Food & Agro-industriesFormulationQualityTechnical data sheets

Guide to calculating Canadian Nutrition Facts for your labels

By 1 February 2021February 16th, 2021No Comments

In December 2016 the Canadian government announced an update to its Food and Drug Regulations by changing notably certain terms and conditions on the nutritional labeling of foods. The objective is yet again to combat food-related pathologies by making nutritional information clearer to allow informed consumer choices, and by updating it with the latest scientific studies.

In beCPG, the Canadian Nutrition Facts are available in their old and new formats. Manufacturers have until December 2021 to update their labels to the Canadian market, although a delay until December 2022 is being considered1.

The US Nutrition Facts are also available on beCPG. To read our article on the Evolution of Nutrition Facts in the US, click here.

What changes on your labels?

The points affected by the changes are as follows:

  • Serving sizes shown should be realistic and consistent for comparing similar foods, based on reference amounts updated by food group2 ;
  • Change in calories formatting (enlarged font size, underlined with a thick line) ;
  • Update of the daily values3 of nutrient requirements (equivalent to our European Reference Intakes) ;
  • Addition of the % of Total Sugars daily value
  • Removal of vitamins A and C, sufficiently consumed in Canada ;
  • Addition of potassium, too little consumed in Canada ;
  • Addition of the amounts in mg for micro-nutrients ;
  • Addition of a footnote explaining that 5% or less is a little, and 15% or more is a lot.
Comparison between the original and new Canadian Nutrition Facts

Generation of Canadian Nutrition Facts in beCPG

From the product area on a collaborative site, select a finished product. Then select the “Technical sheet” list, and click on the cog located in the options strip.

Select the language (English-Canada or French-Canada), in order to generate the Canadian Nutrition Facts. Canada being a bilingual country, you have the choice to highlight either English or French in your nutritional labeling (both being required on the Nutrition Facts).

BeCPG generates the Nutrition Facts by default in their new format. However, you can choose the old format by selecting “Show old nutrition facts CA”.

Create a new data sheet from the create button and you will now have the Canadian Nutrition Facts in their old format.

What information for the Canadian Nutrition Facts?

The Canadians Nutrition Facts are different from the United States Nutrition Facts and do not have the same mandatory list of nutrients as the European nutritional labeling.

In order to generate compliant Canadian Nutrition Facts, it is necessary that the following information be present in your entities’ “Nutrients” list (Raw material, semi-finished, finished product).

The comparative table below summarizes the mandatory and optional nutrients required for Canada, the US and the European Union:

Old Canadian Nutrition Facts (CanadaNew Canadian Nutrition FactsNew US Nutrition FactsEuropean Legislation
Energy in kcal (Canada/US calculation)YESYESYESYES (in kcal or kJ, EU calculation)
Fat (Lipids)YESYESYESYES
Saturated fatYESYESYESYES
Trans fatYESYESYES
CarbohydratesYESYESYESYES
Dietary fibersYESYESYESoptional
SugarsYESYESYESYES
Added sugarsYES
ProteinsYESYESYESYES
CholesterolYESYESYES
SodiumYESYESYESYES
Vitamin AYESoptionaloptionaloptional
Total vitamin CYESoptionaloptionaloptional
Vitamin DoptionaloptionalYESoptional
PotassiumoptionalYESYESoptional
CalciumYESYESYESoptional
IronYESYESYESoptional
Comparative table of mandatory nutrients for the different nutritional labels

The contents of trans fatty acids, fibers and cholesterol, as well as potassium, iron and calcium will therefore be added to the data already mandatory in Europe in order to be able to export to Canada, as well as the calculation of the energy density according to the Northern American standards, slightly different from those in Europe.

It is important to note that Nutrition Facts are calculated per serving. It is therefore necessary to define beforehand a size and a number of portions in the “Properties” list of your finished product.

Sources:

1: https://www.inspection.gc.ca/food-label-requirements/labelling/industry/amendments/questions-and-answers/eng/1481237546739/1481237611952

2: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/technical-documents-labelling-requirements/table-reference-amounts-food.html

3: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/technical-documents-labelling-requirements/table-daily-values.html

More information on the nutrients to display:

4: https://www.inspection.gc.ca/food-label-requirements/labelling/industry/nutrition-labelling/nutrition-facts-table/eng/1389198568400/1389198597278?chap=1

More information on how to display your products’ labels:

5: https://www.inspection.gc.ca/food-label-requirements/labelling/industry/nutrition-labelling/nutrition-facts-table-formats/eng/1389209684841/1389210023155?chap=0