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Former - Specific nutrient content claim requirements
Protein claims

A statement with respect to proteins is permitted provided the food meets the conditions for "source of protein" in the Summary Table of Protein Claims below, i.e., a Reasonable daily intake of the food has a protein rating of 20 or more [B.01.305(1), FDR ].

For example, the claim "made with soy protein" is acceptable provided the food meets the conditions for "source of protein".

For information and examples on calculating the protein rating, please refer to Protein under the Elements within the Nutrition Facts table section.

Amino acids

Nutrient content claims such as "source of amino acids", "source of (naming the amino acid)" or "source of essential amino acids" are not permitted under the nutrition labelling regulations [B.01.305(2), FDR].

However, other types of statements with respect to amino acids, such as quantitative declarations outside the Nutrition Facts table of amino acid content of a food may be made, provided:

  • the food meets the conditions for a "source of protein" claim [B.01.305(2)(a), FDR]
  • the label or the advertisement includes a declaration of the amount of the following essential amino acids contained in the food: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine [B.01.305(2)(b), FDR]
  • the declaration is expressed in grams per serving of stated size [B.01.305(2)(b), FDR]
  • the declaration is not in the Nutrition Facts table [B.01.401(1), B.01.402(1), FDR, and
  • the declaration presented in both English and French unless otherwise exempted [B.01.305(4), FDR]

Exceptions

The above requirements respecting representations about protein or amino acids, whether expressed or implied, do not apply to the following [B.01.305(3)(a) to (k), FDR]:

  • a formulated liquid diet, a human milk substitute or a food represented as containing a human milk substitute
  • foods represented for use in gluten-free diets, protein-restricted diets and low (naming the amino acid) diets
  • the word "protein" when it is used as part of the common name of an ingredient in the list of ingredients
  • the declaration of amino acids in a list of ingredients
  • common names (such as hydrolysed soya protein), which are set out in column 2 of items 7 to 9 of the table to B.01.010(3)(a), FDR, when shown in the list of ingredients
  • the common name of single amino acid preparations that may be sold as foods
  • statements to the effect that aspartame contains phenylalanine (as required by B.01.014(c) and B.01.015(1)(b), FDR)
  • a statement or claim set out in column 4 of the table following B.01.513 of the FDR respecting the subject "low in protein" set out in column 1 of item 7
  • a statement of the amount of protein in the Nutrition Facts table
  • a statement of the protein content of foods mentioned in the following sections of the FDR:
    • formulated liquid diet [B.24.103(c), FDR]
    • meal replacement, nutritional supplement [B.24.202(a)(ii), FDR]
    • food for use in a very low energy diet [B.24.304(b), FDR], or
    • food represented as containing a human milk substitute [B.25.057(1)(a) or B.25.057(2)(c)(i) or (d)(i), FDR], and
  • a statement that a food is not a source of protein

"Complete protein"

The claim "Complete protein" can be used in some cases to describe the characteristic of a protein, i.e., that all essential amino acids are included. The claim "Complete protein" on a food label or advertisement is considered to be an implied nutrient content claim about protein. Under the FDR, subsection B.01.305(1) states: "No person shall, on the label of or in any advertisement for a food, make a representation, express or implied, respecting a protein unless the food meets the conditions set out in column 2 of item 8 of the table following section B.01.513 for the subject "source of protein" set out in column 1." If the term "complete protein" is used, it must be in conjunction with and meet the requirements of a "source of protein" claim. There must be no intervening material to alter the "source of protein" claim wording.

Furthermore, subsection B.01.511(4) of the FDR states: "Any words, numbers, signs or symbols preceding or following the statement or claim referred to in subsection (3) shall accompany the statement or claim in such a manner that the statement or claim characterizes all foods of that type, and not only the specific food." Therefore, the claim "complete protein" cannot give the impression that this is a quality specific to the food in question; it should indicate that it is a quality of all foods of similar type. For example, a specific meat product should not imply that only that meat product is a complete protein when it is a quality of all meat.

