Language selection

Search

Notice

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency website is currently experiencing intermittent outages.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and would like to thank you for your cooperation.

Nutrition labelling compliance test
Appendix 4 - Laboratory issues

Methods of analysis

CFIA conducts laboratory tests to verify the accuracy of nutrition information. Methods of analysis currently used by the CFIA appear in the table below. The CFIA does not require other laboratories to use these methods.

It is recommended that manufacturers rely on laboratory testing to verify their own label declarations. The methods of analysis recommended are those published in the most recent version of the Official methods of analysis of AOAC International wherever possible. Other collaboratively studied methods such as those published by the American Oil Chemists' Society, American Association of Cereal Chemists, ISO, etc. would also be considered appropriate. In house or journal methods with adequate method validation data are another possible option for method selection. Methods should be validated for the food matrix being analyzed.

Laboratory accreditation

Laboratories in Canada are accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) and not by CFIA. Accredited laboratories will have a list of methods as part of their scope of accreditation. These methods are those considered by SCC and CALA during the accreditation process. When choosing accredited laboratories, the tests provided should be contained in their scope of accreditation. Laboratories should also strive to subscribe to proficiency testing schemes for each method listed in their scope.

Choice of laboratory

CFIA recommends the selection of laboratories that are accredited to ISO 17025 standards by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA). CFIA cannot impose the use of only SCC accredited labs but recommends them as a first choice. ISO 17025 accredited laboratories from other countries would also be recommended. Company quality assurance laboratories using validated methods can also be used.

A list of accredited laboratories can be accessed through the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) web sites.

Table: Methods of analysis used by CFIA - Nutrition Facts table information

Nutrient Table note 19 Analytical method Table note 20 Technique
Calories

LCAQ-040: Energy content

Reference: Atwater Factors

Application of appropriate factors to fat, protein, fibre and carbohydrate (may be adjusted for sugar alcohols and polydextrose)
Fat

LCAQ-034: Determination of fatty acids in foods by gas chromatography

Reference: AOAC 996.06 Table note 21

Gas chromatography-flame ionization detector (GC-FID)

Fatty acids:

Saturated
trans
Monounsaturated
Polyunsaturated
Omega-3 polyunsaturated
Omega-6 polyunsaturated

LCAQ-034: Determination of fatty acids in foods by gas chromatography

Reference: AOAC 996.06 Table note 21

GC-FID
Cholesterol

LCAQ-035: Analysis of cholesterol in foods by gas chromatography

Reference: AOAC 994.10 Table note 21

GC-FID
Carbohydrate

LCAQ-040: Determination of carbohydrates by difference

Carbohydrate = Total solids - (ash + protein + fat)

Carbohydrate by difference
Fibre AOAC 2009.01 Table note 21: Total dietary fibre in foods Enzymatic - gravimetric / high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
Sugars LCAQ-103: Determination of 12 sugars in various foodstuffs by HPLC-RID HPLC with refractive index detector
Protein

LCAQ-098: Determination of protein in foods by combustion - Dumas principle

Reference: ISO 14891 - Determination of nitrogen content using the Dumas principle

Combustion instrument
Vitamin A

LCAQ-002: Determination of vitamin A in foods by HPLC

Reference: AOAC 992.04 Table note 21

Normal phase HPLC with diode-array detector (DAD)
LCAQ-097: HPLC determination of beta-carotene Reversed phase
HPLC-DAD

LCAQ-110: Determination of vitamin A in milk by HPLC

Reference: AOAC 2002.06 Table note 21

Normal phase
HPLC-DAD
Vitamin C

LCAQ-001: Determination of vitamin C in foods by HPLC

Reference: Hidiroglou, N., R. Madere, and W. Behrens. Electrochemical determination of ascorbic acid and isoascorbic acid in ground meat and in processed foods by high pressure liquid chromatography, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 1998, 11, 89-96

HPLC with electrochemical detector
Vitamin D

LCAQ-112: Analysis of vitamin D in foods by UHPLC-MS/MS

Reference: AOAC 2011.11 Table note 21

Reversed phase ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) with triple quadruple (QQQ) mass spectrometer (MS/MS)
Vitamin E

LCAQ-094: Determination of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) in foods by HPLC

Reference: Determination of vitamins A (retinol) and E (alpha-tocopherol) in foods by liquid chromatography, Journal of AOAC International, 2002, Vol. 85, No. 2

Reversed phase
HPLC with fluorescence detection

Mineral nutrients:

Sodium
Potassium
Magnesium
Phosphorus
Calcium
Iron
Copper
Zinc
Manganese

LCAQ-102: Determination of minerals in food by ICP-MS

Reference 1: Wu, S., Feng, X., and Wittmeir, A. Microwave digestion of plant and grain reference materials in nitric acid or a mixture of nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide for the determination of multi-elements by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 1997, 12:797-806

Reference 2: Dolan, S.P. and Capar, Stephen G. Multi-element analysis of food by microwave digestion and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry, Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 2002, 15:593-615

Microwave digestion / inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry
(ICP-MS)

Table notes

Table note 19

See Food and Drug Regulations sections B.01.001 and D.01.003 for nutrients definitions

Return to table note 19 referrer

Table note 20

Although CFIA methods use the same analytical principles, they are slightly different from the reference methods. Modifications have been made for regulatory compliance purposes.

Return to table note 20 referrer

Table note 21

Official methods of analysis of AOAC International, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

Return to first table note 21 referrer

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: