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Definitions: nutrient content claims

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Combination foods
"Combination foods" means the category of food to which belong foods that contain as ingredients foods from more than 1 food group, or foods from 1 or more food groups mixed with foods from the category of "other foods". Some examples include pizza (bread-type crust, vegetables, meat and cheese), lasagna (pasta, vegetables and cheese) and a prepared garlic bread (bread, butter and garlic) [B.01.500, FDR].
Food group
"Food group" means one of the 4 following categories of foods [B.01.500, FDR]:
  • milk products, and milk product alternatives such as fortified plant-based beverages
  • meat, poultry and fish, and alternatives such as legumes, eggs, tofu and peanut butter
  • bread and grain products, and
  • vegetables and fruit

These groups are similar to the 4 food groups presented in Canada's food guide to healthy eating.

For foods that do not fall within any of the 4 categories above, see Other foods.

Health-related representation
For the purposes of front-of-package (FOP) nutrition symbol labelling, a "health-related representation" means [B.01.357(3), FDR]:
  • a declaration referred to in subsection B.01.301(1) or (2) (a quantitative declaration outside the Nutrition Facts table)
  • a statement or claim referred to in subsection B.01.311(2) or (3) (a nutrient function claim)
  • a representation referred to in any of sections B.01.503 to B.01.513 (a nutrient content claim)
  • a statement or claim referred to in subsection B.01.601(1) (a health claim), or
  • any other health-related statement, logo, symbol, seal of approval or mark, except
    • the brand name or product name of a prepackaged product, or
    • a statement or claim referred to in any of sections D.01.004 to D.01.007 and D.02.002 to D.02.005 (statements and claims referring to the vitamin or mineral nutrient content)
Manufacturer or distributor
"Manufacturer" or "distributor" means a person or persons, including an association or partnership, who under their own name, or under a trade-, design or word mark, trade name or other name, word or mark controlled by them, sell a food or drug [A.01.010, FDR]. This includes importers or retailers who control the food in question.
Nutrients include carbohydrate, protein, fat, fatty acids, sugars and the vitamins and minerals listed in Part D of the Food and Drug Regulations. Additionally, substances recognized as nutrients by the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Washington, D.C. are considered nutrients. Other food components, such a lycopene, lutein, anthocyanins and other compounds found in foods are not considered nutrients for labelling purposes.
Nutrition symbol
"Nutrition symbol" means a symbol that is carried on the principal display panel of a prepackaged product under subsection B.01.350(1) [B.01.001(1), FDR].
Other foods
"Other foods" means foods that are not part of any food group, including [B.01.500, FDR]:
  • foods that are mostly fats and oils, such as butter, margarine, cooking oils and lard
  • foods that are mostly sugars, such as jam, honey, syrup and candies
  • snack foods, such as potato chips and pretzels
  • beverages, such as water, tea, coffee, alcohol and soft drinks, and
  • herbs, spices and condiments, such as pickles, mustard and ketchup
Reference food of the same food group
"Reference food of the same food group" means a food which can be substituted in the diet for the food to which it is compared and that belongs to [B.01.500, FDR]:
  • the same food group as the food to which it is compared, for example, cheese as a reference food for milk, or chicken as a reference food for tofu
  • the category of "other foods", if the food to which it is compared also belongs to that category, for example, pretzels as a reference food for potato chips, or
  • the category of "combination foods", if the food to which it is compared also belongs to that category, for example, pizza as a reference food for lasagna

These reference foods in the same food group do not have to be similar; they are used to make comparative claims, such as "lower in energy", "lower in fat", or "lower in saturated fatty acids". A comparative claim might state, for example, that "our pretzels contain 90% less fat than our regular potato chips."

Similar reference food

"Similar reference food" means a food of the same type as the food to which it is compared and that has not been processed, formulated, reformulated or otherwise modified in a manner that increases or decreases either the energy value or the amount of a nutrient that is the subject of the comparison. For example, whole milk is a similar reference food for partly skimmed milk; regular cola is a similar reference food for calorie-reduced cola; regular chocolate chip cookies are a similar reference food for fat-reduced chocolate chip cookies [B.01.500, FDR].

Similar reference foods are useful for comparing a "regular" product with a product that has had its nutritional content intentionally increased or decreased, for example, "more energy", "more protein", "more fibre", "reduced in energy" and "reduced in sugars". For example, the fat content of skim milk, which has had most of the fat removed, can be compared to the fat content of whole milk.

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