"High quality protein"

The claim "high quality protein" is not permitted on a label or advertisement since it is not one of the acceptable claims listed in the table following section B.01.513 of the FDR. The claim could also imply that the protein in question is of better quality than other proteins which may have the same characteristics and/or protein rating.

Other permitted references to protein

The Percent (%) Meat Protein declaration is required as part of the common name for meat and poultry meat with added phosphate salts and/or water. This declaration is a permitted protein declaration. However, the presence of this declaration triggers the Nutrition Facts table on foods otherwise exempt, such as a food sold only in the retail establishment where the product is prepared and processed from its ingredients [B.01.090(2), B.01.401(3)(e)(ii), B.01.502(2)(a) FDR].

Summary table of protein claims

Note: The claims in quotation marks in column 1 are those which are permitted by the Food and Drug Regulations. The reference amounts are found in Part D, Schedule M of the Food and Drug Regulations.

Summary table of protein claims
Column 1
Claim
Column 2
Conditions -
Food
Column 3
Conditions -
Label or advertisement
Column 4
FDR reference

a) Low in protein
"low in protein"
"low protein"
"low source of protein"
"contains only (number) g of protein per serving"
or
"contains less than (number) g of protein per serving"

The food contains no more than 1 g of protein per 100 g of the food.

Must comply with requirements and conditions for making a nutrient content claim.

Nutrition Facts table is required on Foods usually exempt from displaying a Nutrition Facts table by B.01.401(2)(a) and (b) of the FDR [B.01.401(3)(e)(ii), FDR].

When used in an advertisement, must comply with the Advertising requirements for nutrient content claims.

Table following B.01.513, item 7

b) Source of protein
"source of protein"
"contains protein"
"good source of protein"
"high protein"
"high in protein"
or
"provides protein"
May be used for nutrient content claims on food intended solely for children under two years of age
[B.01.503.(2), FDR]

The food has a protein rating of 20 or more, as determined by official method FO-1, Determination of protein rating, October 15, 1981,
(a) per reasonable daily intake (Schedule KFootnote *), or
(b) per 30 g of breakfast cereal combined with 125 mL of milk, if the food is a breakfast cereal

See conditions set out for item a) of this table

Table following B.01.513, item 8

c) Excellent source of protein
"excellent source of protein"
"very high protein"
"very high in protein" or
"rich in protein"
May be used for Nutrient content claims on food intended solely for children under two years of age
 [B.01.503.(2), FDR]

The food has a protein rating of 40 or more, as determined by official method FO-1, Determination of protein rating, October 15, 1981,
(a) per reasonable daily intake (see Schedule K, FDR)Footnote * , or
(b) per 30 g of breakfast cereal combined with 125 mL of milk, if the food is a breakfast cereal.

See conditions set out for item a) of this table.

Table following B.01.513, item 9

d) More protein
"more protein"
"higher protein"
"higher in protein"

 

The food
(a) has a protein rating of 20 or more, as determined by official method FO-1, Determination of protein rating, October 15, 1981,
(i) per reasonable daily intake (see Schedule K, FDR)Footnote * , or
(ii) per 30 g of breakfast cereal combined with 125 mL of milk, if the food is a breakfast cereal;
(b) contains at least 25% more protein, totalling at least 7 g more, per reasonable daily intakeFootnote * than a reference food of the same food group or a similar reference food.

The following are identified:
(a) the reference food of the same food group (definition) or the similar reference food (definition);
(b) the amounts of the food and the reference food of the same food group or the similar reference food being compared, if those amounts are not equal; and
(c) the difference in protein with the reference food of the same food group or the similar reference food, expressed by percentage or fraction or in grams per serving of stated size.
(See Comparative nutrient content claims for more information.)
See conditions set out for item a) of this table.

Table following B.01.513, item 10

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