Making a nutrient content claim on food labels
Information triggered by making a claim
In some cases, nutrient content claims are found on foods that hold exemptions or prohibitions from showing a Nutrition Facts table. Making a claim on these products triggers certain labelling requirements:
Products not required to show the nutrition facts table
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. However, if a claim is made by or for the manufacturer for a prepackaged product with a nutrition labelling exemption, it nullifies the exemption and triggers the requirement to show a Nutrition Facts table [B.01.401(3)(e), B.01.402(4), FDR].
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 that is the subject of the claim, in the Nutrition Facts table, as applicable [B.01.402(4)]; and
- the food must meet all of the applicable labelling and compositional conditions associated with that claim (see Specific Nutrient Content Claim Requirements). 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 nuts*;
- 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 foods that are always exempt from carrying a Nutrition Facts table, such as:
- a fresh vegetable or fruit or any combination of fresh vegetables or fruits without any added ingredients, an orange with added food colour or a fresh vegetable or fruit coated with mineral oil, paraffin wax, petrolatum or any other protective coating [B.01.401(2)(c), B.01.503(2.1), D.01.004(1.1), D.02.002(1.1), FDR],
- prepackaged individual portions of food solely intended to be sold with meals or snacks by restaurants or other commercial enterprises [B.01.401(2)(c)(ii), FDR],
- a variety of milks and goat milks packaged in glass bottles [B.01.401(2)(c)(iii), FDR], or
- prepackaged foods with an ADS of less than 15 cm2 (e.g., one-bite confections) [B.01.469, FDR].
However, in the first two cases above marked with an asterisk (*), a quantitative 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), FDR].
Claims made on labels of small packages
Foods with an available display surface (ADS) 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.
However, when the labels on foods with an ADS of less than 100 cm2 carry a nutrient content claim, statement or representation, the labels must display a Nutrition Facts table, and they no longer qualify to use a toll free telephone number or postal address.
In these cases, the options for smaller packages in the Nutrition Fact Table Formats section will apply, including the specific alternate methods of presentation listed in B.01.466(1) of the FDR: 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.
Despite this requirement, sugar-free products sold in packages with an ADS of less than 100 cm2 will not lose their ability to include a toll-free number or postal address in place of a NFt even when they contain added sweeteners given certain conditions are met [B.01.467(2.1), FDR]. For more information and the list of conditions, refer to the Never Losing the < 100 cm2 ADS Exemption section.
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), FDR]. For a complete list of these foods, please refer to the Prohibitions section.
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, FDR]. 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 the Table of Reference Amounts for Food.
For further details, refer to Information Triggered by Quantitative Statements.
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