On Friday, November 27, 2020, following ongoing recommendations by Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced they will no longer be moving forward with their Food Labeling Modernization (FLM) initiative as it was known, but instead will now move forward with a Food Product Innovation (FPI) initiative.
FPI is essentially a stripped-down version of FLM with no mandatory label changes. All proposed changes will either be repealing current regulatory requirements or moving certain items to “incorporation by reference” (IBR). Specifically, CFIA is planning to:
- Repeal of some standard container sizes
- Incorporation by reference of remaining standard container sizes
- Incorporation by reference of class names
- Updated definition of test market food
- Harmonized and streamlined food commodity-specific labelling requirements
CFIA anticipates final amendments will be published next fall. And because there are no mandatory label changes, there is no ‘coming into force date’ planned.
Over the past few months RCC was in discussions with CFIA about FLM, specifically in the context of COVID-19, and how finalizing these regulations would impact the retail industry. In light of the ongoing pandemic and other regulatory packages impacting food labels, RCC made the recommendation for CFIA to hold off on any mandatory label changes within FLM to help support retailers during this difficult time.
CFIA is not planning any further consultations. RCC will continue to liaise with CFIA and provide advance notice to RCC members of timing and content of any future related regulatory changes that will impact labels.