Information within the Nutrition Facts Table
Declaring Nutrition Information in the Nutrition Facts Table
Values Declared in the Nutrition Facts Table
The CFIA uses the Nutrition Labelling Compliance Test to assess the accuracy of the nutrient values on food labels and in advertising via laboratory analysis.
It is the company's responsibility to ensure that the nutrient values presented in the NFt are accurate. There are different ways to generate these values including the use of validated analytical methods by laboratories or calculation by using credible databases or software. Lab analysis is generally the most accurate method of determining the nutritional profile of a given food,; however, calculation may also be used if the manufacturer is confident that the results are accurate. The manufacturer must take into account various factors when choosing how to determine the nutrition values including the nature of the food, possible processing losses, seasonal variations, geographical variations, variable formulations, and so forth. The manufacturer should choose the risk management strategy best suited to the foods to be labelled.
To analyze a product, the CFIA recommends using an accredited laboratory that uses validated methods for the food to be analyzed. The methods should be listed on the laboratory's scope of accreditation. 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.
The Food and Drug Regulations do not set out which lab methods are to be used to determine the nutrition values to include in the Nutrition Facts table. In assessing compliance, the CFIA currently uses accredited methods that are based on AOAC standard methods or are in-house developed and validated in accordance with internationally accepted guidelines. As new methodologies become available, the CFIA develops and validates new test procedures for nutritional evaluation. The methods should be validated for the foods being analyzed.
A list of validated laboratory methods and techniques can be found in Appendix 4 of CFIA's Nutrition Labelling Compliance Test.
The CFIA will not be approving or recognizing any database values or systems for use in generating nutrition data on foods. Manufacturers should research the available options if they choose to use databases or calculation software and ensure that the values generated accurately reflect the nutritional profile of the food being represented. In general, some analyses are recommended to verify the accuracy of the calculations resulting from the use of a database.
For more information on getting accurate nutrient values, refer to Health Canada's Guide to Developing Accurate Nutrient Values.
For more information on specific values found in the NFt, please refer to the section Elements within the Nutrition Facts Table.
Figures are rounded according to the rules outlined in the Core Nutrition Information Table and the Additional Nutrition Information Table, which correspond to column 4 of the table following B.01.401 and of the table following B.01.402 in the FDR, respectively.
Some general rounding rules to note:
- When the first decimal place beyond the required number of significant figures is less than five, round the final significant figure downward by one unit (e.g. 984.49 rounds down to become 984)
- When the first decimal place beyond the required number of significant figures is five or greater, round the final significant figure upward by one unit (e.g. 984.50 rounds up to become 985)
- For vitamin and mineral nutrients (e.g., sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, thiamin, niacin), rounding of the amount, by weight, must be done before the calculation of the % daily value (% DV) [B.01.401(1.2), B.01.402(2.2) FDR]
- For macronutrients (i.e., fat, fibre, sugars, cholesterol and the sum of saturated and trans fat), the % DV calculation can be done using the rounded or unrounded amount, by weight.
- Although companies may decide to round the amounts, by weight, of macronutrients either before or after the calculation of the % DV, they are also responsible for meeting the Nutrition Labelling Compliance Test.
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