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Labelling requirements for foods for special dietary use
Other foods for special dietary use

Sports nutrition products

Sports nutrition products include but are not limited to protein and/or carbohydrate-based products, meal replacements and nutritional supplements, beverages, foods that contain natural health products, foods that are labelled or advertised with drug claims, and weight loss products marketed for quick weight loss or muscle definition. These products often have label claims related to increasing endurance, tolerance to fatigue or exercise (reducing exertion), muscle building or other metabolic effects beyond those that can be normally expected from nutrition. These statements may be considered to be claims that bring the product under the definition of a drug. See below. Refer to Foods or natural health products (NHP) and Drugs vs. foods for more information on health products and drugs respectively.

Common violations

The status of a product is based on its composition as well as the claims made for it. According to the FDA, "a drug includes any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in

  • (a) the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder, abnormal physical state, or its symptoms, in human beings or animals;
  • (b) restoring, correcting, or modifying organic functions in human beings or animals; or
  • (c) disinfection in premises in which food is manufactured, prepared or kept."

A product is classified as a drug if the ingredients present have recognized pharmacological activities or if the above types of claims are made. Drug products in Canada must have a drug identification number issued by Health Canada. Health claims, such as metabolic claims, that is, claims as to what the food will do after it is ingested (such as, for big muscles, for quick weight loss) are not permitted.

Common food violations include:

  • the use of non-permitted ingredients
  • non-permitted addition of vitamins and minerals
  • non-permitted representation of food products for weight loss (B.24.003 of the FDR)
  • non-permitted claims including performance-enhancement claims and/or metabolic claims that fall into the meaning of parts (a) or (b) of the definition of a drug (see above), and claims that may be considered misleading to the consumer
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