On December 14th, 2016 Health Canada published final regulatory amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations in Canada Gazette, Part II which include amendments reflecting industry’s requests. The regulatory amendments will come into force immediately and there will be a transition period of 5 years from the date of this publication to enable compliance. By December 14, 2021, all regulatory amendments will be required, including the use of the new Nutrition Facts Table format when one is presented.
Key changes in the new regulations for the produce industry include:
- The exemption from the requirement for a Nutrition Facts Table (NFt) on packages of fresh fruits and vegetables, without added ingredients, when a permitted health or nutrient content claim is made; however voluntary declaration of a Canadian formatted NFt is still allowed. Current allowable health and nutrient content claims for fresh fruits and vegetables which no longer require a Nutrition Facts Table (NFt) can be found at:
- The addition of the following health claim for qualifying fruits and vegetables: "A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of heart disease."
- Under the new regulations, all qualifying fresh fruit and vegetables, without added ingredients, can use the above claim on packaging or in advertisements without triggering any accompanying nutrition information. However, if an NFt is voluntarily provided on a package with this claim, it must follow the requirements for the new format set out in the new regulations. In this case, the use of the new health claim would be the trigger for use of all new labelling requirements. (See ‘Food Labelling Changes’ link below for more information)
- When a new NFt is presented, there are changes in the required core nutrients, changes in daily values for some nutrients, a % Daily Value (%DV) for sugars, table format changes and a footnote that explains how to use % DV. (See Food Labelling Changes link below for more information)
- Changes in the format and legibility for the list of ingredients for multiple ingredient products (See Food Labelling Changes link below for more information)
Important to note: During the five year transition period beginning on December 14, 2016, manufacturers must comply with either the former or the new labelling requirements. Manufacturers are not permitted to partially comply with both sets of labelling requirements. If a manufacturer chooses to implement one or more of the new labelling requirements, it is their responsibility to ensure that all new labelling requirements are followed as well.*
Note: It is currently being proposed that the transition period be extended to December 14, 2022. Additional information will be provided at a later date.*