Canadian vs United States Food Regulations: What’s the Difference?

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By: Joanna Chudyk, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, email

One of the most common questions we receive as Canadian regulatory consultants is whether a food product sold in the United States as food can still meet the definition of food when sold in Canada. Can I use my US labels in Canada? Will I need to reformulate to be sold in Canada? Can my product be sold under a different regulatory pathway other than food? These are all questions that Dell Tech’s consultants are ready to answer to help get your product into Canada.

Although we are neighboring countries, Canadian Food Regulations differ quite significantly from the United States. The most obvious difference is that food is regulated by completely separate governing agencies; the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Canada and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. Moreover, the variations in the established Acts and Regulations result in discrepancies in food ingredient acceptability. Ingredients approved under one jurisdiction are not necessarily acceptable in the other.

There are several examples of these inconsistencies, such as:

  1. Potassium bromate – this ingredient is banned in Canada but still used in the US
  2. Olestra – also known as Olean, is another ingredient acceptable in the US but prohibited in Canadian food products
  3. Flavouring agents – Canada has strict restrictions on the use of flavouring preparations whereas the US does not

Even if all of the ingredients in the US-based product are acceptable in Canada, there is still one more hurdle to overcome: a compliant label. The labeling regulations in both countries differ substantially – from the language requirements to the Nutrition Facts Table, making it impossible for US food products to use the same label in Canada.

Do you have a United States food product you would like to sell in Canada? Dell Tech can help by providing you with an in-depth regulatory assessment of your formula. Contact us today for a quote!

Dell Tech
Joanna Chudyk, M. Sc. 
Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the chemical specialty

industry in Canada, the USA, Europe, and Asia for the last 40 years.

Contact us today for more information.

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