CFIA Regulations for Flavours and Labeling

June 17, 2024

Explore the nuances of CFIA regulations for flavours in food products. Uncover key guidelines and requirements to ensure compliance and transparency in labeling

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has specific regulations and guidelines for naming flavours in food products to ensure transparency and prevent misleading consumers. These rules are part of the CFIA's broader regulations on food labeling, advertising, and composition to protect consumers and ensure they have accurate information about the products they purchase.

Key points regarding CFIA regulations for flavours:

Flavour Naming:

The name of a flavour should accurately reflect the true nature of the flavoring used in the product. If a flavour is derived from a specific source, that source should be clearly stated in the flavour name (e.g., "strawberry flavour").

Artificial and Natural Flavours:

There's a distinction between artificial and natural flavors. A flavour should be labeled as "artificial" or "artificially flavored" if it does not derive from the food item it is intended to mimic. Conversely, "natural flavour" refers to flavoring constituents extracted from plant or animal sources.

"Type" Flavours:

When a flavoring composition is designed to resemble a certain flavour but does not contain the flavoring components derived from the named food, the term "type" should be used in the name (e.g., "strawberry type flavour").

Use of the Word "Flavour":

The word "flavour" must appear on the label when a flavoring agent is used in the product. This applies even if the flavoring is derived from the characterizing food ingredient (e.g., "chocolate flavored" for a product using chocolate flavoring in addition to chocolate).

Composite Flavours:

If a product contains a blend of flavors, and no single flavour dominates, it may be labeled as a "flavored" product without specifying each component (e.g., "fruit flavored"), provided it gives an accurate overall impression of the product. However, if all flavors are artificial, it should be labeled as "artificially flavored."

Flavour Descriptors:

Descriptive terms may be used alongside the flavour name if they accurately describe the product's flavour profile (e.g., "rich," "creamy"). However, these descriptors should not mislead consumers about the product's true nature.

Iconography and Imagery:

Images or icons of fruits or other flavour sources on the packaging should not mislead consumers about the product's actual flavour composition. For example, depicting a strawberry on a package when the product has no strawberry-derived ingredients would be misleading unless appropriately qualified.

It's important to note that CFIA regulations and guidelines for flavours are subject to updates and changes. Food manufacturers and marketers should refer to the latest CFIA documentation or consult directly with the CFIA to ensure compliance with current standards and regulations for naming flavours and other labeling requirements.