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Labelling and composition requirements for grain and bakery products

Important Notice

On December 14, 2016, amendments to nutrition labelling, list of ingredients and food colour requirements of the Food and Drug Regulations came into force. Regulated parties have a five (5) year transition period to meet the new labelling requirements.

Consult the Former – Labelling and Composition Requirements for Grain and Bakery Products for information on the former requirements.

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Overview

Grain and bakery products such as flour, bread, rice and cereals sold in Canada are subject to the provisions of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA)  and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), as well as those of the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR).

When sold intraprovincially, grain and bakery products are subject to the labelling requirements under the FDA and FDR, as well as specific requirements of the SFCA and the SFCR that apply to prepackaged foods sold in Canada, regardless of the level of trade. Division 13 of the FDR prescribes standards for many breads and flours. Provincial regulations may also have labelling requirements that apply when these products are sold within that province.

The requirements detailed in the following section are specific to grain and bakery products. Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for core labelling and voluntary claims and statements requirements that apply to all prepackaged foods.

Common name – grain and bakery products

For grain and bakery products that meet one of the standards prescribed in Division 13 of the FDR, the name appearing in bold-face type, but not in italics, in the FDR is the appropriate common name of that product.

Biscotti

The common name "biscotti" is used by the general population and can be used on its own without further explanation.

Bran

"Bran" is understood to be wheat bran and "wheat" does not have to be stated as part of the common name. If the bran is from another source other than wheat bran, then the name of the grain must be stated, e.g. "oat bran".

For information on declaration of wheat for allergen labelling purposes, see the section on Food Allergens and Gluten Declaration.

Bread crumbs and toasted wheat crumbs

The following common names are suitable for various types of bread crumbs when sold individually or in the list of ingredients as a constituent of a food:

In general, "(naming the bread) bread crumbs" is the common name used for crumbs from the named bread. For example, "enriched bread crumbs" or "enriched white bread crumbs" are common names for crumbs of products meeting the standard for enriched bread/enriched white bread in section B.13.022 of the FDR. Other examples include "rye bread crumbs", "potato bread crumbs", etc.

"Bread Crumbs" is a common name that can be used for either:

In both of the above situations, bread crumbs sold as a product require a list of ingredients. When "bread crumbs" is used as a generic term, the list of ingredients needs to include all the types of bread used. For information on declaration of components when bread crumbs are used as an ingredient, see Component Declaration Exemption - Bread Crumbs and Toasted Wheat Crumbs.

"Toasted bread crumbs" is a common name that refers to either of the above uses of "bread crumbs" in toasted form. When truthful, "toasted" may also be added to "(naming the bread) bread crumbs", such as "toasted rye bread crumbs".

"Toasted wheat crumbs" is an optional common name for wheat crumbs consisting of cooked dough made from flour and water, which may be unleavened (e.g. pita), or chemically or yeast leavened, and which otherwise meet the standard for bread or enriched bread in sections B.13.021-B.13.022 of the FDR.

Crumbs of yeast leavened breads that meet the standards in B.13.021 and B.13.022 of the FDR may use either the common name "bread crumbs/enriched bread crumbs" or "toasted wheat crumbs".

Breakfast bread and dinner bread

"Breakfast Bread" or "Dinner Bread" is an acceptable common name for bread that meets the standard for bread [B.13.021, FDR]. These terms are not considered to imply that the food is a meal replacement (definition), prepackaged meal (definition) or, in the case of "breakfast", an instant breakfast. The message conveyed is that it is bread suitable for consumption at that time of day or consumed with that meal.

If a product is represented as a food that would replace a whole or complete meal, such as breakfast or dinner, it must meet specific requirements. See Meal Replacement for more information.

Risotto

The term "risotto" is defined in both English and French dictionaries as a rice cooked in meat or seafood stock and seasoned. Because the common name "risotto" is the name by which the product is generally known, it is acceptable without further explanation or clarification.

Shortbread

The common name "shortbread" in connection with biscuits and cookies is acceptable because it is recognized as a type of biscuit. No additional description is required as part of the common name.

Specialty bread

A separate standard exists for specialty breads [B.13.029, FDR] which provides for the use of ingredients that are either not permitted in the general standard for bread (such as fruits, nuts, seeds and flavours) or other ingredients (mostly various flours, meals and starches) that are permitted in greater amounts than in the general standard.

When a specialty bread complies with one of the other bread standards in Division 13 of the FDR, in addition to complying with the specialty bread standard [B.13.029, FDR], it must be labelled by the common name prescribed by the specific standard to which it complies. For example, bread containing 50% raisins by weight of the flour has to be called "Raisin Bread" since it meets the standard for raisin bread prescribed in B.13.025 of the FDR. The manufacturer does not have the option of calling such a bread "Fruit Bread" even though it meets the minimum fruit content required for "Fruit Bread" as specified in the Specialty Breads: Specialty Ingredients Table below.

