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GOVERNMENT OF CANADA NEW FOOD LABELING GUIDLINES NOW LAW

January 3, 2009
Canada's new "Guide to Food Labeling and Advertising" became law January 1, 2009. The new rules for food producers and suppliers are going to make food labeling in Canada more truthful. Hat's off to our Federal Government for this one.

HERE ARE THE NEW NEW RULES:

PRODUCT OF CANADA, MADE IN CANADA
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The following guidelines were developed to reflect consumer and industry expectations about what constitutes a Canadian product. The objectives of the guidelines are to promote compliance with subsection 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act and subsection 7(1) of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act by providing truthful and not misleading claims that are clear, simple and transparent. The use of these claims is voluntary, however, when applied they will be assessed based on the criteria that follow.

PRODUCT OF CANADA

A food product may claim Product of Canada when all or virtually all major ingredients, processing, and labour used to make the food product are Canadian. This means that all significant ingredients are Canadian and non-Canadian material must be negligible. Ingredients that are present in a food at very low levels and that are not generally produced in Canada, including spices, food additives, vitamins, minerals, and flavouring preparations, may be used without disqualifying the food from making a Product of Canada claim. Ingredients in a food that are not grown in Canada, such as oranges, cane sugar or coffee, when present at very low levels, may be considered minor ingredients. Generally, the percentage referred to as very little or minor is considered to be less than a total of 2 per cent of the product.

For example: a cookie that is manufactured in Canada from oatmeal, flour, butter, honey and milk from Canada, and vanilla may use the Product of Canada claim, even if the vitamins in the flour and the vanilla were not from Canada.

MADE IN CANADA WITH A QUALIFYING STATEMENT

A qualified Made in Canada claim could be applied to a label or advertisement when the last substantial transformation of the product occurred in Canada, even if some ingredients are sourced from other countries. When a food undergoes processing which changes its nature such that the food becomes a new product bearing a new name by which the food is generally known by the consumer, it is considered to have undergone substantial transformation. Those processes which result in a substantial transformation may be outlined in more specific legislation, such as the Meat Inspection Regulations.

When a food contains ingredients which are sourced from outside of Canada, the label would state "Made in Canada from imported ingredients." When a food contains both domestic and imported ingredients, the label would state "Made in Canada from domestic and imported ingredients."

For example, a cookie manufactured in Canada from imported flour, oatmeal, shortening and sugar may be labelled or advertised with the claim "Made in Canada from imported ingredients". A cookie manufactured in Canada using Canadian flour, oatmeal and shortening and imported sugar may use the claim "Made in Canada from domestic and imported ingredients".

OTHER CLAIMS

The use of Product of Canada and the qualified Made in Canada claims are encouraged to ensure clarity for the consumer and to enhance their ability to identify Canadian made foods. Other more specific statements or claims, including "Prepared in Canada", "Processed in Canada", and "Refined in Canada" that describe the Canadian value added may be used without further qualification, provided they are truthful and not misleading for consumers.

For example:

- "roasted and blended in Canada" to describe coffee since the coffee beans are always imported;
- "packaged in Canada" to describe a food which is imported in bulk and packaged in Canada;
- "distilled in Canada" to describe an imported product that underwent distillation in Canada;
- "canned in Canada" to describe the process that an imported product incurred in Canada.

For a look at the full "Composition, Quality, Quantity and Origin Claims" rules follow this link to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (www.inspection.gc.ca) web site.

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