Food Contact

How to Comply with Food Contact Regulations in Canada

Little Pro on 2018-04-11

In Canada, there is no official positive list of substances or additives that are permitted for use in manufacturing food contact materials or articles. There is no mandatory food contact notification or testing requirement either. If you place food contact materials on Canadian market, you will need to assure your customers that they are compliant with relevant food contact regulations. In this article, we will give you an overview of food contact regulations in Canada and summarize how to comply.

Overview of Food Contact Regulations in Canada

In Canada, food packaging materials are governed by the Section B.23.001 of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.  Under this legislation, it is the responsibility of the food seller (manufacturer, distributor) to ensure the safety of packaging material and compliance wit the Section B.23.001 of the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations. Manufacturers and suppliers of food packaging materials or additives do not have direct compliance responsibility. However, they can request, on a voluntary basis, a pre-market assessment of their products from Health Canada and get a letter of no objection (LONO) to show compliance. 

Note: There is a mandatory requirement for Health Canada to review food contact materials used to package infant formula (Division 25), foods for special dietary use (Division 24) and novel foods (Division 28).

Information Requirements for Pre-market Assessment 

In order to apply for the pre-market assessment, suppliers of formulated product or a finished packaging article shall submit the following info:

Required Info Details
Product identity
  • Trade name and number (mostly for records purposes)
  • Structure (eg. laminate)
  • Composition
  • Specifications
  • Chemical/physical properties relative to proposed use
Proposed usage
  • Form of finished package (eg. bottle, film, casing, etc.)
  • Dimensions of package (volume, wall thickness, etc.)
  • Packaging ratio, i.e. weight of food/unit area of packaging material (g/in2) Conditions (time, temperature) to which packaging article will be exposed during packaging, distribution and use by consumers
  • Estimate of projected market penetration

More info is required for the assessment of specific constituents or single additives. The extra info includes simulated migration testing data and toxicological data. If the formulated product or finished article contains new components that have never been reviewed before, additional info such as migration data and toxicological data for the new ingredients will also be needed.

More info about the information requirements can be found here.

Is the Letter of No Objection Always Necessary?

Answer is no. The request for pre-market assessment and the letter of no objection is submitted on a voluntary basis. If you are confident that your food contact material is safe for its intended use, there is no need to request the letter of no objection.

Food Directorate Positive Lists of Polymers

The Food Directorate of the Health Canada maintains positive lists of polymers for which letters of no objection have been issued for use in food packaging and other food contact applications. Those listed polymers do not need the letter of no objection if suppliers can demonstrate equivalence. 

The lists include the trade name and grade of each polymer, its manufacturer, the date on which the no objection letter was issued and details of any limitations imposed on its food packaging uses. They can be requested by email. Click here for contact info.

How to Demonstrate Compliance with Food Contact Regulations in Canada

Who How
Manufacturer and supplier of food contact additive
  • Check if additives have been permitted for use in a specific type of food contact materials or articles (i.e, EU, USA).
  • If not, submit a request for pre-market assessment (recommended)
Manufacturer of food contact materials and articles
  • Check if raw materials (additives, resins) have been permitted for use in the production of a specific type of food contact materials or articles in EU and USA
  • Check if polymers have been approved for use
  • If not, submit a request for pre-market assessment (recommended)
  • Provide enough product information to downstream users including the declaration of compliance and labelling.
Food packaging or food companies
  • Request enough product information from the supplier of food contact materials and articles including the declaration of compliance (DoC).
  • Conduct migration testing to verify compliance if necessary.


Regulations for Food Packaging Materials - Canada Government

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 Tags: Topics - Food ContactFood Contact Regulations