Labelling requirements for sweeteners and foods that contain sweeteners
Additional information about sweeteners
The majority of sweeteners are non-nutritive sweeteners, with a few exceptions (for example sugar alcohols and polydextrose). For more information about sweeteners that provide calories, see Elements within the Nutrition Facts table.
Non-nutritive sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-potassium, neotame, stevia, cyclamate and saccharin, do not provide calories on their own. When these sweeteners are added to foods, they may however contain calories from other ingredients or components that are added to the food with them, such as carriers. It is therefore the responsibility of the manufacturer account for this when developing nutrition labels.
Steviol glycosides labelling requirements
There are no additional labelling requirements for steviol glycosides when used as a food additive. The labelling requirements for steviol glycosides are the same as those applicable to all prepackaged products and ingredients. Additional labelling requirements only occur when steviol glycosides are used in combination with other sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-potassium and neotame [B.01.014, B.01.016, B.01.019, B.01.022, FDR].
Saccharin as a food additive
An amendment to the FDR came into force on May 4, 2016, introducing new use for saccharin as food additive in table-top sweeteners. As part of this amendment, a one year transitional period allows time for saccharin sweeteners that were sold prior these amendments to become compliant with the new labelling and advertising requirements. As of May 4, 2016, only the new rules of use and label of saccharin will be allowed.
Saccharin and its salts (calcium saccharin, potassium saccharin and sodium saccharin) are part of Health Canada's List of permitted sweeteners. This enables the use of saccharin and/or its salts as sweeteners in: breath fresheners, unstandardized canned fruit, chewing gum, unstandardized frozen desserts, toppings/topping mixes, unstandardized alcoholic liqueurs, unstandardized carbonated non-alcoholic beverages, unstandardized fruit spreads, preoperative beverages and table-top sweeteners. Like all other food additives, when used as permitted, saccharin and/or its salts are required to be shown in the list of ingredients on pre-packaged foods. For more details, refer to Health Canada's Notice of modification to the List of permitted sweeteners to enable the use of saccharin, calcium saccharin, potassium saccharin and sodium saccharin as sweeteners in various unstandardized foods.
Monk fruit ingredients
Monk fruit extract is included in Health Canada's list of permitted sweeteners with authorized use in table-top sweetenersFootnote 1 only. The mandatory labelling requirements applicable are those for all sweeteners.
In contrast, other monk fruit ingredients such as monk fruit juice concentrate are not considered as sweeteners, but are considered as acceptable food ingredients because of their lower mogroside V content. Monk fruit ingredients added to food products following good manufacturing practice must be labelled appropriately. See list of ingredients for details.
Cyclamate as non-food product
Cyclamate is only permitted as non-food product under specific conditions.
As per Part E of the FDR, cyclamate sweeteners are not permitted to be used in foods. These sweeteners are subject to Part E of the FDR, which thereby excludes them from the requirements of Part B of the FDR [E.01.001, FDR].
Cyclamate sweeteners as non-food products are only allowed to be sold for direct consumer use when they meet the following conditions [E.01.002, FDR]:
- No person shall sell cyclamate sweeteners that are not labelled as required by this Part.
- No person shall, in advertising a cyclamate sweetener to the general public, make any representation other than with respect to the name, price and quantity of the sweetener [E.01.003, FDR].
The label of cyclamate sweeteners that meet the specifications above must additionally carry:
- a list of ingredients [E.01.005(b), FDR]
- the quantity of each of the following in the sweetener:
- cyclohexyl sulfamic acid
- a salt of cyclohexyl sulfamic acid
- carbohydrates where present [E.01.005(b), FDR]
- the energy value expressed in Calories per teaspoon, drop, tablet or other measure used in the directions for use and per 100 grams or millilitres of the sweetenerFootnote 2 [E.01.005(a), FDR]
- the following cautionary statement:
a statement that the sweetener should be used only on the advice of a physician [E.01.004, FDR]
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