Food Label Requirements Canada

 In Food Regulations, Regulatory Affairs


In Canada, food labelling regulations play a pivotal role in safeguarding public health and ensuring consumers have access to accurate information about the foods they purchase. These regulations are designed to provide Canadians with clear, consistent, and truthful information regarding the contents, nutritional value, and safety of food products.

Today’s article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the food labelling requirements in Canada, outlining key regulations, mandatory information, and labelling considerations for food manufacturers and distributors.

Regulatory Framework for Food Products in Canada

The regulatory framework governing food labelling in Canada is primarily established under the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations administered by Health Canada.

Food regulations are enforced to ensure that labels are truthful and not misleading, thereby protecting Canadians from deceptive practices and promoting informed food choices.

Additionally, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) plays a vital role in enforcing strict guidelines and ensuring compliance with federal regulations.

Required Information for Food Labels

Mandatory Components

Product Identity

Every food product sold in Canada must be clearly labeled with its proper name or common name, which accurately reflects the nature of the product. This helps Canadians identify and distinguish between different food items.

List of Ingredients

Food labels must include a complete list of ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight. This list enables consumers to make informed decisions regarding allergens, dietary preferences, and potential health concerns.

Nutrition Facts Table

One of the most crucial elements of food labelling in Canada is the Nutrition Facts table. This table provides information on the nutrient content of the product, including calories, macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, protein), vitamins, and minerals. The format and layout of the Nutrition Facts table are standardized to facilitate easy comprehension and comparison between products.

Allergen Information

Labelling food allergens is mandatory for products containing any priority allergens identified by Health Canada; these include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, sesame seeds, crustaceans and molluscs, fish, and sulphites. Manufacturers must clearly identify allergenic ingredients in the ingredient list through “Contains” and “May Contain” statements to alert consumers to the presence of potential allergens in the food product.

Date Marking

Prepackaged perishable foods with a shelf life of less than 90 days must be labeled with a “best before” date, indicating the date by which the product is expected to retain its quality and freshness. Expiration dates are required for select food categories only, including formulated liquid diets or meal This helps consumers determine the shelf life of the product and make informed decisions about its suitability for consumption.

Country of Origin

Certain foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats, are required to display the country of origin on their labels. This information assists Canadians in making choices based on factors such as food safety, quality, and environmental considerations.

Net Quantity Declaration

Food labels must accurately state the net quantity of the product in metric units (e.g., grams, milliliters) on the principal display panel to prevent deception regarding package contents.

Additional Labelling Considerations

In addition to the mandatory labelling requirements outlined above, food manufacturers and distributors in Canada should consider the following labelling aspects to ensure compliance and consumer transparency:

Health Claims and Nutrient Content Claims

Health claims and nutrient content claims refer to statements or symbols on food labels that suggest a relationship between a food or its constituents and health benefits. These claims must be supported by scientific evidence and approved by Health Canada before use on food labels.

Organic Certification

Products labeled as “organic” must comply with the Canadian Organic Standards and be certified by a recognized organic certification body. The organic logo may be displayed on the label to indicate compliance with organic regulations.

GMO Labelling

While Canada does not currently mandate the labelling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), voluntary labelling of GMO-containing foods is permitted. However, any GMO-related claims must be truthful and not misleading to consumers.

Halal and Kosher Certification

For Canadians who keep special diets, it is important that they can quickly identify identifiers like halal or kosher when they visit grocery stores. Certification symbols indicating compliance with halal or kosher dietary requirements may be displayed as part of a food product’s labelling information.

In Summary

Food labelling requirements in Canada are essential for protecting consumer interests, promoting informed food choices, and ensuring public health and safety.

By adhering to mandatory labelling regulations and considering additional labelling considerations, food manufacturers and distributors can enhance transparency, build consumer trust, and contribute to a healthier and more informed society.

Continued collaboration between regulatory authorities, industry stakeholders, and consumer advocacy groups is crucial for maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of food labelling regulations in Canada.

How Dell Tech Can Help with Food Label Requirements for Canada

Our team of Regulatory Specialists will assist your business by:

  • Product classification as conventional, novel or supplemented foods
  • Reviewing ingredient lists for acceptability by the Government of Canada
  • Providing guidance on consumer packaging and nutrition labelling
  • Assisting with regulatory requirements for imported goods
  • Liaison with Health Canada for registrations, recalls, etc.


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

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

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