- How RCC helped develop Health Canada’s new healthy eating labelLast month, Health Canada revealed a new front-of-pack food labeling system that features a magnifying glass icon directing … Continued
- Health Canada releases supplemented foods guidelinesFinal regulations for Supplemented Foods were recently released along with guidance materials for industry. Supplemented Foods are products … Continued
- RCC’s involvement in Health Canada’s new front-of-package nutrition symbolFinal regulations for Front-of-Package Nutrition Labelling were released last week, along with draft Guidance materials for industry. The … Continued
The importance of food product labelling
Canada’s rules for food and beverage labelling and complex and constantly evolving. Knowing the various federal and provincial requirements are essential for retailers, especially private label brand owners.
RCC advocates for rules that make labels clear and easy to understand for consumers and cost-effective to implement for retailers. We also provide information and tools to support compliance and help retailers prepare for future changes.
Advocating for retailers
Predictability and modernization for labelling changes
RCC has been advocating for clarity on the implementation dates for pending food label changes and was successful in convincing the government that there should be a predictable schedule for food label changes.
The Government of Canada has also agreed to RCC’s requests to:
- Not move forward with the front-of-pack food labelling at this time;
- Focus efforts on education and compliance promotion, rather than traditional enforcement, for the first year of the new Nutrition Facts Table requirements from December 2021 to December 2022; and
- Formalize their agreement in principle to RCC’s request for a predictable cadence and grouping of future regulatory changes to food labels.
RCC continues to advocate on behalf of our members during the COVID-19 crisis to avoid discretionary labelling regulatory initiatives so that retailers in Canada can focus on recovery. Read letter to Health Canada.
Clear standards for products claiming to be made in Canada
Consumers want to know whether the products their purchasing are made or prepared in Canada, but the current rules don’t reflect industry realities and don’t give Canadians the correct information. RCC is advocating for changes to the current outdated rules and is pleased that CFIA has agreed with our recommendation to lower the threshold to 85% for a ‘Made in Canada’ claim on Canadian products. The rules for what can be labelled “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada,” and CFIA’s 85% proposal are currently being reviewed by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.
Quebec regulation respecting the indication of the origin of fresh fruits and vegetables
When fresh fruits or vegetables that can grow in Québec are sold in bulk at retail stores, the location of origin must be visible near the fruits or vegetables so that there is no uncertainty as to where the fruits or vegetables originated. Quebec is the only jurisdiction to define the presentation criteria for fresh fruit and vegetables within retail settings.
RCC and retailers are happy to promote foods produced in Quebec and do not want any fraudulent or misleading labels, but the regulation and its application guide do not have the flexibility necessary to be realistically applicable for most retailers. For example, it’s difficult to 100% eliminate the possibility that some produce from another jurisdiction might accidentally roll into a nearby display or be moved by shoppers, and retailers could theoretically be fined in these scenarios. RCC is proposing a regulatory review and an adjustment of the wording that will allow retailers to follow this guideline, but in a way that is realistically applicable.
Limiting food fraud
Food fraud is a growing concern globally. RCC is working with government and partners to ensure that the foods and beverages that Canadians purchase are always labelled clearly and accurately.
The Minister of Health’s mandate letter included a commitment to create a “Boat-to-Plate” traceability program to minimize food fraud in Canadian seafood products. RCC is working with CFIA as they work to initiate a new system, as indicated in the departments 2020-2021 – Departmental Plan.
RCC also works closely with CFIA and its “External Food Fraud Working Group” to establish a united approach in the area of food fraud.
Tools and resources to help retailers comply with food labelling requirements
The Government of Canada regulates the labelling of food products, including nutritional information, food allergens, and health claims. RCC continues to encourage government to develop clear guidance tools and is available to answer retailer questions. .The following government resources provide further information on the requirements:
Ontario food labelling guide
Food retailers in Ontario may be required to post calorie counts for some items in store. Learn about menu labelling in Ontario, and find resources to help your business comply with the requirements.
Contact Jason McLinton, Vice-President, Grocery Division and Regulatory Affairs firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on:
- Joining RCC’s national Food Safety and Nutrition Committee.
- Individual help on compliance programs including written preventive control plans that comply with the regulations. (Service offered to RCC members only.)