The Canadian regulations require trans fat to be incorporated with saturated fat in the same % DV, with the % DV for the sum of saturated and trans fats being 20 g based on 10 percent of energy with a 2,000-calorie dietary energy reference value. Expression of a % DV was considered important to assist consumers in understanding the relative significance of the amount of these nutrients in a food. The % DV for cholesterol is optional. There is no % DV for protein because protein intakes in Canada were not considered to be a public health concern. Explanatory footnotes related to the DV are similar to those used in the United States and may be included in the Nutrition Facts table. The graphic elements of the Nutrition Facts table are tightly regulated to ensure the use of a consistent and legible format. The Canadian regulations, unlike those of the United States, do not include specific regulations to define the serving size except in the case of single-serving containers. Guidelines for establishing serving sizes are provided in CFIA’s Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising (CFIA, 2001). Reference Amounts, a specific quantity of a type of food usually eaten by an individual at one sitting, serve as the basis for composition criteria for claims and are regulated.
Only nutrition labeling that complies with the regulations may appear on food labels in Canada, and the information must be presented in both English and French like other mandatory labeling information. Because other countries’ nutrition labeling does not meet the Canadian requirements, they cannot be used on food sold in Canada.
The new regulations permit specifically defined nutrient content claims that are similar to, but have slightly different definitions than, those allowed in the United States. Prior to passage of the new regulations, health claims were not permitted on food labels in Canada. Now claims associated with four diet and health relationships are permitted: sodium and potassium and their association with blood pressure, calcium and vitamin D and their association with osteoporosis, saturated fat and trans fat and their association with heart disease, and vegetables and fruit and their association with some types of cancer. The regulations stipulate the prescribed wording for the permitted claims. One criterion for health claims is based on another reference value, the Weighted Recommended Nutrient Intake (WRNI). WRNI became part of the regulations in 1996 (Canada, 1996). A food must contain at least 10 percent of the WRNI for one vitamin or mineral per reference amount and per serving of stated size in order to be eligible for claims related to blood pressure and heart disease. The WRNIs are the demographic