On July 20, 2022, Health Canada published long-expected amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations in the Canada Gazette Part II. The amendments add a new requirement for front-of-package (FOP) nutrition symbol labelling for most prepackaged foods that are high in saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium. The new labelling requirements come into force immediately, on July 20, 2022; however, the food industry has been given a transitional period of until December 21, 2025, to meet the new requirements.
The system is partly inspired by U.K. front-of-package requirements which have been in force for nearly 15 years.
The FOP nutrition symbol will have to appear on the label of most prepackaged foods that meet or exceed certain daily value levels of sodium, sugars, and/or saturated fat. Other nutrients or ingredients are not included. A summary of the key elements of these amendments are outlined below.
Foods that will Require a Front-of-Package Nutrition Symbol
A FOP nutrition symbol must appear on the label of:
Front-of-Package Nutrition Symbol Requirements
Prepackaged foods must contain a FOP symbol in black and white. The symbol has a magnifying glass that highlights what the food is high in (i.e. sodium, sugars and/or saturated fat). The words “Health Canada/Santé Canada” must appear at the bottom of the symbol. In addition, there are specific requirements for the symbol’s size, location, and language. The size of the package determines the size of the symbol, the symbol must be placed on the front upper right half of the label for most package shapes and the writing must be in both English and French (as shown below). Alternatively, food manufacturers can include two separate symbols, one in English and one in French.
Front-of-Package Nutrition Labelling Restrictions
Health Canada prohibits and exempts certain foods from the requirement to display a FOP nutrition symbol. The symbol may still be voluntarily displayed on foods that have an exemption.
There are three different types of exemptions:
The following foods are prohibited from displaying the FOP symbol:
For questions regarding regulatory law, including questions about front-of-package nutrition labelling regulations, please contact Gordon Jepson.
Summary By: Victoria Di Felice
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