Implementation plan for amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (Nutrition Symbols, Other Labelling Provisions, Vitamin D and Hydrogenated Fats or Oils)
On July 20, 2022, Health Canada published amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (Nutrition Symbols, Other Labelling Provisions, Vitamin D and Hydrogenated Fats or Oils) in Canada Gazette Part II (CGII). These changes will enable Canadians to more easily identify foods high in nutrients of public health concern (saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium) and are part of the Health Canada's healthy eating strategy.
The key changes relate to:
- new labelling requirements in the form of a front-of-package nutrition symbol for prepackaged products deemed high in saturated fats, sugars and/or sodium
- new restrictions for health claims and nutrient content claims related to saturated fats, sugars and sodium
- repealing the table of nutrient content claims and incorporating it by reference into the Food and Drug Regulations
- labelling requirement changes for certain high-intensity sweeteners to align with other sweeteners
- definitions and references to hydrogenated fats or oils to ensure a coherent prohibition on the use of partially hydrogenated oils in foods
- increase of vitamin D fortification levels in cow's milk, goat's milk and margarine
The following is a summary of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada's multi-year implementation plan for these regulatory amendments.
The regulations came into force on the day they were published in Canada Gazette Part II. The regulatory amendments provide a 3.5 year transition period, ending on December 31, 2025.
These regulations fall within the scope of the joint Health Canada and CFIA Food labelling coordination policy. This policy establishes compliance date options for food labelling requirements at a 2 year interval, beginning on January 1, 2026.
Applying partial label changes – transition provisions
The transition provisions for the different components of the regulatory amendments are independent of one another. The components are:
- the front-of-package labelling requirements (nutrition symbol)
- nutrient content claims requirements
- vitamin D fortification requirements
- the labelling requirements for certain high intensity sweeteners (for example, phenylalanine statement for foods containing aspartame)
This means that implementation of any requirement within a component during the transition period will trigger implementation of all requirements within that component, but will not trigger the application of requirements in other components of the package.
As such, regulated parties can choose to comply with the requirements of one component before another, as long as they comply with all requirements of the package by the end of the transition period, December 31, 2025. Regulated parties that are compliant according to the former regulations will be able to continue using those labels, provided no change has been made to the product until the end of the transition period. This measure gives manufacturers flexibility in managing their label changes.
Phase I (July 20, 2022 to December 31, 2025)
The coming into force of these amendments marks the beginning of Phase I. CFIA's efforts will be directed towards education and compliance promotion with the new requirements.
Tools and training
In the fall of 2022, Health Canada developed the Front-of-package nutrition symbol labelling guide for industry (version 1) and delivered a webinar to explain the guidance to external stakeholders. The CFIA worked with Health Canada to incorporate industry feedback into an updated version of the guide (version 2), which was published in the spring of 2023. Health Canada and CFIA will continue to work on a final version of the guide to be published at the end of the transition period.
The CFIA will maintain guidance and tools that reflect the requirements under the former regulations until the end of transition. The CFIA will develop and deliver an information session to staff on the new regulatory requirements that will be paired with operational guidance documents.
Health Canada will respond to enquiries on the new requirements and their intent. These enquiries can be sent to email@example.com. The CFIA will address enquiries related to compliance and enforcement. These can be submitted to a CFIA local office.
Compliance and enforcement
CFIA will take an educational approach towards compliance, informing industry of the new requirements and where to find more information.
Phase II (from January 1, 2026)
Phase II will begin after the end of the transition period, from January 1, 2026.
Tools and training
Self-serve training and tools will be available to CFIA staff so they can respond to enquiries and carry out inspection activities. The CFIA Industry Labelling Tool will solely reflect the new requirements.
For all food labelling questions, including those related to the new requirements, the primary resource is the Industry Labelling Tool. Any additional questions related to food labelling regulatory requirements should be directed to AskCFIA while questions related to inspection tasks or on-going investigations and inspection decisions should be directed to a CFIA local office. Health Canada will continue to respond to enquiries about the intent of the new requirements.
Compliance and enforcement
CFIA inspection activities will monitor compliance with the new labelling requirements. All labels are expected to comply with the new regulations. Information presented in accordance with the former requirements will no longer be compliant. However, products imported, manufactured in Canada or packaged at retail before January 1, 2026 can remain in the warehouse and continue to be sold on store shelves.
Throughout both phases of the implementation plan, the CFIA may take action in cases of inaccurate, false or misleading labelling information and will address food safety issues related to the regulations in these regulatory amendments. Health Canada will conduct health risk assessments in support of CFIA's compliance activities and continue to provide guidance on the interpretation of these regulatory amendments.
- Summary of amendments published in Canada Gazette, Part II: Nutrition symbols, other labelling provisions, partially hydrogenated oils and vitamin D
- Front-of-package nutrition labelling
- Nutrition Labelling – Table of Permitted Nutrient Content Statements and Claims
- Nutrition Labelling – Directory of Nutrition Symbol Specifications
- Date modified: