Health Claims
Drugs vs. Foods

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Just like the term "food" (definition), the term "drug" (definition) is also defined in the Food and Drugs Act. One difference between foods and drugs is in how they are represented. If a product meets the definition of a food and is regulated as a food, the product is not permitted to carry a drug claim, unless exempted. See Acceptable Disease Risk Reduction Claims and Therapeutic Claims for acceptable examples.

Furthermore, Section 3, FDA, prohibits the sale of a food that is labelled or advertised to the general public as a treatment, preventative or cure for any of the diseases referred to in Schedule A.

Below are examples of drug claims that are not permitted on foods.

Medicated Claims

A food cannot be described as "medicated". Since this term is used to describe products containing an added medicinal substance to treat or prevent a disease, the representation causes the product to fall within the definition of a drug under the Food and Drugs Act. Such products must be labelled and advertised as a drug as required by the Food and Drug Regulations.

Laxative Claims

Products represented as laxatives fall within the definition of a drug. The mention of "laxative" or "relief of constipation" on a label or advertisement characterizes the product as a drug.

Contrarily, the term "laxation" (definition) and the action of "promoting laxation" are not considered to be drug claims when used in connection with certain foods. See the Acceptable Function Claims Table for more information.

Tonic Foods

The term "tonic" has been used in the past to describe a class of foods believed to have the power to restore a normal degree of vigour or to restore good health. Today, this term should not be used, as no food can be described as an effective tonic. However, exceptions may be made due to long term use, such as "tonic water".

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