Government of Canada finalizes changes to the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients on packaged foods

Dec 14, 2016
Health Canada

On October 24, 2016 the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, launched the Healthy Eating Strategy for Canada. One of the intended outcomes of the Healthy Eating Strategy is to help make the healthier food choice the easier choice. In order to help achieve this, final amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations - Nutrition Labelling, Other Labelling Provisions and Food Colours were published in Canada Gazette, Part II on December 14, 2016. 

Under Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations, most prepackaged foods must have a Nutrition Facts table in a consistent format, with regulated, science-based content. Nutrition Facts tables provide product-specific nutrient information to help consumers make informed food choices. 

Key changes to the Nutrition Facts table include:

  • a requirement to make serving size more consistent on similar foods so that consumers can easily compare products
  • a percent Daily Value (%DV) for sugars
  • a footnote that explains how to use the % DV
  • updated list of nutrients that must appear in the table 

The list of ingredients is another key piece of information on the food label that consumers often use to make informed food choices. The changes will help consumers find and read it on food packages more easily. 

Key changes to the list of ingredients include:

  • improved legibility for the list of ingredients and allergen information
  • grouping of sugars-based ingredients under the common name “sugars”
  • the declaration of food colours by their individual common names

The regulatory amendments provide a five-year transition period for industry to come into compliance with the new requirements. During this five year transition period, regulated parties are permitted to follow either the former or the new labelling requirements. 

In addition, these amendments introduce a new health claim that will make it easier to let Canadians know the health benefits of eating vegetables and fruit. The new health claim – ‘A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of heart disease’ - will now be allowed on vegetables and fruit as specified in the regulations. 

More information on the label changes can be found on the Health Canada website, and the full set of amendments can be found on the Canada Gazette website.