Health Canada has recently concluded that the scientific evidence exists to support a claim about soy protein and the lowering of blood cholesterol. The proposed health claim will be available for foods or food ingredients that contain proteins derived from the soybean including soy beverages, tofu, miso, tempeh, natto, soy cheese, soy nuts, isolated soy protein (ISP), soy protein concentrate (SPC), textured soy protein (TSP) and soy flour (SF).  Excluded from the claim are soy sauce and soybean oil because they do not have substantial amounts of soy protein.

The Food and Drug Regulations (the “Regulations”) set out the conditions that foods containing soy protein are required to meet to make this new health claim.  Some of the conditions include, amongst others, that the food:

  • contain at least 6 g of soy protein per reference amount and per serving of stated size,
  • contain 100 mg or less of cholesterol per 100 g of food, and
  • must meet the conditions for “free of saturated fatty acids” or “low in saturated fatty acids”, and
  • must meet the conditions for “source of protein” such that the food has a Reasonable Daily Intake of protein rating of 20 or more. 

The Regulations prescribe both the primary and secondary statements that may be made in labelling and advertising of food products meeting the qualifying criteria.  The following is the format of the primary statement.

[Serving size from Nutrition Facts table in metric and common household measures] of (brand name) [name of food] supplies/provides X% of the daily amount of soy protein shown to help reduce/lower cholesterol.

The “daily amount” is 25 g of soy protein, which is based on the evidence available concerning the amount of soy protein shown to help reduce cholesterol. The percentage is to be rounded to the nearest multiple of 5%.

The following additional statements may be placed adjacent to the primary statement, in letters up to twice the size and prominence of those in the primary statement:

  • Soy protein helps reduce/lower cholesterol
  • High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease
  • Soy protein helps reduce/lower cholesterol, (which is) a risk factor for heart disease