Date Markings and Storage Instructions
Manner of Declaring

This page is part of the Guidance Document Repository (GDR).

Looking for related documents?
Search for related documents in the Guidance Document Repository

Format

Durable life dates must be identified using the words "best before" and "meilleur avant". The words and symbols associated with the packaging date are the same as those prescribed for the durable life date except that the words "packaged on" and "empaqueté le" replace "best before" and "meilleur avant" [B.01.007(1.2), FDR].

In displaying the actual date, the year is shown first. Showing the year is only mandatory when its declaration is needed for the sake of clarity (e.g., when the durable life goes into the next year). In this case, it is expressed by at least the last two numbers of the year [B.01.007 (4)(b), FDR].

The month shall be shown in words after the year (if the year is shown). The month must be in both French and English on consumer packages or indicated by using the specified bilingual symbols [B.01.007(4)(c), FDR].

The bilingual symbols for the months in the durable life date are as follows [B.01.007(5), FDR]:

JA for January
FE for February
MR for March
AL for April
MA for May
JN for June
JL for July
AU for August
SE for September
OC for October
NO for November
DE for December

The day of the month is required to be shown after the month, expressed in numbers [B.01.007(4)(d), FDR].

Language

"Best before" dates and storage instructions (where applicable) or "packaged on" dates and durable life information must be bilingual on consumer packages (unless the product qualifies for exemption from bilingual labelling). Durable life information on a poster next to the food may be unilingual provided the mandatory information is bilingual on the label.

Legibility and Location

Durable life information must meet the general legibility requirements under the Food and Drugs Act. Refer to Legibility and Location of Labelling Information for additional information on these requirements.

The words associated with the durable life date ("best before" and "meilleur avant") or the packaging date ("packaged on" and "empaqueté le"), shall be grouped together with the durable life date, unless a clear explanation of the significance of the date appears elsewhere on the label [B.01.007(4)(a), FDR]. For example, "Best if consumed by the date indicated on the lid".

The durable life may be shown on that part of the label, if any, that is applied to the bottom of a food or container if a clear indication of the location of the durable life date appears elsewhere on the label. [B.01.005(4), FDR] (e.g. "Best before: see date on bottom").

The packaging date shall not be shown on that part of the label, if any, that is applied to the bottom of a food or container. [B.01.005(1), FDR]

The table below outlines the manner of declaring and location for each requirement. Some requirements have more than one way in which they may be declared, see Examples of Acceptable Declarations.

Requirement Manner of Declaring Location
Durable Life Date

"Best before" and "Meilleur avant" grouped together with the durable life date in the format of "month-day" or "year-month-day"

or

a clear explanation of the significance of the date appears elsewhere on the label

Any label panel, including the bottom.

Note 1: If the date appears on the bottom, the location must be indicated elsewhere on the label (e.g. "Best before: see date on bottom") [B.01.005(4), FDR]

Storage Instructions

(if they differ from normal room temperature)

Any clear descriptive manner, for example, "Keep refrigerated"

Any label panel except the bottom [B.01.005(1), FDR].

Packaging Date

"Packaged on" and "Empaqueté le" grouped together with the packaging date in the format of "month-day" or "year-month-day"

or

a clear explanation of the significance of the date appears elsewhere on the label

Any label panel except the bottom [B.01.005(1), FDR]

Durable Life Information

Any clear descriptive manner, for example, the number of days a product will retain its freshness or may be applied as a "best before" date.

Any label panel except the bottom, or, on a poster next to the food [B.01.005(1), B.01.007(1.1)(c)(ii), FDR]

Note: Durable life and durable life dates, when on the label, do not have to be grouped with the list of ingredients [B.01.008(1)(a), FDR].

Examples of Acceptable Declarations

For foods packaged at a place other than the retail premises:

Best before
17 JN 28
Meilleur avant

or if the year is not needed for clarity

Best before
June 28 juin
Meilleur avant

If storage instructions are needed:

Best before/Meilleur avant
JN 28
Keep refrigerated/Garder au réfrigérateur

For foods packaged on the retail premises:

Packaged on/Empaqueté le
17 JN 28
Best if consumed within 5 days after the packaging date appearing on the label/ Meilleur si consommé dans les 5 jours suivant la date d'emballage sur l'étiquette.

or

Packaged on/Empaqueté le
June 28 juin
Best before/meilleur avant July 3 juillet

Date modified: