the food to which it is compared and that has not been processed, formulated, reformulated or otherwise modified in a manner that increases or decreases either the energy value, or the amount of a nutrient that is the subject of the comparison. For example, whole milk is a similar reference food for partly skimmed milk; regular cola is a similar reference food for calorie-reduced cola; regular chocolate chip cookies are a similar reference food for fat-reduced chocolate chip cookies.

Similar reference foods are useful for comparing a "regular" product with a product that has had its nutritional content intentionally increased or decreased, e.g., "more energy", "more protein", "more fibre", "reduced in energy" and "reduced in sugars". For example, the fat content of skim milk (which has had most of the fat removed) can be compared to the fat content of whole milk.

7.9.3 Labelling Requirements for Comparative Claims

Advertising

When comparative claims are made in advertisements, the accompanying information must be set out according to the media-specific requirements of Sections B.01.505 and B.01.506. See 7.11 of this Guide.

When a comparative statement is made on the food label, the accompanying information must be adjacent to the most prominent comparative statement on the principal display panel (e.g., on the front label or, when the claim is not on the front label, grouped with the most prominent claim elsewhere on the label), and shown in letters of at least the same size and prominence. "Adjacent to" means there can be no intervening material between the claim and the accompanying information [B.01.504].

Comparative Claim Example – A granola bar

See item 13 of the table following B.01.513,* Reduced in fat, to evaluate the claim: "30% lower in fat than our regular granola bar"

Food conditions

  • the "lower in fat" granola bar must have a minimum of 25% less fat than the similar reference food (e.g., the regular granola bar); and
  • the similar reference food (e.g., the regular granola bar), must not qualify as "low in fat".

Label conditions

  • the "similar reference food" (e.g., the regular granola bar) must be identified;
  • the amounts of the food being compared must be stated, unless they are the same; and
  • the difference must be expressed per serving of stated size (as a percentage, a fraction or in grams).

* See also Table 7-5 – Summary Table of Fat Claims, item d) in this Guide.

7.9.4 Comparative Claims for Vitamin and Mineral Nutrients

Comparative claims relating to the content of vitamins and mineral nutrients in foods are not mentioned in the table following Section B.01.513 but similar rules for use as those discussed above would apply. See 7.25.5 and item e) of Table 7-14 of this Guide for further information.

7.10 "Light" Claims [item 45, table following B.01.513]

Light in energy or fat: The use of "light" (or any other phonetic rendering of the word such as "lite"), as a nutrition claim is restricted to foods that meet the criteria for either "reduced in fat" or "reduced in energy". See 7.14.2, Table 7-3 of this Guide for light energy claims and 7.16.1, Table 7-5 of this Guide for light fat claims.

Note: For "light" in energy or fat claims, the similar reference food used for comparative purposes must have a nutrient value that is representative of foods of that type that have not been processed, formulated, reformulated or otherwise modified in a manner that increases the energy value or the amount of fat [B.01.500.(2)]. For instance, ice cream with a milk fat content of 11% cannot be compared with ice cream that has a milk fat content of 18% for the purposes of a "light" claim. Although the 11% milk fat ice cream has considerably less fat than an 18% milk fat ice cream, the 18% milk fat ice cream is not representative of the ice cream market.

Lightly salted: The claim "lightly salted" is acceptable, when used as set out in item 36 of the table following B.01.513. The food must contain 50% less added sodium than the similar reference food which is not low in sodium or salt. See 7.21.2, Table 7-10 of this Guide for further information.

7.10.1 Other Permitted "Light" Claims

 There are some other instances where the term "light" may be used in conjunction with the nutrient content of a food or in other contexts.

  • The English statement or claim "light" may be used in accordance with subsection 12(1) of the Maple Products Regulations (light or extra light maple syrup) [B.01.513(2)(a)].
  • The statement "light" or "léger" may be used with respect to rum (light rum) [B.01.513(2)(b)].
  • "Light salted fish" is an acceptable term [B.01.502(2)(k)].
  • Section 35 of the Processed Products Regulations describes light syrup requirements for certain foods [B.01.502(2)(b)] .
  • The Food and Drug Regulations contain a standard for light beer which refers to a reduced alcohol content [B.01.502(2)(a)].
  • In addition, "light", "lite", or any phonetic rendering of the word may be used on food labels or in advertising to describe sensory characteristics of a food (e.g., "light tasting", "lite coloured"). In these cases, the sensory characteristic must always accompany the claim [B.01.513(1)].

