Making a Nutrient Content Claim

Table of Contents

Conditions for Making a Nutrient Content Claim

There are some general conditions related to the wording and visual representation of nutrient content claims which are outlined below.

Note: Conditions for making a quantitative declaration outside the Nutrition Facts table can be found in the appropriate section.

Language

When a nutrient content claim as set out in the table following B.01.513 of the FDR is made, it must be in both English and French, unless a bilingual labelling exemption applies to the product [B.01.501, FDR].

Altering the Wording of Permitted Nutrient Content Claims

The wording for nutrient content claims set out in the table following B.01.513, FDR is prescriptive and word-sets shown in quotations must not be altered unless permitted. The table below shows acceptable and unacceptable ways of making claims [B.01.511, FDR]:

Altering Nutrient Content Claims
Nutrient Content Claim Alteration Examples

Words, numbers, signs or symbols may accompany a label or advertising claim, providing they precede or follow the statement or claim, but are not interposed between the words of the statement or claim (subject to the requirements set out in the next three rows in this table) [B.01.511(1), FDR].

Unacceptable:
"100% deliciously fat-free"
Acceptable:
"delicious and 100% fat-free"

Words such as "very", "ultra" and "extra" and other words, numbers, signs or symbols that change the nature of the statement or claim are prohibited [B.01.511(2), FDR].

Unacceptable:
"ultra low fat", "extra high protein", "super low energy", "a lot less", "lots", "more", "some", "at least", "approximately", "extreme", "hardly", "maximum", "plus", "instant", etc.

The brand name of a food may not accompany a claim regarding a food that has not been processed, formulated, reformulated or otherwise modified in order to meet the conditions set out for that claim [B.01.511(3), FDR].

Unacceptable:
"Brand Y olive oil is cholesterol free."
"Brand X low fat carrots."
"Like all carrots, Brand X carrots are low in fat."
Acceptable:
"Low in fat – all carrots are low in fat."
"Carrots are low in fat."

Any claim regarding a food that has not been processed, formulated, reformulated or otherwise modified in order to meet the conditions set out for that claim, shall relate to all foods of that type and not only the specified food [B.01.511(4), FDR].

Unacceptable:
On an apple sauce label: "Low in fat"
Acceptable:
"Low in fat – all apple sauces are low in fat."
"Olive Oil, a cholesterol-free food"

When more than one of the claims in column 4 of the table following Section B.01.513, FDR are made on the label or in the advertisement for a food, the common elements of the claims may be conjoined rather than repeated [B.01.512, FDR].

Acceptable:
"low in fat" + "low in sodium" = "low in fat and sodium"

Size, Prominence, Location

Claim Conditions

When a claim is made on the label or in any advertisement, all of the words, numbers, signs or symbols that are part of the claim must be of the same size and prominence [B.01.503(3), FDR]. This includes all words of the claim having the same font, height, colour and bolding.

This requirement is for words, numbers, signs and symbols of each individual claim. When multiple claims are present, or the same claim in English and French is present, the size and prominence of the claims (including words, numbers, signs or symbols that precede or follow the claim) do not have to match.

Accompanying Information Conditions

When a claim is made on the food label, the information required to accompany the claim must be adjacent to (without intervening material) the most prominent claim on the principal display panel; or when the claim is not on the front label, grouped with the most prominent claim elsewhere on the label, and in letters of the same size and prominence as the claim [B.01.504, FDR]. A box around the words of a claim or around the accompanying information is considered intervening material and is not permitted.

When multiple claims (as set out in the Specific Nutrient Content Claim Requirements section) are conjoined, the accompanying information can also be conjoined, as long as it remains adjacent to the associated claim or statement, without any intervening material, and is shown in letters of at least the same size and prominence as those of the statement or claim.

Non-package produce (e.g. a banana) may have a sticker attached, which could include a nutrient content claim. The accompanying information for that claim must also appear on the sticker. For example, if there is a "source of potassium" claim on the sticker, the amount of potassium per serving of stated size must also be on the sticker. If the same claim was not on the sticker but on the in-store poster, then the mg of potassium per serving of stated size would be required on the in-store poster.

For more information, please refer to the Decision Trees for Nutrient Content Claim Advertising Requirements.

Information Triggered by Making a Claim

In some cases, nutrient content claims are found on foods that hold exemptions or prohibitions from showing an NFT. Making a claim on these products triggers certain labelling requirements:

Products Not Required to Show the Nutrition Facts Table

Non-prepackaged products and prepackaged products exempted from showing a Nutrition Facts table are permitted to make nutrient content claims or other permitted nutrition-related statements or representations on either the label for the food and/or in an advertisement. However, if a claim is made by or for the manufacturer for a prepackaged product with a nutrition labelling exemption, it nullifies the exemption and triggers the requirement to show a Nutrition Facts table [B.01.401(3)(e), B.01.402(4), FDR].

