Requirements for making a nutrient content claim
All aspects of food labels and advertisements are considered in the overall impression attributed to food products. Nutrient content claims that appear on food labels or advertisements contribute toward this overall impression. For this reason, nutrient content claims must comply with the general principles for labelling and advertising.
The Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) generally prohibit, in labelling or advertising, express or implied representations that characterize the energy value of a food or the amount of nutrient contained in the food (that is to say, it is not permissible to make a nutrient content claim) [B.01.502(1), FDR]. However, these regulations also provide the following exceptions to this overall rule:
The table following section B.01.513 sets out specific claims that are permitted provided the corresponding conditions are met [B.01.503, FDR]. More information on these claims can be found in Making a nutrient content claim and Specific nutrient content claim requirements.
Permitted nutrient content claims with respect to vitamins and minerals are regulated by Part D of the FDR and are not covered in the table following B.01.513. For more information on the conditions for making these claims, please refer to Vitamin and mineral nutrient claims.
Some quantitative declarations outside the Nutrition Facts table are permitted, with certain associated conditions [B.01.301, FDR]. Further information is available in the appropriate section.
Statements with respect to proteins may also be permitted provided the food meets certain conditions [B.01.305, FDR]. Please refer to Protein claims for further information.
Other cases in which nutrient content claims may be permissible are:
- representations for which there are provisions in the FDR, such as prescribed common names like "unsweetened chocolate" or "mineral water" and prescribed statements like "X% meat protein" on meats with added phosphates [B.01.502(2)(a), FDR]
- statements required by section 273 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) (for example, "packed in light syrup" on canned fruit) [B.01.502(2)(b), FDR]
- statements required by Column 1 of Table 2: Standards for Specific Edible Meat Products, Canadian Standards of Identity, Volume 7 - Meat Products (for example, "extra lean ground beef", "lean ground pork") [B.01.502(2)(c), FDR]
- statements that characterize the amount of lactose in a food (for example, "lactose-free" when lactose is non-detectable in the food) [B.01.502(2)(d), FDR]. Please refer to "Lactose-free" claims under Negative claims pertaining to the absence or non-addition of a substance for more information
- statements regarding the addition of salt or sugars to a food (for example, "salted nuts", "sweetened", "X% sugar added", "dextrose or glucose added") other than any statement or claim set out in column 4 of the table following section B.01.513, FDR [B.01.502(2)(e) and (f), FDR]
- a representation that characterizes the amount of starch in a food intended solely for children under 2 years of age. Refer to Nutrient content claims on food intended solely for children under 2 years of age [B.01.502(2)(g), FDR]
- some established common names such as "defatted soybeans", "high fructose corn syrup" and "demineralized water" [B.01.502(2)(h), FDR]
- a representation that characterizes the amount of fatty acid in a vegetable oil and forms part of its common name (for example, "high oleic sunflower oil") [B.01.502(2)(i), FDR]
- statements that characterize the percentage alcohol in a beverage if it contains more than 0.5% alcohol (for example, "14% alcohol by volume") [B.01.502(2)(j), FDR]
- the term "light salted fish" [B.01.502(2)(k), FDR], and
- the term "lean" (in English only) when related to a prepackaged meal for use in weight-reduction or weight-maintenance diets [B.01.502(2)(l), FDR]
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