7.11 Advertising Requirements for Nutrient Content Claims

7.11.1 General Requirements and Definitions

Nutrient content claims that are presented in any form of advertising must meet all applicable conditions outlined above. Detailed requirements are listed in the tables in sections 7.14 to 7.26 of this Guide. The specific requirements for advertising vitamins and mineral nutrients are addressed in 7.11.5 below. Annex 7-2 of this Guide provides a decision tree for the advertising requirements for nutrient content claims.

"Manufacturer" or "distributor" means a person or persons (including an association or partnership) who, under their own name, or under a trade-, design or word mark, trade name or other name, word or mark controlled by them, sell a food or drug. This includes importers or retailers who control the food in question [A.01.010].

Advertisements placed by or on the direction of the manufacturer include, but are not limited to, advertisements for which the manufacturer has paid, public service spots which are sponsored by the manufacturer, advertisements placed on behalf of the manufacturer by an advertising agency or media outlet, information placed on the manufacturer's Web site and other forms of advertisements or publicity under the control of the manufacturer. Throughout the text of this chapter, these types of advertisements are referred to as "advertisements placed by the manufacturer".

Information Required in Support of a Nutrient Content Claim

The following information is required in support of a claim, as applicable [B.01.503]

  • a statement of the energy value in Calories per serving of stated size for energy claims; and
  • the amount of the nutrient per serving of stated size for nutrient content claims.

Additional information may also be required as set out in Column 3 - See Tables 7-3 - 7-16.

When a manufacturer places an advertisement for a prepackaged food and makes a nutrient content claim, any additional information triggered by the claim must be shown in the Nutrition Facts table. Foods exempted under B.01.401(2) (a) and (b) lose their exemption and must show an appropriate Nutrition Facts table.

Sometimes, advertisements for prepackaged products are not made or placed by or on the direction of the manufacturer, but rather by a third party such as a marketing board, a non-governmental health organization or other organizations without label control (OWL). Nutrient content claims are permitted to appear in these advertisements. The required nutrition information in support of the claim must appear in the advertisement whenever it does not appear on the product label [B.01.503.(1)(c)]. See the box above for more information.

Similarly, when nutrient content claims are made in advertisements for non- prepackaged foods, the required nutrition information in support of the claim must appear either in the advertisement or on the label.

7.11.2 Media-Specific Requirements for Nutrient Content Claims [B.01.505, B.01.506]

Requirements vary, depending on whether:

  • the advertisement is for radio or television;
  • the advertisement is for other types of media (such as print, flyers, billboards, internet, etc.);
  • the advertisement is placed by the manufacturer; or
  • the advertisement is placed by someone other than the manufacturer.

Additional information is required to accompany the following claims as outlined in the Summary Tables.

  • comparative claims, such as "reduced fat " or "more protein", etc. [items 3, 4, 6,10,13,14, 20, 21, 23, 24, 29, 30, 33, 34, 38, 39 and 44];
  • "light in energy or fat" claims [item 45];
  • "lightly salted" claims [item 36]; and
  • "(Percentage) fat-free" claims [item 16]

as outlined in the table following B.01.513.

7.11.3  Advertisements Other Than Those for Radio or Television [B.01.503.(1)(c), B.01.505.]

Ads for prepackaged foods placed by the manufacturer:
When the manufacturer is responsible for ads for prepackaged foods, the advertisement must contain all required accompanying information, as stipulated under column 3 in the table following B.01.513. The Nutrition Facts table on the label must show any additional information triggered by the claim.

Ads for non-prepackaged foods, or ads placed by someone other than the manufacturer:
When someone other than the manufacturer is responsible for ads for a prepackaged food, or when the ad is for a non-prepackaged food, the ad must contain all required accompanying information, and it must also contain a quantitative statement – that is, the energy value or amount of nutrient content that is the subject of the claim, per serving of stated size.

Regardless of who places the ad, placement of accompanying information does not change. The required accompanying information must be placed adjacent to the statement or claim, or if the claim appears more than once, adjacent to the most prominent statement or claim. There must not be any intervening printed, written or graphic material between the claim and the accompanying information, and the required information must appear in letters that are the same size and prominence as the most prominent statement or claim.

