Notice to industry – Final publication of changes to Canada's vodka compositional standard in the Food and Drug Regulations

The Government of Canada has announced changes to Canada's vodka compositional standard.

These amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) allow Canada's growing distillery industry to be more innovative and competitive.

The modernized vodka standard

Under the changes to the FDR, the revised vodka standard:

  • allows vodka to be produced from agricultural products other than potato and cereal grain; examples of such products could include fruits, dairy, or honey
  • requires that consumers be informed when products other than just potatoes or cereal grain are used by requiring the use of the statement "Produced from" in close proximity to the common name of "vodka" on the label
  • permits vodka to be rendered neutral (without distinctive character, aroma, or taste) by material or processes other than just charcoal

What the modernized vodka standard means for Canada

The revised vodka standard benefits Canadian vodka distillers by:

  • encouraging competition: An increase in the variety of vodka products will promote competition and growth in the industry
  • facilitating interprovincial trade: Allows for an increased range of vodka products to be sold across provincial and territorial borders
  • facilitating international trade: The modernized vodka standard better aligns with the standards of major trading partners (such as the U.S. and EU)
  • promoting innovation: Distilleries can use new ingredients and treatment methods to make vodka
  • enabling cost-savings: Allowing the use of new ingredients that could be sourced locally and potential technological innovation to render vodka neutral could lead to cost savings

The changes to the vodka standard offer consumers a wider range of options for vodka and allow them to make informed choices through the associated labelling requirement.

A new labelling requirement

When vodka is produced from agricultural material other than just potatoes or cereal grains, the material used in producing the vodka must be indicated on the label with the expression "Produced from" and the names of the material used.

For example, if a vodka product is produced entirely from apples, "Produced from apples" will need to be added on the label. If a vodka is made from both potatoes and apples, the product label must say "Produced from potatoes and apples." This additional information is to be placed in close proximity to the common name of "vodka."

Transition period for industry to make the changes

The new regulatory requirements came into force upon registration in the Canada Gazette, Part II which occurred on June 26, 2019. However, Canadian distillers have until December 13, 2022 to follow the new rules and make any applicable labelling changes. As of December 14, 2022, only the new regulatory requirements apply.

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