April 2015

What's the buzz? Natural, Organic, Non-GMO?

Welcome to our E-Newsletter, your “one-stop” for the information you need to ensure success in the Canadian market. Learn about current issues and how they may affect your business, what’s new at Source Nutraceutical, Inc., how we can help you and where you can find us.



In 2013 Packaged Facts predicted that “US retail sales of non-GMO foods and beverages are projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 12.9% in the next five years, and could represent 30% of the market with a value of $264bn in 2017.” They further added that should mandatory labelling of GM foods come into effect the market share for non-GMO foods and beverages could go as high as 40%.


The Non-GMO Project, currently the only organization offering independent verification of testing and GMO controls for products in the U.S. and Canada boasted of more than 20,000 verified products and 2,200 participating brands in 2014 with upwards of $8.5 billion in sales.

Whether it’s based on science or on fear consumers are increasingly making the move towards natural, organic and non-GMO containing foods and beverages. Do you know the requirements for the labelling of these types of products? The following is a general primer on labelling requirements for natural, organic and non-GMO claims. Contact Source Nutraceutical today for specific labelling requirements for your products (regulatory@sourcenutra.ca).

natural_photoWHAT DOES “NATURAL” MEAN?

In Canada, according to the CFIA Food Labelling Guide, “Labels and advertisements should not convey the impression that “Nature” has, by some miraculous process, made some foods nutritionally superior to others or has engineered some foods specially to take care of human needs.”

This means that foods or ingredients of foods represented as “natural” cannot contain added vitamins, minerals, artificial flavourings or food additives; cannot have had any constituent or fraction thereof removed or significantly changed, except the removal of water and cannot have been submitted to processes that have significantly altered their original physical, chemical or biological state.

In the United States the word “natural” has not been defined by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA); however, the FDA has not objected to its use on foods that do not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. But beware of disgruntled consumers claiming that they have been misled by “all natural” claims and filing lawsuits against offending companies.

organic_photoWHAT DOES “ORGANIC” MEAN?

The claim “organic” is regulated both in Canada (Organic Products Regulations, 2009) and in the United States (Organic Foods Production Act & National Organic Program).

The use of the word “Organic” indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Organic practices prohibit the use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering. Products must be certified organic by accredited certification bodies recognized by the regulatory authorities where the product is sold. Organic labelling requirements are country specific.

non-gmo_photoWHAT DOES “NON-GMO” MEAN?

“Genetic engineering” refers to techniques by which the genetic material of an organism is changed in a way that does not occur naturally by multiplication and/or natural recombination. There are no regulations per say around the labelling of genetically and non-genetically foods in Canada however, there is national standard that is required to be followed if claims are made. The standard entitled “Voluntary Labelling and Advertising of Foods that are and are not Products of Genetic Engineering” is maintained by the Canadian General Standards Board. In general, permitted claims must be truthful, not misleading or deceptive and not likely to create an erroneous impression of a food’s character, value, composition, merit or safety. For example, a claim cannot be made that a food is not a product of genetic engineering unless there are equivalent products on the market that are genetically engineered, or unless a qualifying statement is made, e.g. “like all other oranges, these oranges are not a product of genetic engineering”.

In 2001 the FDA published their DRAFT Guidance for Industry: Voluntary Labeling Indicating Whether Foods Have or Have Not Been Developed Using Bioengineering, however it does not appear to have progressed since then with the document containing “nonbinding recommendations”. Numerous states have proposed mandatory labelling laws for GMO containing foods but have met with stiff opposition. No matter what claims are being made you must be able to substantiate them.


Imported products have been found to contain cumin with undeclared peanut protein. Consumers with peanut allergies are being advised to avoid all foods containing cumin. Although cumin (and thus peanut protein) is typically present in low amounts a life threatening reaction could be triggered by ingestion of even small amounts of peanut protein. Products manufactured prior to 2014 are unlikely to contain the affected cumin.

Do you have confidence in the integrity of your raw materials and finished products? Have you identified all potential safety issues and put controls in place?


Source Nutraceutical knows the ins and outs of the Canadian regulations for all consumer products. Contact us today (regulatory@sourcenutra.ca) and let us help you make the regulations work
for your products.

Whatever your regulatory, packaging and/or fulfillment needs are- contact Source Nutraceutical today to learn how we can help you achieve brand success and market penetration in 2015 (info@sourcenutra.ca).

Source Nutraceutical, Inc. is your “one-stop-solution” for strategic consulting, regulatory compliance, clinical trials, graphic design, bilingual labelling and importation and fulfillment services for foods, natural health products, cosmetics, medical devices and pharmaceutical products in Canada. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get your products to market quickly, compliantly and cost effectively.


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