7.11.4  Advertisements for Radio or Television

When nutrient content claims listed in 7.11.2 are made in television or radio advertisements, all applicable conditions [as set out in column 3 of the table following B.01.513], must be met.

Exceptions apply to the following claims:

  • the "reduced (nutrient)" claims [items 3, 13, 20, 23, 29, 33, and 38],
  • the "light salted" claim [item 36], and
  • the "light in energy or fat" claims [item 45].

Note: In these cases, advertisers have an option with respect to the similar reference food. If desired, the similar reference food does not have to be named in the advertisement, if it is shown on the product label.

When someone other than the manufacturer is responsible for a nutrient claim in a radio or television advertisement for a prepackaged product, or an ad is placed for a non packaged product, the advertisement must state the relevant energy value or nutrient value, per serving of stated size (see 7.4 of this Guide.)

Note that for ads placed by someone other than the manufacturer, the similar reference food must be named in the television or radio advertisement. It is not sufficient to only mention the similar reference food on the label.

Regardless of who places the ad, however, placement of accompanying information does not change.

  • When the claim or statement is made in the audio portion (including the tag line*) or in both the audio and visual portions of the ad, the accompanying information must immediately precede or follow the claim in audio form [B.01.506(3), (4)(a)];
  • When the claim or statement is made only in the visual portion of the ad (in the video super** for instance), the accompanying information may be made in either the visual or the audio portion of the ad [B.01.506(4)(b)].

When the accompanying information is presented in the visual portion of the ad (i.e., in the video super**), it must:

  • appear concurrently with, and for the same amount of time as, the claim or statement,
  • be adjacent to the claim or the most prominent claim or statement with no intervening graphics or print, and
  • be in the same type size, height and prominence as the most prominent claim or statement [B.01.506(5)].

* A tag line is any corporate signature, slogan or claim, in audio or video that embodies, represents or defines an identified product or brand.
** A video super is any advertising copy in the video portion of a broadcast message – i.e., print or type on-screen.

7.11.5  Advertisements Making Vitamin and Mineral Nutrient Content Claims [D.01.004, D.02.002]

Claims about the vitamin and mineral nutrient content of foods may only be made when an established Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) exists for that vitamin or mineral nutrient and when the food contains at least 5% of the RDI for the vitamin or mineral nutrient. The vitamin or mineral nutrient content must always be declared as a percentage of the Daily Value (% DV) per serving of stated size, except where provided for elsewhere in the FDR. Refer to 7.25 of this Guide for further information about vitamin and mineral nutrient content claims.

When a manufacturer places an advertisement for a prepackaged food and makes a nutrient content claim, any additional information triggered by the claim must be shown in the Nutrition Facts table. Foods exempted under B.01.401(2) (a) and (b) lose their exemption and must show an appropriate Nutrition Facts table.

Where a statement or claim is made about a vitamin or mineral nutrient for a non-packaged product, or when a claim is made for a prepackaged food by someone other than the manufacturer, the % DV per serving of stated size for the vitamin or mineral nutrient must be shown in the ad.

Placement of the accompanying information is similar to that outlined above in 7.11.3 and 7.11.4. The criteria are as follows.

For ads other than those on radio or tv, the % DV per serving of stated size for the vitamin or mineral nutrient triggered by the claim must be stated in the ad. It must be adjacent to the statement or claim, or if the claim appears more than once, adjacent to the most prominent statement or claim. The % DV must be shown in letters of at least the same size and prominence as those of the statement or claim, and there must not be any intervening printed, written or graphic material between the claim and the % DV.

For a radio ad, the % DV per serving of stated size for the vitamin or mineral nutrient triggered by the claim must be stated immediately preceding or following the statement or claim.

For a television ad:

  • When the claim or statement about the vitamin or mineral content is made in either the audio portion of the ad or in both the audio and the visual portions of the ad, the % DV per serving of stated size for the vitamins or mineral nutrients triggered by the claim must also be stated in the audio portion of the ad, immediately preceding or following the statement or claim.
  • When the statement or claim is made only in the visual portion of the television ad (i.e. the video super), the % DV per serving of stated size for the vitamins or mineral nutrients may be provided either in the audio or the visual portion.
    • If the % DV is stated in the audio portion, it must immediately follow or precede the statement or claim.
    • If the % DV is stated in the visual portion of the ad, it must appear concurrently and for at least the same amount of time as the statement or claim. If the statement or claim is made only once, the % DV must be adjacent to it, without any intervening printed, written or graphic material. If the statement or claim is made more than once, the % DV must be adjacent to the most prominent statement or claim, in the same size and prominence.

