Nutrition Facts Table for Food Labels

Nutrition Facts Table for Food Labels

Most prepackaged food products sold in Canada must have product labels, in accordance with the requirements of the customer protection for the Safe Food for Canadian regulations. The trickiest part is not the design or wording, but getting the accurate nutrition facts. So, the common questions now became how do I get the nutrition facts table for food labels?

There are many ways that you can get your Nutrition Facts Table for your food labels done. We will be discussing the pros and cons of each of these methods. Further, provide you with the resources to ensure you comply with the latest  Nutrition Facts Table (NFT) format for Canada. Note that the specific formats are in accordance with regulatory requirements, as of Oct 2021. Be sure to follow us on social media (link at the top right of the website or join our newsletter to ensure that you get a reminder for the NFT format changes.

Nutrition Facts Table Format

It is important to note that the format of NFT varies depending on the available display surface for your food products. CFIA has guidance on determining the right NFT format through this link.

The following information is mandatory for food labels:

  • Serving size
  • Energy value
  • Amount of fat
  • Amount of saturated fatty acids
  • Amount of trans-fatty acids
  • The sum of saturated fatty acids and trans-fatty acids
  • Amount of cholesterol
  • Amount of sodium
  • Amount of carbohydrate
  • Amount of sugar
  • Amount of fibre
  • Amount of protein
  • Amount of potassium
  • Amount of calcium
  • Amount of iron
  • % Daily value

Please be aware of the font size, type, bold/italic and weight/ volume sign to ensure that they meet the specific format. This link details these requirements.

How do you develop a  nutritional facts table?

There are three ways that you can develop a nutritional facts table information and they are summarized below:

  1. Lab analysis
  2. Database through online NFT generator or software
  3. US FDA or CFIA’s Nutrient Database followed by manual spreadsheet calculations.

Lab analysis

In this method, you will send your products to the local laboratory for nutrition analysis. The cost varies but it wouldn’t be cheap.

NFT Software Generator

The NFT Software Generator utilizes a combination of both public data such as CFIA or US FDA Nutrient Database and user-uploaded data (Nutrient information from supplier)  and product recipe to generate a nutrition facts table. In this method, considerations for processing are often not accounted for and therefore, the actual nutrient values may be more or less than the generated NFT information

Spreadsheet Calculations

This method is very similar to the NFT Software Generator but runs manually. These processes can be tedious and time-consuming.

Compromise:

Although software NFT generators are not the most accurate method, it is the closest and least costly. Unless you are relying on the NFT information for a specific nutritional claim, this method is the best compromise.

Do note that you also want to consider sending your products for regular lab testing on annual basis to determine the accuracy of the software information. It still saves you money because you are sending less product to the laboratory.

What can SFPM Consulting help you?

SFPM Consulting can help you generate an NFT using software or help guide you to the right laboratory to perform analysis for your food products.

We are also seeking NFT generators to partner with (see below), so you know exactly what you get. Hopeful for generous discount/trials.

P/s: We are looking for a software provider to work with, where we will review the software before recommending them to our clients. Interested? Contact us.

Exemption:

You love exemption, don’t you? The following are examples of food exempted from having an NFT:

  • a beverage with an alcohol content of more than 0.5% [B.01.401(2)(b)(i), FDR]
  • a product for which all the information set out in column 1 of the table following section B.01.401 in the FDR, other than in respect of item 1 (“Serving of stated size”), may be expressed as “0” in the Nutrition Facts table [B.01.401(2)(a), FDR]
  • raw single ingredient meat, meat by-product, poultry meat or poultry meat by-product [B.01.401(2)(b)(iii), FDR]
  • a raw, single-ingredient marine or freshwater animal product [B.01.401(2)(b)(iv), FDR]
  • sold only in the retail establishment where the product is prepared and processed from its ingredients, including from a pre-mix if an ingredient other than water is added to the pre-mix during the preparation and processing of the product [B.01.401(2)(b)(v), FDR]
  • sold only at a roadside stand, craft show, flea market, fair, farmers’ market or sugar bush by the individual who prepared and processed the product [B.01.401(2)(b)(vi), FDR]
  • an individual serving that is sold for immediate consumption and that has not been subjected to a process to extend its durable life, including special packaging [B.01.401(2)(b)(vii), FDR]
  • sold only in the retail establishment where the product is packaged, if the product is labelled by means of a sticker and has an available display surface (ADS) of less than 200 cm² [B.01.401(2)(b)(viii), FDR]

Resources:

Canadian Nutrient File (CNF). Food Nutrition Canada. Retrieved from https://food-nutrition.canada.ca/cnf-fce/index-eng.jsp.

Design Templates for Nutrition Facts List. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/technical-documents-labelling-requirements/design-templates-nutrition-facts-list-ingredients.html.

Food Usually Exempt from Carrying a Nutrition Facts Table. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Retrieved from https://inspection.canada.ca/food-label-requirements/labelling/industry/nutrition-labelling/exemptions/eng/1389198015395/1389198098450?chap=2

Food Data Central. US Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/.

Graphics and Technical Requirements within the Nutrition Facts Table. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Retrieved from https://inspection.canada.ca/food-label-requirements/labelling/industry/nutrition-labelling/presentation/eng/1387664849974/1387664998059?chap=1.

Nutrition Facts Table Formats. Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Retrieved from https://inspection.canada.ca/food-label-requirements/labelling/industry/nutrition-labelling/nutrition-facts-table-formats/eng/1389209684841/1389210023155.