When nutrient content claims are made, the label or advertisement must also comply with all the prescribed requirements, as applicable:

  • the label must show the amount of any nutrient that is the subject of the claim, in the Nutrition Facts table, as applicable [B.01.402(4)]; and
  • the food must meet all of the applicable labelling and compositional conditions associated with that claim (see Specific Nutrient Content Claim Requirements). For example, an "X% fat free" claim must be accompanied by a "low fat" statement.

The Nutrition Facts table is not required in the following cases:

  • when a claim is made on a non-prepackaged product, such as on a sticker on bulk bins of fresh fruit;
  • when a claim for a prepackaged product is made in an advertisement by someone other than the manufacturer, such as a Marketing Board that advertises all brands of the product through a generic ad in which no brands are named;
  • when nutrient content claims are made on foods that are always exempt from carrying a Nutrition Facts table, such as one-bite confections, or individual portions of food (those intended to be sold with meals or snacks by restaurants or other commercial enterprises) or on a variety of milks and goat milks packaged in glass bottles.

However, in the first two cases, a quantitative declaration of the applicable energy value or nutrient amount to support the claim must appear either on the label or in the advertisement [B.01.503(1)(c), FDR].

Claims Made on Labels of Small Packages

Foods with an available display surface of less than 100 cm2 are considered to be small packages and do not have to carry a Nutrition Facts table if the outer side of the label of the product indicates to consumers how they may obtain the nutrition information that would otherwise be required in a Nutrition Facts table on the label.

However, when the labels on foods with an available display surface of less than 100 cm2 carry a nutrient content claim, statement or representation, the labels must display a Nutrition Facts table, and they no longer qualify to use a toll free telephone number or postal address.

In these cases, the options for smaller packages in the Nutrition Fact Table Formats section will apply, including the specific alternate methods of presentation listed in B.01.466(1) of the FDR: a tag attached to the package, a package insert, the inner side of a label, a fold-out label or an outer sleeve, overwrap or collar.

Claims Made on Foods Prohibited from Showing a Nutrition Facts Table

Certain foods are prohibited from showing a Nutrition Facts table, or using the words "Nutrition Facts" or the French equivalents [B.01.401(5), FDR]. For a complete list of these foods, please refer to the Prohibitions section.

The regulations for these foods already stipulate the required nutrition information that must appear on the label. However, these foods are permitted to make some nutrient content claims and other permitted claims on their labels and in advertising (unless the product is prohibited from being advertised to the general public, e.g., formulated liquid diets, foods for use in very low energy diets). A quantitative declaration of the energy value or amount of nutrient that is the subject of the claim must be made, if this information is not already provided with the nutrition information [B.01.301, FDR]. Note that Column 2 - (Conditions - Food) of the table following B.01.513 sets out requirements for some claims based on both the serving size and the reference amount, which are set out in Schedule M of the Food and Drug Regulations. Where no reference amount exists for a food, the criteria for making claims on these foods can be based on the serving size of the product only.

For further details, refer to Information Triggered by Quantitative Statements.

Implied Nutrient Content Claims

The Food and Drug Regulations specify that implied claims that characterize the energy value of the food or the amount of nutrient contained in the food are prohibited [B.01.502(1), FDR].

Some examples of implied nutrient content claims are:

  • "non-hydrogenated";
  • "cooked in non-hydrogenated oil";
  • "Omega -3";
  • "energy bar";
  • "demi-sel/semi-salted butter";
  • "fibre cereal".

Implied nutrient content claims are not acceptable on their own; they must immediately be preceded or followed by the permitted claim found in the table following B.01.513 or the FDR. The provision for the use of implied claims is found in section B.01.511 of the FDR, which allows for other words, numbers, signs or symbols that do not change the nature of the claim to precede or follow the statements or claims in the table following B.01.513 of the FDR. All of the criteria for the claim in the table following B.01.513 must also be met (see Altering the Wording of Permitted Nutrient Content Claims and Specific Nutrient Content Claim Requirements.

Examples of Acceptable Implied Claims - (when all above requirements are met)
Implied Claim Immediately Preceded or Followed By:
Omega-3 source of omega-3 polyunsaturates
non-hydrogenated free of trans fatty acids
no tropical oilsTable Note 1 free of saturated fatty acids
energy shake source of energy
fibre bar source of fibre
semi-salted lightly salted or reduced in sodium
made with soy protein source of protein
25% less oil 25% less fat (reduced in fat or lower in fat claims, item 13 or 14 of table following B.01.513 of the FDR)

Table Notes

Table Note 1

Tropical oils include: coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil and cocoa butter.

Return to table note 1  referrer

Other implied claims will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to assess whether they change the nature of the prescribed nutrient content claim.

Date modified: