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Nutrition labelling compliance test
Appendix 4 - Laboratory issues

Methods of analysis

CFIA conducts laboratory tests to verify the accuracy of nutrition information. Methods of analysis currently used by the CFIA appear in the table below. The CFIA does not require other laboratories to use these methods.

It is recommended that manufacturers rely on laboratory testing to verify their own label declarations. The methods of analysis recommended are those published in the most recent version of the Official methods of analysis of AOAC International wherever possible. Other collaboratively studied methods such as those published by the American Oil Chemists' Society, American Association of Cereal Chemists, ISO, etc. would also be considered appropriate. In house or journal methods with adequate method validation data are another possible option for method selection. Methods should be validated for the food matrix being analyzed.

Laboratory accreditation

Laboratories in Canada are accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) and not by CFIA. Accredited laboratories will have a list of methods as part of their scope of accreditation. These methods are those considered by SCC and CALA during the accreditation process. When choosing accredited laboratories, the tests provided should be contained in their scope of accreditation. Laboratories should also strive to subscribe to proficiency testing schemes for each method listed in their scope.

Choice of laboratory

CFIA recommends the selection of laboratories that are accredited to ISO 17025 standards by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA). CFIA cannot impose the use of only SCC accredited labs but recommends them as a first choice. ISO 17025 accredited laboratories from other countries would also be recommended. Company quality assurance laboratories using validated methods can also be used.

A list of accredited laboratories can be accessed through the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) web sites.

Table: Methods of analysis used by CFIA - Nutrition Facts table information

Nutrient Table note t Analytical method Table note u Technique

LCAQ-040: Energy content

Reference: Atwater Factors

Application of appropriate factors to fat, protein, fibre and carbohydrate (may be adjusted for sugar alcohols and polydextrose)

LCAQ-034: Determination of fatty acids in foods by gas chromatography

Reference: AOAC 996.06 Table note v

Gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (GC-FID)

Fatty acids:

Omega-3 polyunsaturated
Omega-6 polyunsaturated

LCAQ-034: Determination of fatty acids in foods by gas chromatography

Reference: AOAC 996.06 Table note v


LCAQ-035: Analysis of cholesterol in foods by gas chromatography

Reference: AOAC 994.10 Table note v


LCAQ-040: Determination of carbohydrates by difference

Carbohydrate = Total solids - (ash + protein + fat)

Carbohydrate by difference
Fibre AOAC 2017.16 Table note v: Total dietary fibre in foods Enzymatic - gravimetric / high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
Sugars LCAQ-123: Determination of 12 sugars in various foodstuffs by HPLC-RID HPLC with refractive index detector

LCAQ-098: Determination of protein in foods by combustion - Dumas principle

Reference: ISO 14891 - Determination of nitrogen content using the Dumas principle

Combustion instrument
Vitamin A

LCAQ-002: Determination of vitamin A in foods by HPLC

Reference: AOAC 992.04 Table note v

Normal phase HPLC with diode-array detector (DAD)
LCAQ-097: HPLC determination of beta-carotene Reversed phase

LCAQ-110: Determination of vitamin A in milk by HPLC

Reference: AOAC 2002.06 Table note v

Normal phase
Vitamin C

LCAQ-001: Determination of vitamin C in foods by HPLC

Reference: Hidiroglou, N., R. Madere, and W. Behrens. Electrochemical determination of ascorbic acid and isoascorbic acid in ground meat and in processed foods by high pressure liquid chromatography, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 1998, 11, 89-96

HPLC with electrochemical detector
Vitamin D

LCAQ-112: Analysis of vitamin D in foods by UHPLC-MS/MS

Reference: AOAC 2011.11 Table note v

Reversed phase ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) with triple quadruple (QQQ) mass spectrometer (MS/MS)
Vitamin E

LCAQ-094: Determination of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) in foods by HPLC

Reference: Determination of vitamins A (retinol) and E (alpha-tocopherol) in foods by liquid chromatography, Journal of AOAC International, 2002, Vol. 85, No. 2

Reversed phase
HPLC with fluorescence detection

Mineral nutrients:


LCAQ-102: Determination of minerals in food by ICP-MS

Reference 1: Wu, S., Feng, X., and Wittmeir, A. Microwave digestion of plant and grain reference materials in nitric acid or a mixture of nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide for the determination of multi-elements by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 1997, 12:797-806

Reference 2: Dolan, S.P. and Capar, Stephen G. Multi-element analysis of food by microwave digestion and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 2002, 15:593-615

Microwave digestion / inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry
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