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:

  • General prepackaged foods that meet or exceed 15% of the daily value of saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium;
  • Prepackaged foods with a small reference amount (i.e. serving size) that meet or exceed 10% of the daily value of saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium; and
  • Prepackaged main dishes with a reference amount greater than or equal to 200 grams that meet or exceed 30% of the daily value of saturated fat, sugars and/or sodium.

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:

  • Technical exemptions:
    • Foods that do not require a Nutrition Facts Table
    • Raw, single ingredient ground meats and poultry
    • Foods that are not sold directly to consumers
    • Foods in very small packages
  • Health-related exemptions:
    • Foods with a recognized health protection benefit such as fruits and vegetables that do not contain added sodium, sugars, or saturated fats
    • Foods that are a source of nutrients that are not readily available in other foods such as cheese and yogurt
    • Foods that are formulated to meet the needs of specific populations, such as rations for military personnel
  • Practical exemptions:
    • Foods on which a nutrition symbol would be redundant, such as sugar, honey, butter, or other fats and oils

The following foods are prohibited from displaying the FOP symbol:

  • Products intended solely for infants six months of age or older but less than one year of age;
  • Formulated liquid diets as defined in section B.24.001 of the Food and Drug Regulations;
  • Human milk fortifiers, milk substitutes, or foods represented as containing a human milk substitute;
  • Meal replacements;
  • Nutritional supplements; and
  • Foods represented for protein-restricted diets, low amino acid diets, or low energy diets.

For questions regarding regulatory law, including questions about front-of-package nutrition labelling regulations, please contact Gordon Jepson.

Summary By: Victoria Di Felice


22 07 27

Disclaimer: This Newsletter is intended to provide readers with general information on legal developments in the areas of e-commerce, information technology and intellectual property. It is not intended to be a complete statement of the law, nor is it intended to provide legal advice. No person should act or rely upon the information contained in this newsletter without seeking legal advice.

E-TIPS is a registered trade-mark of Deeth Williams Wall LLP.