The following table lists some of the common specialty breads and the acceptable common name along with the minimum content of the specialty ingredients:

Specialty Breads: Specialty Ingredients
Table I
Type of Bread
(Acceptable Common Name)
Specialty Ingredient Minimum amount of Specialty Ingredient as % of Flour
Graham Bread Graham Flour 150
Milk Bread Milk Solids 6 [B.13.022(d), FDR]
Potato Bread Potato Flour 5
Honey Bread Honey 5
Cheese Bread Cheese 12
Oatmeal Bread Oats 20
Cracked Wheat Bread Cracked Wheat 20
Wheat Germ Bread (Bread with Wheat Germ) Wheat Germ 2
Egg Bread Whole Egg Solids 1.5
Fruit Bread or Loaf Fruit 40
Triticale Bread Triticale Flour 20
Rye Bread Rye Flour 20
Spelt Bread Spelt Flour 20
Raisin Bread Seeded or Seedless Raisins 50 [B.13.025, FDR]
Raisin Bread A mixture of Raisins and Currants 35 for raisins [B.13.025, FDR]

The inclusion of the above specialty ingredients may also alter the nutritive value of the bread. If a company wishes to use a common name that reflects the change in the nutritive value, all requirements for the applicable nutrient content claim must be met. For example:

Unstandardized bread

Products resembling bread, but that do not meet the standard for bread due to ingredients or other differences, cannot be called bread.

Yeast is a mandatory ingredient in bread, therefore bread products made without yeast must state that yeast is not present in the common name or use an alternate common name. For example, the common name could either be "loaf" (e.g. Sprouted Wheat Loaf) or "Bread" in conjunction with a statement indicating how the product differs from the standard such as, "made without yeast" on the main panel (e.g. Sprouted Wheat Bread - made without yeast') or even "unleavened bread" for products like pitas, chapatis, etc.

It is unacceptable to use of the term bread for cracker type products such as "crisp bread" which are not made by yeast leavened dough, unless the word bread forms part of a single word common name. Therefore "crispbread", "flatbread", "croustipain", or "craquelin" are acceptable common names for a product that does not meet the standard for bread.

See Modified Standardized Common Names for more information on how to choose an appropriate common name for such products.

Flour

The common name of flour sold on its own or in the list of ingredients may be declared as "flour", "white flour", "enriched flour" or "enriched white flour". The vitamins and iron used to enrich the flour are required to be declared by the common name of their sources (unless a component declaration exemption applies), e.g., Thiamine hydrochloride (or mononitrate), riboflavin, niacin (or nicotinamide) and reduced iron.

Flour not meeting the grind size standard

If a flour product meets the compositional standard for flour except for the grind size, the common name "flour" may be modified to account for the coarser grind, for example "coarse flour", "coarse wheat flour" or "coarse bread flour" would all be acceptable common names for this product.

High fibre bread

In some instances, a high fibre ingredient is added to bread to increase its fibre content. When this added ingredient is not permitted in the bread standard, the resulting product cannot be described simply as bread. An acceptable common name would be "bread with added (name of the fibre source)" on the condition that the fibre source provides 2 g dietary fibre per serving. See the Dietary Fibre Claims for more information on permitted fibre claims.

Wild rice

Wild rice does not fall under the standard for rice [B.13.010, FDR] because it is considered to be a grass. However, "wild rice" is an appropriate common name for this food, including within the list of ingredients, as it is the name by which it is commonly known. As "wild" in this case refers to the type of food as opposed to how it was grown, it is acceptable whether the wild rice has been grown in a lake or in a paddy.

There is no Canadian requirement to distinguish on food labels wild rice grown in paddies from wild rice grown in lakes. However, it is acceptable to make such a distinction, when factual, e.g., "Canadian lake wild rice", "natural wild rice harvested from lakes", and other similar factual expressions.

List of ingredients – grain and bakery products

Component declaration exemption

Bread Crumbs and Toasted Wheat Crumbs

When "bread crumbs" or "(naming the bread) crumbs" are used as an ingredient in a food, they are exempt from component declaration if they are made from a single type of bread that meets a standard prescribed under B.13.021 to B.13.029 of the FDR. No form or shape of bread is stipulated in the component exemption [B.01.009(1), item 10, FDR].

When "bread crumbs" is used as a generic common name in the list of ingredients to refer to a mixture of crumbs of various types of bread, there is no component exemption.

Toasted wheat crumbs are exempt from component declaration only when they are used in or as a binder, filler or breading of a food product [B.01.009(1), item 36, FDR].

