How must calorie information be determined?

Calorie information must be determined by:

  • laboratory testing; or
  • a nutrient analysis method.

The person who owns or operates a regulated food service premises must reasonably believe the method for determining calories will provide accurate results. Calorie information may be derived from nutritional information provided in cookbooks or using supplier information, if the information was determined by laboratory testing or a nutrient analysis method.

When investigating the accuracy of calorie information, inspectors will be encouraged to take into consideration evidence presented by a business regarding how caloric content was determined to assess whether the method that was used was reasonable.

Health Canada has developed a guide for determining accurate nutrition information of food and beverage items to assist users in developing accurate nutrient values. This guide may be useful for regulated food service premises when determining accurate calorie information for their food and beverage items.

How must calories be determined for menu items that slightly differ in size?

For food items that vary slightly in size (e.g. a chicken thigh) because of natural variability, calories must be determined for the average size of the item. For example, chicken legs slightly vary in size based on the size of the chicken; however, calories must be posted for the average chicken leg sold.

How must calories be determined for menu items that differ slightly due to availability of ingredients?

When a standard food item is offered for sale for more than 90 days in the year, consecutively or non-consecutively, and its composition varies according to availability of ingredients:

  • If the menu label or tag does not list the flavours or varieties of the standard food item according to the ingredients, a range can be used.
  • If the menu label or tag, lists the specific flavours or varieties, then the number of calories for each flavour or variety must be displayed.

The 90 day exemption in subsection 2 (2) of the Regulation refers to items that are offered for sale for less than 90 days per calendar year. This pertains to the availability of an item for a period of time shorter than 90 days, but does not make reference to the ingredients/composition of the item (e.g. a quinoa salad that is made with red peppers instead of carrots because of availability of ingredients).