Nutrient Content Claims and Foods Sold in Restaurants and Food Service Establishments

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Nutrient Content Claims

The regulations permit 47 nutrient content claims and set out the conditions for these claims to be made. Nutrient content claims, such as "low in fat" and "trans fat free", can be made on foods sold in restaurants and food service establishments provided the associated conditions are met. Most foods are required to meet the conditions based on not only the stated serving size, but also for a regulated reference amount (see Schedule M, FDR for a list of the reference amounts). For instance, a food that claims to be a "low fat" food, must contain 3 g or less of fat per serving of stated size and per reference amount. The following table shows the requirements of some nutrient content claims that are frequently used at restaurants.

Nutrient content claims that are frequently used in restaurants
Claim Condition(s) for the Food Supporting Information
Source of energy food provides at least 100 Calories (or 420 kJ) per serving of stated size and per reference amount. Calories per serving of stated size.
Free of fat food contains less than 0.5 g of fat per serving of stated size and per reference amount. g fat per serving of stated size
Low in fat food contains 3 g or less of fat per serving of stated size and per reference amount. g fat per serving of stated size
Free of trans fatty acids (1) food contains less than 0.2 g trans fatty acids per serving of stated size and per reference amount

(2) food contains 2 g or less of saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids combined per serving of stated size and per reference amount

(3) food provides 15% or less energy from the sum of saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids.

g trans fatty acids per serving of stated size
Source of fibre food contains 2 g or more of fibre* per serving of stated size and per reference amount.

*if the fibre source is identified, then the food must contain at least 2 g of the identified fibre source (i.e. oat bran)

g fibre per serving of stated size

A complete list of the 47 permitted claims can be found in the table following section B.01.513, FDR.

Supporting Information

Where nutrient content claims are made, they must be accompanied, with no intervening material and in the same size type and prominence, by a supporting statement of the amount of energy or the nutrient per serving of stated size. More information on how this information must be provided can be found in the Nutrition Labelling Information Letter.

Comparative Claims

Comparative claims are those claims which compare the nutrient value of a food with another food with the relative reduction or increase of a given nutrient. Three main types of comparative claims are permitted:

  1. those which discuss the reduction of a nutrient compared to a similar reference food such as a salad dressing which has had its fat content reduced compared to the regular salad dressing;
  2. those which relate that a food has relatively less of a nutrient compared to a reference food of the same food group, such as a vegetarian burger having less fat than a beef burger; and
  3. those which discuss that a food has relatively more of a nutrient compared to either a similar reference food or a reference food of the same food group, such as bran muffins having more fibre than chocolate chip muffins.

Note that comparative claims can only be made for foods compared with either a similar reference food and/or with a reference food of the same food group, depending on the type of claim used. Comparisons cannot be made between dissimilar foods such as a comparison between a salad and a burger or between orange juice and milk. More information can be found in Comparative Nutrient Content Claimes.

Where comparative claims are made for foods, the whole claim must be stated, along with the supporting information per serving of stated size, in the same size and prominence, with no intervening material.

Quantitative Statements

A quantitative statement is a simple statement of the amount of a nutrient per serving of stated size. These statements are permitted on foods sold in restaurants, but must be shown in the prescribed units and must be shown per serving of stated size.

More information on these statements can be found in the Nutrition Labelling Information Letter.

Implied Claims

For more information please see our implied nutrient content claims.

Carbohydrate Claims

The amended regulations do not provide for carbohydrate claims on foods sold in Canada. This means that " low carbohydrate" and " reduced carbohydrate" claims will no longer be allowed on foods sold in Canada. Other statements such as " net carbs" and " digestible carbs" are also not acceptable. More information can be found in the information letter on carbohydrate claims on the CFIA web site.

Originally issued August 25, 2005 (Information Letter To Industry)

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