Labelling requirements for fats and oils
List of ingredients - fats and oils
The same list of ingredients requirements and exemptions that apply to all foods also apply to fats and oils. Refer to list of ingredients for more information.
Certain fats and oils, when declared in the list of ingredients, are required to use specific mandatory common names. See Mandatory Common Names for Ingredients and Components for more information.
There are other fats and oils, when declared in the list of ingredients, that may optionally be listed using collective or class names. See Class/Collective Names for Ingredients and Components for more information.
A number of fat and oil products, when used as ingredients in foods, are usually exempt from declaring components in the list of ingredients. These include margarine, shortening, lard, and, in certain situations, standardized oils. See Ingredients that Generally Do Not have to Declare their Components for more information.
Single or multi-source vegetable oils
In general, when a single source of "(naming the source) oil" is used as an ingredient in another food, it may be listed in the list of ingredients either specifically by name, e.g., "canola oil", or as "vegetable oil".
Also, when vegetable oil containing more than one kind of vegetable oil is used as an ingredient in another food, it may be listed in the list of ingredients as "vegetable oil".
However, there are two exceptions to the ingredient list common names mentioned above:
- if the oil is an ingredient of a cooking oil, salad oil or table oil, the oil must be specifically named in the ingredient list, e.g., "canola oil", and the general term "vegetable oil" is not acceptable [B.09.010, FDR]; or
- if the vegetable oil is coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, peanut oil or cocoa butter, the oil must be specifically named in the ingredient list, and the general term "vegetable oil" is not acceptable [B.01.010(3)(b), Item 1, FDR].
Declaration of both regular and hydrogenated vegetable oil
Hydrogenated vegetable oil must be declared as "hydrogenated" plus "vegetable oil" or "hydrogenated (naming the vegetable oil)" in the list of ingredients [B.01.010 (3)(a), FDR]. In order to meet the regulation intended to inform consumers that the oil may have been hydrogenated within a 12-month period [B.01.011(1), FDR], when using either a vegetable oil or a hydrogenated vegetable oil, the following declarations are acceptable in the list of ingredients:
- "(Naming the vegetable oil) (may have been hydrogenated)" / "(Naming the vegetable oil) (peut avoir été hydrogénée)"; or
- "(Naming the vegetable oil) (may be hydrogenated)"/ "(Naming the vegetable oil) (peut être hydrogenée)"
Note: As per subsection B.01.011(1) of the FDR, ingredients must be listed in descending order of the proportion by weight in which they will appear during the next 12-month period. If it is more likely that "hydrogenated canola oil" will be present in the product, the above declarations would not be acceptable. Instead, a declaration such as "hydrogenated canola oil or canola oil" would have to be used.
Modified oil mixtures as an ingredients
When the common name "modified vegetable oil" is used, a list of ingredients naming the individual oils is also required.
When a common name that includes all of the oils in a mixture is used, such as "canola oil and modified sunflower oil", it is considered satisfy both the common name and list of ingredients requirements. This means that a separate list of ingredients is not required, providing there are no other ingredients than the oils mentioned.
Medium chain triglycerides
When medium chain triglycerides are added as an ingredient of foods, the acceptable common name in the list of ingredients must reflect the source of the medium chain triglycerides, e.g., "modified coconut oil" when fractionated coconut oil is the source. Refer to the Food and Drug Regulations, paragraph B.01.010(3)(a), Items 13, 17, 18 and 19, for other prescribed names. It is recommended that the words "medium chain triglycerides" be shown in brackets after the ingredient to identify the product of the modification, e.g., "modified coconut oil (medium chain triglycerides)".
Shortening as an ingredient
Shortening containing vegetable oil or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil must be listed in the list of ingredients of a food as "vegetable oil shortening" (unless it contains one of the fats that must be mentioned by name, e.g. coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, cocoa butter, peanut oil). Shortening containing lard should be called "lard shortening".
Shortening does not have to be qualified in the list of ingredients as "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated".
Spray dried shortening as an ingredient
Spray dried shortening is an unstandardized food which cannot be listed as a vegetable oil shortening but can be listed as a spray dried shortening preparation in the list of ingredients. All of the components must be listed.
Use of adjectives and descriptive phrases to describe nutrient content
It is generally not acceptable to use adjectives and descriptive phrases that describe or imply nutrient content characteristics of an ingredient in the list of ingredients, e.g., "unhydrogenated vegetable oil". "Non-hydrogenated" and "unhydrogenated" are considered implied "free of trans fatty acid" claims. For more information see Implied Nutrient Content Claims.
See Additional Information in the List of Ingredients for further details.
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