June 17, 2014


Canada announces new halal food labelling regulations



The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has unveiled new regulations for the labelling of halal food products which include the naming of the certifying body.


The regulations apply to halal claims on food labels, packaging or advertising material but will not come into force until April 2016.


The Rationale section of these regulations explains the development as a result of Canadian Muslims wanting the CFIA to establish regulatory controls over halal products through a standard. Regulating halal products through a standard has not been feasible as there is currently no consensus among stakeholders on a common standard. The CFIA is therefore establishing regulatory requirements that will assist in providing consumers with sufficient information to choose their halal products based on what fits their definition of halal.


Some businesses are already voluntarily adding the halal claim on product labels and demanding certification as part of their marketing strategies. As a result, the requirement to name the certifying party is expected to add a small cost to the industry. Also, a two-year implementation delay will give businesses time to adjust to this new requirement and therefore further minimise any impacts.


In 2013, Canada was the second-largest destination for US beef exports in terms of volume (173,030 tonnes) and second-largest by value (US$1.17 billion). For US lamb variety meat, Canada ranked second in both volume (2,497 tonnes) and value (US$5.96 million). While halal-certified products made up a small percentage of these totals, they are of growing interest to Canadian importers and distributors.

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