Ask an Analyst - Food and Non-alcoholic Beverage Broadcast Advertising

Our answers pertain to the following:

  • Broadcast advertising under the Food and Drugs Act & Regulations
  • The Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising

Question:

How do I know when I can expect a response to my submission from Ad Standards?

Answer:

On your confirmation email you will find the Ad Standards response date in your submission details. You can also find the due date by going to your online submission home page and clicking on the submission number. This will take you to the submission details.

 

Question:

I was asked to provide to Ad Standards a letter of attestation for claims in my script. What should this letter include?

Answers:

Most often, a letter of attestation confirms that the advertiser has valid, accurate, statistically significant and up-to-date data to support the claims in their script. The attestation should refer to the specific claim or claims identified in Ad Standards' comments. The attestation must be signed by an authorized senior representative of the advertiser on company letterhead.

 

Question:

I would like to make a health claim for a food product. How do I know which health claims are permissible?

Answer:

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising provides information on what is acceptable in food advertising. Chapter 8 of the Guide specifically addresses this by explaining the conditions for making a health claim, specific permissible health claims and wording, and other necessary information. Please see the CFIA website for access to the Guide.

 

Question:

I have a client who wants to make a “gluten free” claim.  What documentation will they need to supply in order to get a food clearance number?

Answer: 

On August 4, 2012, Canada’s new food allergen labelling regulations came into force. For more information on the new regulations, click here. The labelling requirements of these regulatory amendments apply to every advertiser wishing to make a gluten free claim. It is the responsibility of the advertiser to ensure that any existing approved advertising that includes “gluten free” claims is amended to conform with the new regulations and resubmitted to Ad Standards.

In the case of prepackaged foods, the advertiser should supply complete product packaging, including the ingredient list and Nutrition Facts panel.

In the case of bulk foods, meats prepared on retail premises and restaurants (or other such commercial enterprises), an advertiser would need to attest to meeting the requirements outlined in B.24.018 and confirm that the Nutrition Facts would be displayed on the item claiming to be gluten free (any exemption on displaying a Nutrition Facts panel permitted by B.01.401(2) no longer applies when a food is represented as "gluten free”).

 

Question:

Can you say "BPA Free", in relation to water bottles, without clearance?

Answer:

While BPA is not an ingredient in the food itself, it can be present in the food through leaching. If you are advertising “bottled water”, water is considered a food and the absence of BPA claim would require clearance. If you are advertising “water bottles”, then the advertisement wouldn’t require clearance as you are not advertising a food product.

 

Question: 

We're working with a local health food store owner who wishes to promote his business as "your gluten-free store" or "gluten-free headquarters". Since he wants to promote his variety, and not a specific food product, is this use of the term "gluten-free" acceptable?

Answer:

In order to make a claim that a product is “gluten-free”, the food must comply with the requirements in Health Canada's Food Allergen Labelling Regulations. Similarly, in order for a store to promote itself as gluten-free, the foods offered must comply with the same “gluten-free” requirements.

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Ad Standards Disclaimer

Finally, there are a few important points to remember. First, Ad Standards' brief answers to your questions do not replace, and don’t carry the same weight as, Ad Standards' formal response to the advertising material you submit to us for approval. You must still submit advertisements for approval. To be safe, be sure to submit them to us before, not after, you’ve produced the advertising. Second, it’s not possible for Ad Standards to provide totally comprehensive and all-inclusive answers to your questions. What you’ll read here are specific answers from us to your specific questions. Even a slight change in the facts could alter our response. And third, it should be understood that our answers to your questions are intended to provide nothing more than guidance. In the same vein, Ad Standards disclaims liability for any errors, inconsistencies or omissions.

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