Food Label Consulting Services – Canada

Food Label Consulting for Canada

Since 1999, we have created & evaluated hundreds of food labels for our clients, to CFIA regulations as well as sourced proper labs to get further nutritional content analyses performed.

What are the Regulations?Food Label consulting services

How do I take Advantage of these Regulations?

Our Food Label Consulting Services

Literature Searches on Various Nutrients

Market Research

Food Recall Assistance

Locating Sources of Funding

Future Workshops

What are the Regulations?

Back on January 1, 2003, Health Canada published a regulatory amendment to the Food and Drugs Act – the largest amendment in the history of Health Canada. The Act now includes regulations for:Nutrition Facts label review services

  • Nutrition Labeling;
  • Nutrient Content Claims;  and
  • Diet-Related Health Claims.

The regulations require most food labels to carry a mandatory “Nutrition Facts” table (NFT) listing Calories and 13 key Nutrients – with some exemptions. However, they also offer the food industry great marketing opportunities.

On December 14, 2016 Health Canada announced further changes to the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients on packaged foods. Some changes were for serving size, and how calories, sugars and colours are declared. For a full description see our Food Blog.

How do I Take Advantage of these Regulations?

Better labels than your competition. Examples include being able to link certain nutrients in your products to 5 Diet – Related Health Claims. These include the relationship(s) between:

  • Potassium & Sodium and high blood pressure, stroke & heart disease;
  • Calcium & Vitamin D and osteoporosis;
  • Saturated and Trans fat and heart disease;
  • Various forms of veggies & fruit and cancer;
  • Chewing Gum and Tooth decay (cavities).

As well as 47 Nutrient Content Claims, such as:

  • how one can w claim omega-3 and -6 fatty acids on the label;
  • claiming a product is a “source of Nutrient X” vs. “high source of X” vs. “excellent source of X”;
  • how to claim your product has “50% more of Nutrient X than your competitors’ products.
  • More / improved diet & health information for the consumer.

Nutrition Facts panel creation

Our Food Label Consulting Services

Our service for food labels, typically employs (but is not necessarily limited to) the following strategies:

  • Search through all of the Canadian Food & Drug Act and its Regulations, to determine whether all of the ingredients and/or their extracts are allowed in Canada;
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  • Ensure that none of the ingredients are not automatically classified as a Drug or Natural Health Product (whether or not any label claims are made about that ingredient);
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  • Determine if any of the ingredients are classified as a Novel Food (for which CFIA may first require safety testing);
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  • Determine if any of the ingredients or their extracts have any maximum allowable concentrations associated with them (i.e.: preservatives);
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  • Determine what plant nutrients can (or can not) be mentioned on the label (i.e.: which essential fatty acids can be mentioned directly by name, reference to antioxidants, etc.);
    • .
  • Locate the most appropriately qualified lab to perform the nutrient testing and shelf life (stability) testing for assinging an appropriate “best before” date. (An unqualified lab’s test results will be a waste of both time & money). This includes addressing critical aspects, such as:
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    • Pricing, level of service, competency, specific types of equipment and test methods used, reputation within the industry, accreditation, ensuring only validated test methods are used and geographic location of potential labs.
      • .
    • These tests may be for purity, potency for nutrients or bio-markers, levels of chemical & biological contamination and physical properties, etc.
      • .
    • Working on behalf of the client, negotiate with the lab on what types of tests should be performed and which tests may just be waste of time and money, based on our knowledge of what type of nutrients are typically found (or not) found in those specific types of products.
    • .
  • Determine whether a “Nutritional Facts” table (NFT) is necessary or exempt.
    • If it is required, we will then develop this table (taking full advantage of those claims which are now allowable);
    • .
  • Of the ~20 different label formats available, determine which format CFIA states you must use (which is also based on package size and available display space);
    • .
  • Determine each nutrient’s “% Daily Value”;Lab for testing
    • .
  • Determine the universal “serving size” for the product;
    • .
  • Locate any general health claims that may be allowed to be attributed to each of the nutritional constituents within this Food or Supplement;
    • .
  • Determine if references to certain nutrients must be placed outside of the “Nutritional Facts” table (i.e.: lycopenes, carotenoids, etc.);
    • .
  • Outline which parts of the label must also have French translations and which parts are optional;
    • .
  • We will also work with your ingredient suppliers to identity any “incidental ingredients” which trigger a mandatory allergen warning (eggs, milk, sulphites, tree nuts, etc.)

    • Many food recalls are due to “undeclared ingredients“.
    • .
  • Then, based on the results of the above activities, develop the new label or marketing / advertising material contents (using MS Word) and email it to you;
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  • Finally, if requested by the client, submit the proposed label to the appropriate personnel within CFIA, for their review;  and
    • .
  • Should CFIA request revisions to the drafted label, we will then perform those revisions and resubmit those labels to CFIA on your behalf.

Literature Searches on Various Nutrients

Do you want to educate your customers on the benefits of your product?

We are frequently requested by companies throughout the world, to obtain the latest research on the health benefits of various products and/or specific nutrients. This information is often used to “sell the value of their product” to technical purchasers for various Wholesalers, Brokers, Importers / Exporters, Health Food Store owners, and other key decision makers.

As such, our team subscribes to numerous electronic scientific E-newsletters from around North America. This provides us with the very latest research findings.

Market Research

Do you want to know?

  • Is the sales volume trending upwards for “a granola / snack bar” that you are considering carrying?
    • .
  • Is the market share for this type of organic foods increasing over the standard version?
    • .
  • How are “Meal Replacements” sales doing, compared to “Sports Products”?
    • .
  • Which countries have increasing sales volumes of Functional Foods and which countries are in decline?
    • .
  • Who are the most likely purchasers of your probiotic yogurt? (Men between 18-35 or women who are 45+?)
    • .
  • What are the decision factors that consumers take into consideration when purchasing a specific food? (cost?, advertising?, brand name?)

Food Recall Assistance

Since 1999, we have helped various companies with their product recalls. As such, we have developed extensive SOPs ,  associated forms & checklists, and templated notifications to CFIA, wholesalers/retailers & end consumers. We have also helped companies conduct mock recalls, so if/when a real recall is required, everyone knows what to do, and can implement the recall in a timely & effective manner.

Most often the recall is due to CFIA or end consumers finding out the product contains an undeclared allergen ingredient. It is usually an “incidental ingredient” – one not added in the final formulation, but one used to make another ingredient, and therefor not necisarily declared in the ingredient list of the final product. As such, as part our Regulatory consulting services for the development of food labels, whenever possible we try to work further upstream to see if there are any incidental ingredients which trigger an allergen warning on the finished product  label.  

Locating Sources of Funding

For Research & Development (R&D) of new food products (incl. Novel Foods), please see our Funding Services web page.

Why use a consultant?

Weighing the numerous pros & cons of bringing in a consultant vs. tackling it all in-house?  Please see our web pageWhy Use a Consultantas part of that critical thinking process. Based in British Columbia, but covering all of Western Canada.


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