it permits the voluntary labeling of health claims on meat, poultry, and egg products provided the claims are labeled in accordance with FDA’s regulations. Thus, the committee’s guiding principles and recommendations will equally apply to FSIS-regulated food. (See OPPD, 2003b, for information about the prior approval of product labels and labeling terminology for meat, poultry, and egg products as regulated by FSIS.)


Historical Overview

In Canada the Food and Drugs Act (R.S. 1985, c. F27) is the principal federal statute governing the labeling of food. The Act applies to all food sold in Canada at all levels of commerce. Regulations made under the Act cover ingredient listing, nutrition labeling, and all types of claims.

Until 1988 when nutrition labeling guidelines were introduced, regulations pertaining to the declaration of nutrients in food were largely intended to control claims. They were put in place over a 40-year period, and for the purposes of labeling they distinguished between added and naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Amounts of added vitamins and minerals were required to be declared in absolute amounts per 100 g of food whenever one or more was added to a food. For the most part, the labeling of absolute amounts of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals was not permitted; a food containing minimum levels of one or more of nine nutrients in a reasonable daily intake could only be described as a “good” or “excellent” source of the nutrient. With few exceptions, declaration of the energy value and of single nutrients other than naturally occurring vitamins and minerals was permitted. Declaration of protein was permitted if it was grouped with a declaration of carbohydrate and fat content and all were expressed in grams per 100 g. Sodium and potassium had to be declared together in milligrams per 100 g. Nutrition labeling was only required for food for special dietary uses and for food containing intense (artificial) sweeteners. Energy value, protein, carbohydrate, and fat, each expressed both per 100 g and per unit of ready-to-serve food, were required to be listed (Canada, 1988a).

Nutrition labeling guidelines were introduced in Canada in 1988, along with amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations, concluding a process that was started in 1983. The system was voluntary,

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