Letter to Industry - Prohibition against the sale of unenriched white flour and products containing unenriched flour

The mandatory enrichment of white flour with B vitamins, iron and folic acid is a cornerstone of Canada's fortification program aimed at helping to prevent nutrient deficiencies and maintain or improve the nutritional quality of the food supply. Flour enrichment is used as a public health tool because of its widespread use in foods consumed regularly by a large majority of the population.

Compliance with Canadian Legislation

It is the responsibility of all manufacturers, importers and distributors of foods to ensure that their products comply with Canadian legislation and other relevant guidelines and policies.

The Food and Drugs Act and Regulations is the primary legislation that applies to all food sold in Canada, whether domestic or imported. This legislation sets out minimum health and safety requirements, as well as provisions to prevent fraud or deception.

The Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) require that all white flour and all foods sold in Canada that contain white flour, such as bread, cookies, and pastries, be made from enriched white flour. The sale of unenriched white flour or foods containing unenriched white flour is not permitted in Canada, with the exception of packaged foods that meet the conditions set out in section 37 of the Food and Drugs Act, which addresses products not manufactured for sale and consumption in Canada.

Canadian Requirements

The standard for flour (also known as "white flour", "enriched flour" or "enriched white flour") in the FDR requires the mandatory addition of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and iron. The addition of vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium and calcium is optional. All white flour sold in Canada for food use, whether for use in further manufacturing or for sale directly to the consumer, must be enriched. Consequently, all foods sold in Canada that contain white flour must be made with enriched white flour. The sale of unenriched white flour or its use is not permitted in Canada. The only exception to this requirement is white flour sold for the production of gluten or starch.

Section B.13.001 (Food and Drug Regulations):

[S] Flour, White Flour, Enriched Flour or Enriched White Flour

(d)shall contain in 100 grams of flour

  1. 0.64 milligrams of thiamine
  2. 0.40 milligrams of riboflavin
  3. 5.30 milligrams of niacin or niacinamide
  4. 0.15 milligrams of folic acid, and
  5. 4.4 milligrams of iron

(e) may contain

(xv) in 100 grams of flour

  1. 0.31 milligrams of vitamin B6
  2. 1.3 milligrams of d-pantothenic acid, and
  3. 190 milligrams of magnesium

(f) may contain calcium carbonate, edible bone meal, chalk (B.P.), ground limestone or calcium sulphate in an amount that will provide in 100 grams of flour 140 milligrams of calcium.

All white flour and foods containing white flour that are sold or intended for sale in Canada, both imported and domestically produced, are expected to be in compliance with the enrichment requirements for white flour. Any products in violation of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations may be subject to enforcement and compliance action by the CFIA.

Originally issued June 29, 2009 (Information Letter To Industry)
Updated November 15, 2012 with minor edits to improve clarity