Guidelines for the Acceptable Use of "100% Canadian Milk" Claims on Dairy Products

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The purpose of this document is to help food manufacturers to determine if their voluntary use of a "100% Canadian Milk" claim (or similar) on dairy products

  • is truthful for consumers, and
  • meets legislative requirements.

This guideline document sets out criteria for the acceptable use of "100% Canadian Milk" claims and acceptable alternatives on dairy products. It is the responsibility of all food manufacturers to ensure that their products are labelled and advertised in a manner that does not create a false and misleading impression of the product.

Background

In October 2010, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) did public opinion research to determine consumers' perceptions of the claim "100% Canadian Milk" when used on dairy products.

The research findings include the following:

  • Consumers generally perceive the claim "100% Canadian Milk" to be related to the origin of the ingredient.
  • Consumers understanding of the word "milk" is broader than the strict regulatory definition in the Food and Drug Regulations
    • Consumer understanding of "milk" includes milk, partly skimmed milk, skim milk, cream, buttermilk, skim milk powder, etc.
    • The definition of "milk" from the Food and Drug Regulations:
      "B.08.003. [S]. (a) Milk or Whole Milk shall be the normal lacteal secretion obtained from the mammary gland of the cow, genus Bos;"
  • When this claim is used on dairy products, consumers expect the product to contain what they perceive to be "milk" (see above).
  • When this claim is used, consumers expect that all of the dairy ingredients are Canadian, with no imported dairy ingredients.

The results of this research were used, along with stakeholder consultation, to establish criteria for acceptable use of the claim "100% Canadian Milk" on dairy products.

Scope

This guideline applies only to the use of a "100% Canadian Milk" claim or acceptable alternatives, with or without logos, vignettes etc., when used on dairy products.

Definition of "dairy product" from the Dairy Products Regulations:

"means milk or a product thereof, whether alone or combined with another agricultural product, that contains no oil or fat other than that of milk."

Regulatory authority

The following pieces of legislation apply to a "100% Canadian Milk" claim. The list is not exhaustive and, depending on the situation, there could be other applicable provisions or legislation.

The Food and Drugs Act, subsection 5(1), states that:

"No person shall label, package, treat, process, sell or advertise any food in a manner that is false, misleading, deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression regarding its character, value, quantity, composition, merit, or safety."

The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act subsection 7(1), states that:

"No dealer shall apply to any prepackaged product or sell, import in to Canada or advertise any prepackaged product that has applied to it a label containing any false or misleading representation that relates to or may reasonably be regarded as relating to that product."

In the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, paragraphs 7(2)(b)&(c) define "false or misleading representation" as:

"Any expression, word, figure, depiction or symbol that implies or may reasonably be regarded as implying that a prepackaged product contains any matter not contained in it or does not contain any matter in fact contained in it and any description or illustration of the type, quality, performance, function, origin or method of manufacture or production of a prepackaged product that may reasonably be regarded as likely to deceive a consumer with respect to the matter so described or illustrated."

Criteria for making an acceptable "100% Canadian Milk" claim

The following criteria set out the conditions to make an acceptable "100% Canadian Milk" claim on a dairy product.

The criteria

  1. All of the dairy ingredients in the product are derived from Canadian sources.
  2. At least one of the following ingredients is present in the product in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form:
    • (whole) milk
    • partly (partially) skimmed milk
    • skim milk
    • cream
    • condensed milk
    • buttermilk
  3. The ingredients listed above are to be listed separately in the ingredient list.
    • Under the Food and Drug Regulations section B.01.010(3)(b), these ingredients fall under the collective common name "milk ingredients"
      • "milk ingredients: any of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form, namely, butter, buttermilk, butter oil, milk fat, cream, milk, partly skimmed milk, skim milk and any other component of milk the chemical composition of which has not been altered and that exists in the food in the same chemical state in which it is found in milk."
    • As per B.01.010(3)(b),
      • since one or more of these ingredients will be listed separately, the common name "milk ingredients" cannot be used, and
      • all ingredients that fall under that common name must be listed separately.
    • If the product also contains one or more ingredients listed under the common name "modified milk ingredients" in item 7.1 of the Table following section B.01.010(3)(b), these ingredients can be collectively referred to as "modified milk ingredients".
      • "modified milk ingredients: any of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form, namely, calcium-reduced skim milk (obtained by the ion-exchange process), casein, caseinates, cultured milk products, milk serum proteins, ultrafiltered milk, whey, whey butter, whey cream and any other component of milk the chemical state of which has been altered from that in which it is found in milk."

Alternate acceptable claims

The CFIA's public opinion research also indicated two other claims that respondents found appropriate to describe a dairy product made with Canadian milk and/or dairy ingredients made from Canadian milk.

Therefore, food manufacturers may also use the following claims on dairy products:

  • "Made with 100% Canadian Milk"
  • "100% Canadian Dairy"

If the "Made with 100% Canadian Milk" claim is used, all three criteria listed above also apply.

If the "100% Canadian Dairy" claim is used, only criterion 1 listed above needs to be met.

Enforcement

CFIA inspectors will verify that these claims are being used appropriately using the criteria above. They will do this during their regular labelling and ingredient verification tasks, as well as when responding to complaints.

Dairy products that currently use the "100% Canadian Milk" claim but do not meet the criteria outlined above will require a corrective action plan. This plan must specify what the manufacturer will do to correct their label within a reasonable timeframe (approximately six months).

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