Food Labelling for Consumers

Consumers can use food labels to make more informed choices about the food they purchase.

Both Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are responsible for food labelling in Canada.

In this section you will learn how to read a food label, and receive information on certain parts of the label, including best before dates and country of origin labelling. For more detailed information on the Nutrition Facts table, ingredient list, and nutrition claims, visit the Healthy Canadians website.

Interactive Tools

A 500grams container of Greek yogourt at the front with a box of oatmeal cereal to the left and a 1.25 Litre carton of orange juice to the right.

Interactive tool - Understanding a Food Label

The food label is one of the most important tools Canadian Consumers can use to make informed choices about healthy and safe foods.

a rectangular box of chocolate chip cookies

Interactive tool - Food Label Requirements

This interactive image of a food product label depicts the mandatory information and requirements for certain voluntary information such as claims and brand names.


A closer view of the country of origin claim on a food label, the claim is as follows: Prepared in Canada/ Préparé au Canada.

Country of Origin Labelling for Food Products

In Canada, there are mandatory requirement for certain food products to indicate the country of origin on their labels. Companies may also make voluntary claims to highlight the origins of a product or ingredient in a product.

A closer view of the best before date on the top of an orange juice carton, the best before date is as follows: 2014 March 30.

Date Labelling on Pre-packaged Foods

Information about dates on pre-packaged food is a valuable source of information for consumers. A basic understanding of what terms are used can help you to better understand these labels.

The irradiation symbol.

Food Irradiation

Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to a controlled amount of energy called "ionizing radiation." Ionizing radiation can penetrate food, killing microorganisms without raising the temperature of the food significantly.

An assortment of the following nuts: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts and peanuts.

Food Allergies and Allergen Labelling

The CFIA enforces Canada's allergen labelling laws and works with associations, distributors, food manufacturers and importers to ensure complete and appropriate allergen labelling of all foods.

A man in a farm field, holding a crate containing zucchinis, peppers, aubergines and green leafy lettuce.

Labelling of Genetically Engineered Foods in Canada

There have been three major consultations since 1993 in Canada on the labelling of novel foods derived from genetic engineering. Based on these consultations, a set of guidelines were developed.

A green apple to the left with three strawberries on the right and one bunch of red grapes in the back.

Oral Allergy Syndrome

Oral allergy syndrome is an allergic reaction to certain proteins in fruit, vegetables and nuts. This condition is called "oral allergy syndrome" because it usually affects the mouth and throat.

A woman and a child in front of a grocery cart in the bakery section of a grocery store. The woman is putting a baguette in the cart.

Shopping for Canadian Food

As a consumer, you may want to know when you're buying food that has been grown in Canada or made in Canada. That's why the food labels "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" are so important.


Additional Information

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