Refer to the Ingredients Exempt from Component Declaration Table in the Components section of the List of Ingredients page for a complete list of products exempt from component declaration in the list of ingredients and exceptions.

Alimentary Pastes

Alimentary paste made with tomato or spinach powder is, when used as an ingredient in another food, exempt from component listing under B.01.009(1), item 28 of the FDR, provided it does not contain any form of egg, or any flour other than wheat flour. Tomato and spinach powders are not considered to be "flour".

Refer to the Ingredients Exempt from Component Declaration Table in the Components section of the List of Ingredients page for a complete list of products exempt from component declaration in the list of ingredients and exceptions.

Enriched Flour

When enriched flour is used as an ingredient in any food, the vitamin and mineral nutrient components are not required to be declared in the list of ingredients [B.01.009, FDR]. If they are declared voluntarily in the list of ingredients, they are still exempt from declaration in the Nutrition Facts table [B.01.402(7), FDR], except if they are the subject of a claim.

For additional information, see to Reasons for Losing the Exemption.

Position of water in the list of ingredients

Many bakery products have water as an ingredient. The position of water in the list of ingredients can be based on the weight of the added water that remains in the food after processing. For example, if the moisture content of all ingredients, except water, prior to processing is 12% and the total moisture content of the finished product is 35%, the amount of added water that remains would be approximately 23% (35% minus 12%). Water should then appear in its proper place in the list of ingredients in descending order of proportion by weight, based on the 23% figure.

Net quantity – grain and bakery products

The net quantity of most grain and bakery products is to be declared by weight in metric units.

The SFCR requires the net quantity for consumer prepackaged food (definition) to be declared according to the established trade practices in some situations [231(b)(ii), SFCR]. You can find more information on established trade practices for net quantity declarations for foods such as fruit cakes, donuts and other grain and bakery products in the Established Trade practices table found in the When to Use Weight, Volume or Count section of the Net Quantity page.

Nutrition labelling – grain and bakery products

Serving size

Serving sizes are based on the product as sold and are closely aligned with regulated reference amounts. The Table of Reference Amounts for Food provides reference amounts on which most serving sizes are based, and instructions on how to determine and express the serving size to be declared in the Nutrition Facts table.

Serving sizes for grain and bakery products are found under different categories in the Table of Reference Amounts for Food. Below are required serving sizes for some common grain and bakery products.

Bread: For sliced bread, the serving size is based on 2 slices. The serving size reflects the way bread is typically eaten and is paired with the food's weight in grams [for example, "Per 2 slices (72 g)"].

For unsliced bread, the serving size is based on the number and thickness of the slice(s) or the fraction of the loaf that is closest in weight to the 75 gram reference amount [for example, "Per 2 - 2 cm slices (71 g)" or "Per 1/8 loaf (84 g)"] [Item A.1, Bakery Products, Table of Reference Amounts for Food].

Grains (Rice and Barley): For dry grains (such as rice and barley), the serving size is based on the number of tablespoons or fraction of a cup that is closest in weight in grams to the 45 gram reference amount [for example, "Per 4  tbsp (45 g)" or "Per ¼ cup (45 g)"].

When cooked, the serving size is based on the fraction of a cup or fraction of the package that is closest in weight in grams to the 140 gram reference amount [for example, "Per ¾ cup (140 g)" or "Per 1/3 package (140 g)"] [Item C.7, Cereals and Other Grain Products, Table of Reference Amounts for Food].

Bread crumbs: The serving size for bread crumbs is based on the fraction of the cup closest in weight in grams to the 30 gram reference amount [for example, "Per ¼ cup (30 g)"] [Item M.3, Miscellaneous Category, Table of Reference Amounts for Food].

For more information on reference amounts, refer to the reference amount section.

Fortification

Enriched flour and bread

Flour (which may also be called white flour, enriched flour or enriched white flour) must contain added thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and iron at the levels prescribed by regulation [B.13.001, FDR]. In addition, vitamin B6, d-pantothenic acid, magnesium and calcium may also be added to prescribed levels [B.13.001, FDR]. These added nutrients are not required to be declared in the Nutrition Facts table [B.01.402(7), FDR] unless they are the subject of a claim [B.01.402(4), FDR] (see also, Reasons for Losing the Exemption).

White bread and enriched bread are both made from enriched flour. The addition of vitamin and mineral nutrients directly to bread is not permitted by D.03.002 of the FDR. Therefore the minimum nutrient levels prescribed for enriched bread [B.13.022, FDR] are obtained via its ingredients.

Enriched Bread is required to contain per 100 parts (by mass) of flour, either two parts (by mass) of skim milk solids, or four parts (by mass) of whey powder, or sufficient protein from peas or soybeans to provide 0.5 parts (by mass) of protein per 100 parts of flour. This addition will be sufficient to provide the prescribed amount of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and iron. Enriched bread will also contain vitamin B6, d-pantothenic acid, magnesium and calcium when these are added to the flour.

