Consumers rely on food labelling to make informed purchase decisions that affect their daily eating habits. More specifically, the Nutrition Facts table provides a breakdown that can help them compare similar products to make these food choices. Restaurant goers can make similar decisions when reviewing nutritional information on menus, to select which meals will contribute to their daily calorie intake. Pet owners also need to review food nutrition labels to evaluate nutrient concentrations in dog and cat foods when making a decision on the optimal diet for their pets.
Nutritional Label Requirements
A nutritional label is mandatory for all prepackaged foods in Canada and the US and must follow a standard template:
Consumer packaged food must include:
- Nutrition Facts table – provides information on calories and 13 core nutrients, as well as their percent daily value (%DV). Nutritional values are based on the serving size indicated at the top. The label must include a footnote that explains how to interpret %DV, which can help consumers get a sense of what is too much or too little. It is also mandatory to declare the trans fat content on the label.
- Ingredients list – catalogues ingredients in order of highest to lowest quantity in the food product.
- Health claims or nutrition content claims – can include statements such as "no salt added" to increase interest in purchasing your food product.
- Front-of-package nutrition symbol – this is mandatory for most prepackaged foods in Canada that meet or exceed set levels for sodium, sugars or saturated fat.
Pet packaged food must include:
- Guaranteed analysis – advises pet food purchasers about the product’s nutrient content.
- AAFCO nutrient profile – required only for dog and cat food labels that declare the food to be 'complete and balanced.'
Bureau Veritas provides major global food manufacturers, grocery retailers, fast food operators and distributors with reliable nutritional labelling analyses. Our ISO 17025 accredited laboratory uses AOAC methodologies in compliance with labelling regulations for Canada and the US. Bureau Veritas offers nutritional analysis services in:
Consumer food testing – to help prepare a Canadian or US Nutrition Facts table, a proximate analysis for crude nutrient components, or a calorie breakdown. We have also partnered with the Nutrifacts Graphics division of Barcode Graphics to provide a label printing service following our analysis.
Pet food testing – to provide a 'guaranteed analysis' with minimum and maximum content percentages. We can also provide an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profile for either growth and reproduction formulas or for adult maintenance.
Specific nutrient testing – to provide a breakdown of vitamins, minerals, iodine, amino acids, a fatty acid profile and other nutrients based on your requirements.