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Labelling requirements for dairy products
Voluntary claims and statements

Highlighting dairy ingredients in other foods

The highlighted ingredients claims section provides information that also applies to highlighting the presence of a dairy ingredient, either within the common name of a food or as a separate claim.

When a food includes a dairy flavour and not the actual dairy ingredient, such as cheddar cheese flavour, this must be made clear using words such as "flavour" or "artificial flavour" that accompany the flavour designation.

Care must be exercised in the use of the words "butter" and "cream" in the name of a food or in descriptions relating to that food. For more information on this subject, refer to descriptions with characterizing ingredients.

Use of the term "milk"

The term "milk" cannot be used generically to describe all types of fluid milk in all labelling situations.

In order to meet the common name requirement, the term "milk" is a reference only to "milk" as standardized in section B.08.003 of the FDR. For other types of milk, the prescribed common names as shown in bold face type in Division 8 of the FDR or in the Canadian Standards of Identity, Volume 1 – Dairy Products must be used. Likewise, in the list of ingredients, either the prescribed common names must be used, or the term "milk ingredients" may be used as per section B.01.010(3)(b), Item 7.

Reference to the term "milk" is considered to mean milk in the generic sense when Regulations refer to formulations designed for mixing with milk, for example, under D.03.002 of the FDR. These formulations may be mixed with any "milk" (for example, skim milk, partly skimmed milk, whole milk, either reconstituted or fresh, etc.).

The directions for use or any other similar references found on labels or in advertisements should state the exact type of milk which is to be used (for example, "made with partly skimmed milk").

Declaration of the percentage milk fat of milk used as an ingredient is considered a non-permitted nutrient content claim. It is only permitted when used in conjunction with a permitted nutrient content claim.

For example:

"made with 1% partly skimmed milk": not allowed

"low in fat. Made with 1% partly skimmed milk": allowed as it is accompanied by a permitted nutrient content claim

"100% Canadian milk", "made with 100% Canadian milk" and "100% Canadian dairy" claims

The voluntary use of a "100% Canadian milk" claim (or similar) on dairy products must be truthful and not misleading. For more information, see Guidelines for the acceptable use of "100% Canadian milk" claims on dairy products.

Probiotic claims: dairy

Some dairy products may have non-strain specific claims stating the nature of probiotics present. See probiotic claims for more information.

Comparative claims: dairy

Cream cheese is not included in the milk products and alternatives group because of its low calcium and high fat content. Therefore, a comparative claim between cream cheese and a milk product is not permitted. Cream cheese falls within the category of "other foods" B.01.500(1)(a) foods that are mostly fats, and may only be compared to similar reference foods or reference foods of the same food group. See comparative nutrient content claims for more information.

"Made from raw or unpasteurized milk" labelling on cheese

Health Canada has provided Voluntary guidance on improving the safety of soft and semi-soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk. As part of this guidance, it is recommended that manufacturers label their products with the words "made from raw or unpasteurized milk" on the principal display panel of the product and/or declare the raw or unpasteurized milk in the list of ingredients. The purpose of this labelling is to assist consumers in making informed choices about the consumption of products containing unpasteurized milk, particularly for vulnerable populations who may be at greater risk of developing foodborne illness.

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