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Questions and Answers - Guidelines for Highlighted Ingredients and Flavours

What are highlighted ingredients and flavours?

Highlighted ingredients and flavours are words, pictures or graphics, which emphasize a product's ingredients, components or flavour. These claims can be found on a food product's label or in advertisements.

For example, a product labelled as a "Cranberry and apple juice beverage" highlights the cranberry juice and apple juice ingredients in the food.

When clearly presented, highlighted ingredients and flavours can provide consumers with useful information and show positive features of a product.

The Guidelines for Highlighted Ingredients and Flavours provides information to industry when highlighting ingredients and flavours on food labels, to promote labelling that is truthful and not misleading.

Why did the CFIA create guidelines on highlighted ingredients and flavours?

Both consumers and industry have expressed concerns to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regarding false representation of highlighted ingredients and flavours on food labels.

Since 2003, the CFIA has conducted three stakeholder consultations, as well as focus group and telephone surveys to obtain more information on these concerns.

Based on these comments, the CFIA drafted the Guidelines on Highlighted Ingredients and Flavours to provide further guidance to industry and clarify existing requirements.

What was the process by which these guidelines were developed?

The Guidelines are based on three extensive stakeholder consultations, numerous CFIA-industry association bilateral meetings, internal consultations, international research, and three public opinion research studies.

Why are the guidelines being finalized now?

Industry associations have recently expressed renewed interest in finalizing and posting the updated Guidelines. Posting the Guidelines will promote truthful labelling, compliance and consistent assessment of claims.

When will these Guidelines be implemented?

Currently, Highlighted Ingredient Claims states that it is misleading to over-emphasize the importance, presence or absence of an ingredient or substance in a food because of its desirable or undesirable qualities, or for any other reason.

This guidance also includes information on the use of certain ingredient names (butter, cream and malt) to describe characteristics of foods.

The draft of the Guidelines has been shared with regulated parties.

This consultation is now closed. Comments will be reviewed, after which time the guidelines will be finalized.

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