7.12  Nutrient Content Claims Made in Restaurants [B.01.503.(1)(c)]

A Nutrition Facts table is not required for foods sold in restaurants. However, nutrient content claims are permitted and may be found in various promotional (i.e, advertising) material such as menu boards, menus, table tents, posters, etc.

When a nutrient content claim is made, the applicable energy value or nutrient amount must be stated in the ad, per serving of stated size, along with any another other supporting information required (by column 3 of the table following B.01.513).

7.13  How to Use the Claims Tables

The tables in this chapter list the nutrient content claims permitted for foods. In order for a nutrient content claim to be made:

  1. the food must meet the compositional criteria for the claim (see column 2 "Conditions – Food"), and
  2. the label or the advertisement must state the specific information required for that claim (see column 3, "Conditions – Label or Advertisement").

Other related claims may be permitted. These claims are also shown in the tables.

The claims tables in this chapter differ from the table following B.01.513 in the FDR in the presentation of information. The differences are explained using the excerpt below from Table 7-3 – Summary Table of Energy and Calorie Claims.

Column 1
Claims

Column 2
Conditions - Food

Column 3
Conditions - Label or Advertisement

FDR
Reference

a) Free of energy

"free of energy"
"energy-free"
"no energy"
"0 energy"
"zero energy"
"without energy"
"contains no energy"
"Calorie-free"
"free of Calories"
"no Calories"
"0 Calories"
"zero Calories"
"without Calories"
"contains no Calories"

The food provides less than 5 Calories or 21 kilojoules per reference amount and serving of stated size.

Must comply with general requirements for nutrient content claims - see 7.5 of this Guide

Nutrition Facts table required on products otherwise exempted by FDR B.01.401(2)(a) and (b)

When used in an advertisement, must comply with the requirements for advertisements - see  7.11 of this Guide

All other applicable requirements must be met.

B.01.401(3) (e)(ii)

Table following B.01.513, item 1

Column 1 is a combination of both column 1 and column 4 of the table to B.01.513 in the FDR. Column 1 specifies the claims that can be made. The titles in bold print are the subjects from column 1 of the table following  B.01.513 and are used so that references to the table can be easily made. The claims in quotation marks come from Column 4 of the table following  B.01.513. Only the claims indicated in quotations may be used and they must be worded exactly as indicated. Where there are a number of claims in quotes, any one can be used.

Other permitted references, if any, to the nutrient content of foods, are also shown in column 1. These references are not prescribed in the table following B.01.513 so have not been bolded and are not in quotations. There may be some flexibility in their wording. For example, "sweetened" is a permitted claim, although there is no prescribed criteria for its use.

Column 1 lists the claims that are permitted to describe a product as Free of energy, i.e., "energy-free", "free of energy", "no energy", "0 energy", "zero energy", "without energy", "contains no energy", "Calorie-free", "free of Calories", "no Calories", "0 Calories", "zero Calories", "without Calories" or "contains no Calories".

Column 2, "Conditions – Food" is identical to column 2 of the table following B.01.513. It specifies the compositional criteria required of foods making a claim set out in column 1. The compositional criteria is based on the reference amount and/or serving size of a food, covered in Chapter 6 of this Guide.

Column 2 specifies that foods making one of the listed Free of energy claims must provide less than 5 Calories or 21 kilojoules per reference amount and serving of stated size.

Column 3 sets out any labelling or advertising requirements for products making claims permitted in column 1. This includes the same information provided by column 3 of the table following B.01.513, as well as other pertinent information.

Column 3, in this case, does not set out any specific labelling requirements for the claim Free of energy. However, it does state the following references:
  • The manner in which the claim is made must be in accordance with the regulations summarized in this Guide.
  • While the Nutrition Facts table, including an energy declaration, is mandatory on most prepackaged foods, some products are exempt. Products lose their exemption once a "free of energy" claim is made.

Column 4 provides references to the relevant sections in the Food and Drug Regulations.

Next page: Sections 7.14-7.18 | Previous page: Chapter 7 - Table of Contents