Breakfast cereals

Breakfast cereals may contain added thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, iron, magnesium and zinc to levels specified by regulation [B.13.060, FDR]. The content of the added vitamins and minerals is required to be declared in the Nutrition Facts table [B.01.402(7), FDR].

Pasta

Pasta (alimentary paste) can be enriched with thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and iron, in accordance with the table following B.13.052 [B.13.052(2), FDR].

Couscous is considered a form of pasta and therefore may be enriched as specified by B.13.052 of the FDR. In any of the above cases, the added vitamins and minerals must be declared in Nutrition Facts table and expressed as percent of the Daily Value [B.01.402(7), FDR].

Advertising

Breakfast cereal

Advertisers should be careful when producing breakfast cereal advertisements, especially television commercials intended for children. Energy claims and physical actions exaggerated beyond the limits of credibility are considered particularly unacceptable when directed at children. Depiction of physical action in games requiring more skill than actual physical energy is not usually considered to be a violation, provided there is no suggestion that such actions are the result of consuming the product. For nutrient content claims for foods solely for children under two years of age, refer to Nutrient Content Claims on Foods Intended Solely for Children under Two Years of Age. Some health claims are prohibited on foods intended for children under two. Refer to Health Claims - Children Under Two Years of Age for more information.

Breakfast cereals are only one part of a good breakfast, and commercials or visual depictions should not give the impression that they constitute the whole meal or that they are the most important part of that meal.

See the Advertising page for more information.

Voluntary claims and statements

"Made with" statements

Enriched Flour

Buns or bakery products made from enriched flour but not meeting the enriched bread standard [B.13.022, FDR] may carry the statement "made from enriched flour". No other reference to enrichment should be made except that vitamins and minerals may be declared as components of the enriched flour.

Unbleached Flour

The statement "made with unbleached flour" on products containing azodicarbonamide, when added at permitted levels, is acceptable as it does not bleach the flour.

"Enriched" statements for pasta

Pasta (alimentary paste) can be identified as "enriched" only if it contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and iron, in accordance with the table following B.13.052 [B.13.052(2), FDR].

If the term "Enriched" is used as part of the common name for pasta in the list of ingredients it is no longer exempt from component declaration [B.01.009(1), item 28, FDR].

Multi-grain claims

Multi-grain products require two or more grains to be present in an amount of 2 % each or more. It is not required to state the grains, but if done, this must be done in a way that does not create an erroneous impression about the composition of the food. Acceptable options may include naming all of the grains or naming those present in the greatest amount and indicating there are others. Grains at less than 2% would not be counted as a significant amount. Refer to Highlighted Ingredients Claims for more information.

For the purpose of a multi-grain claim, the following is a non-exhaustive list of grains: Soybean, safflower (safflower seeds), peas, corn, flaxseed (linseed), wheat, rapeseed, oats, mustard seed, barley, beans, buckwheat, lentils, rye, favabeans, sunflower seeds, triticale, rice, wild rice, millet, sorghum, teff, amaranth, quinoa, and cottonseed.

Stone ground claims

The claim "Stone Ground" on products is acceptable for products that have been ground between two stones. This claim would not apply to products ground between metal and stone or metal and metal or product that is partially stone ground and partially steel ground. If steel grinding is also used "partially stone ground" would be acceptable.

Vitamin and mineral claims

Vitamin and mineral claims are permitted on bakery products made with enriched flour [D.01.006, D.02.004, FDR]. These claims must meet the requirements of D.01.004, D.01.007, D.02.002 and D.02.005 of the FDR. However, when a claim is made about these nutrients, they lose their exemption and must be declared within the Nutrition Facts Table [B.01.402(4) and B.01.402(7), FDR].

Refer to Vitamin and Mineral Nutrient Content Claims for more information.

Whole grain claims for cereal products

Due to different degrees of milling, cereal products and flours vary greatly in their nutritive value. Some milled or processed whole grain cereals, such as rolled oats and cracked wheat, retain most of their original nutritive value and can be described as "whole grain cereals" or "whole (name of the grain) cereal". Others, such as farina, corn meal, white rice, corn flakes and puffed cereals, which require more extensive processing are called "refined cereals". The claim "made from (name of the grain)" should not be used to describe a breakfast cereal that does not contain the whole grain and most of the original nutritive value of the whole grain.

Additional information

Information letters/policy updates

Related links

Definition

Consumer prepackaged food

Consumer prepackaged food means a food packaged in a container in the manner in which the food is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by an individual – or in which the food may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual – without being repackaged, to be used for non-commercial purposes [1, SFCR].

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