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Consultation on the "Product of Canada" Guidelines
Since the new guidelines came into effect, Canadian consumers have told us that they support the objectives of the "Product of Canada" Guidelines. However, food processors indicated that it may not be easy to find and maintain Canadian sources for some ingredients. For this reason, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada conducted consultations with approximately 3100 consumers and industry stakeholders through online and telephone surveys. The consultation gathered the opinions on the merit of exempting the imported ingredients sugar, salt and vinegar from disqualifying a product from the use of a "Product of Canada" claim. Almost half of those consulted did not want any exemptions. These consultations did not support such exemptions; therefore, the Government of Canada is maintaining the current guidelines, with no changes to its current policies regarding these claims.
Guidelines Defining "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" on food labels and advertising (Letter to Industry)
Canada's food supply is increasingly global in nature and many Canadians are seeking clearer information about the foods they buy. Canadians want credible, meaningful information about the foods they buy. Many want to purchase food products that are made and processed using Canadian standards, which they trust with good reason. Some simply want assurance that a significant amount of the product contains Canadian ingredients.
On July 15, 2008 the Government of Canada announced the new labelling guidelines for the use of these claims. The revised guidelines will help Canadians make informed choices about the products they are purchasing. They were developed to reflect consumer and industry expectations about what constitutes a Canadian product and to promote compliance with subsection 5(1) of the Food and Drugs Act and subsection 7(1) of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.
Product of Canada
Under the guidelines when the label claim Product of Canada is applied, all or virtually all of the significant ingredients, components, processing and labour used in the food product must be Canadian. Food products claiming Product of Canada must contain very little or no foreign content, with the exception of minor food additives, spices, vitamins, minerals and flavouring preparations.
Made in Canada
The Made in Canada claim may be used when the food product is manufactured or processed in Canada regardless of whether the ingredients are imported or domestic or a mix of both. However, this claim must always be qualified with either Made in Canada from domestic and imported ingredients or Made in Canada from imported ingredients. To use these qualified claims, the last substantial transformation of the product must have occurred in Canada. This recognizes the importance of value added by Canadian ingredients and processing.
Other Qualified Claims
Qualified claims for other food products that do not meet the Product of Canada and Made in Canada guidelines may continue to be used. In particular, Roasted in Canada, Packaged in Canada, Distilled in Canada, Processed in Canada, etc. could be used provided that they are not false or misleading. However, use of Product of Canada and the qualified Made in Canada claim is encouraged for those products that meet the guidelines in order to provide consistency and clarity for the consumer.
Enforcement and Compliance
The CFIA enforces the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act to protect consumers against product misrepresentation. Consumers expect labelling and advertising information, including claims, to be truthful and not misleading. The use of these claims on most food labels remains voluntary. However, when these claims are applied, they will be assessed based on the established criteria. When non-compliance is identified during inspections and when responding to complaints, appropriate corrective action will be taken.
The guidelines came into effect on December 31, 2008. It is recognized that many products produced or manufactured before this date may already be on store shelves. However, it is expected that all products produced after this date would comply with the guidelines.
For additional information, refer to the History of the Canadian Food Labelling Initiative. A number of Frequently Asked Questions on Product of Canada and Made in Canada Claims provide further detail on the interpretation of these guidelines. Should you require more information or have questions regarding these guidelines, please call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342/ TTY 1-800-465-7735.
History of the Canadian Food Labelling Initiative
Canada's food supply is increasingly global in nature and many Canadians are seeking clearer information about the foods they buy. Recognizing this, the Government of Canada has taken action to improve the labelling information on food products and to help Canadians make better purchasing decisions.
Following the launch of the Healthy Canadians website on October 24th, 2007, the Prime Minister announced Canada's Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan on December 17th, 2007, with the goal of ensuring Canada's product safety standards are second to none.
As part of the Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, the Government committed to reviewing the policy on the use of "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" claims on food labels and in advertising. Although Product of Canada and Made in Canada claims are not food safety issues, Canadians have indicated that this is an important matter to them.
On May 21, 2008, the Prime Minister unveiled the new Canadian Food Labelling Initiative together with the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. This initiative improves the definition of "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" on food labels and advertising, to ensure that Canadians can have greater certainty about the Canadian content of the food products they purchase.
Following consultation with consumers and stakeholders, the Government of Canada has implemented the modernized guidelines which came into effect on December 31, 2008. It is recognized that many products produced or manufactured before this date may already be on store shelves, and these products will not be recalled. All products produced after December 31, 2008, should comply with the new guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Shopping for Canadian Food
For more information on food that has been grown or made in Canada, refer to Shopping for Canadian Food.
Local Food Claims Interim Policy
Refer to Local Food Claims.
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