On February 10, 2018, Health Canada published proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette Part I that would make additional significant changes to food labelling in Canada (the Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Food and Drugs Act, see http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2018/2018-02-10/html/reg2-eng.html). These changes would introduce mandatory front-of-package labelling to many packaged foods in Canada, similar to the voluntary scheme used in the U.K. in recent years. The exact form and appearance of the front-of-package labels are yet to be decided; however it is clear that the nutrients that will have to be called out are sodium, saturated fats and sugars. The same proposal includes incidental amendments to tie in with previously announced changes prohibiting the sale of foods containing partially hydrogenated oils (effective in September of 2018) and changes to the level of vitamin D fortification in milk and margarine. Also proposed are changes to mandatory labelling for high-intensity sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, etc.
This is second major proposed change in Canadian food labelling in just over a year, the Safe Foods for Canadians Regulations having been published in the Gazette Part I in January 2017. Neither the 2016 or the new 2018 proposed regulations – both of which amend, primarily, the Food and Drug Regulations – has appeared in the Canada Gazette Part II, and therefore the actual implementation date remains speculative. However, it appears that the new proposals will move the date by which companies have to comply with both sets of new regulations back to December 14, 2022, allowing companies to have only one round of label amendments to be in full compliance.
Summary By: Gordon Jepson
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