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All You Need to Know about Differences Between US and Canadian Food Labeling


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The United States and Canada are two neighboring countries but have a lot of differences in their cultures especially because of the influence of their friends and neighbors. This doesn’t stop with this factor but expands to almost all other areas as well. When you buy some packaged food from the United States of America and look at its label, you may think that Canadian food labels will be just like this, but this is not the case.

The nutritional tables and food labeling containing information about food and what it includes are all different. There may be some similarities but if you want no mistakes or confusion, you better know the differences between the US and Canadian food labeling. We have gathered all these factors in this article but you can save yourself from these hassles by taking services of Meal Kits Delivery while sitting at your home.

Food Label Language

The first thing to talk about is the language used for food labeling. The official language of the United States is English and this is the only language used on food labeling printing. In Canada, French and English are two official languages and they have to make labels in both languages so that people of all cultures and languages can read them. 

Label Pattern

In the United States of America, there are no essentials but they have a bunch of requirements that need to be met. You can take a look at these requirements for each element by contacting a representative or searching online about the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) and their Processed Product Regulations (PPR).

In Canada, they have listed five major components of the label patterns that have to be in the label for it to get approval. The list includes:

  1. Statement of identity
  2. Net contents
  3. Nutrition facts
  4. Ingredient information 
  5. Distributor clause

Approved Food Ingredients & Additives

The US and Canada have different rules and regulations when it comes to the approval of ingredients used in food. Not all ingredients approved in the US are allowed to be used in Canada. Canada has a specific list of approved food additives which is part of their rules.

You can only use ingredients in your food products as specified by their regulations. Canadians keep on updating the list of approved ingredients and additives. Still, there are many differences between the two countries such as,

  • Some artificial colors are prohibited in Canada while they are widely used in the US. 
  • You can increase or decrease the number and amount of ingredients in the USA but have to follow a given scale in Canada. 
  • Some artificial flavors are restricted in Canada while they can be used in the US. 
  • In the US, you can add any kind of flavor component to foods but you are bound to follow the list in Canada. 
  • The US allows manufacturers to tweak many versions of the same flavors but Canada doesn’t entertain this practice. 
  • Many dietary fiber sources are being evaluated by the United States while Canada has approved them.

Names of Ingredients

In the US, the same ingredients may be mentioned with different names and synonyms on different products. Canada restricts its food manufacturers from using different ingredients names or amounts.

So, it is clear that the US will have different names for the same ingredients while Canada will have a single name for an ingredient in all kinds of products.

Inclusion of Vitamins and Minerals

Just because Canada is very strict in terms of only using the approved food additives, they keep an eye on the inclusion of vitamins and minerals and food products. In the US, you can add minerals and vitamins to packaged food without any issues but in Canada, you will have to take permission, registrations, and licensure from the Canadian food monitoring authority before using them in food packages. 

Prohibited Substances and Allergic Ingredients 

This is a very interesting thing to note that prohibited substances as they can cause allergies are different in the United States and Canada. You cannot add Gluten and Wheat to your food products in Canada as they are considered allergic while Gluten is widely used in the United States without any warning.

You need to visit a food advisory department or search online for the list.  For some reason, if you want any of the allergic substances used, you will have to talk to a government representative in the food sector. 

Measuring Scale and UInits

It is mentioned above that the amount of the ingredients is told by the Canadian government but the measuring scale and units also differ in US and Canada. The US prefers any traditional measuring scale or units to measure and label the amount of the ingredients on the food packages.

However, in Canada, the measuring scales, weights, and volumes should be metric. It can be said that Canada is a bit strict when it comes to the number and amount of ingredients being added to food products. 

Nutrition Facts Panel

When it comes to nutrition facts, the patterns and labeling are almost the same except for the contents that are mentioned. The Canadian government requires its manufacturers to include “Added Sugars” while they are not mandatory in US labels. Apart from this, the minerals, vitamins, and other graphic elements are almost the same in both countries labeled.

Nutritional Content Perfectanges

The percentages of each vitamin, mineral or any other nutrient differ in the US and Canada. They have different set percentages depending on the health conditions and likes/dislikes of their countries’ populations. You need to check the recommended percentages for each nutritional content in both countries before including them in the food. 

The Bottom Line

So, keep this fact in mind that you cannot just convert a French Canadian label into English and consider it as a US food label. There are a lot more elements in their parts as mentioned above. The rules and regulations vary in both countries so it is always a good idea to do thorough research about your specific food products before starting to make or put them on the market.

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