Date Markings
Manner of Declaring

Format and Language

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 (i.e., when the durable goes into the next year). 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].

"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 product has a bilingual "best before" date on the label since only mandatory information on the label must be bilingual.

Examples of Acceptable Declarations

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

Best before
12 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
12 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

Legibility and Location

Durable life information must meet the legibility requirements under the Food and Drugs Act. Additional information on these requirements can be found in Legibility and Location.

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 both cases, the words should be grouped together with the date, unless a clear explanation of the significance of the date appears elsewhere on the label.[B.01.007(4)(a), FDR]. An example of a clear explanation could be:

Best before: see date on lid

The "best before" date may appear anywhere on the package, including the bottom of the container, provided the location is indicated elsewhere on the label [B.01.005(4), FDR]. For example:

Best if consumed by the date indicated on the bottom

A "packaged on" date may be shown on any label panel, except the bottom.

Durable life information, when on the label, does not have to be grouped with the list of ingredients because subsection B.01.008(1), FDR specifically excludes the information required by section B.01.007 of FDR (i.e., durable life date markings).

Storage instructions (e.g., keep refrigerated) may be shown on any part of the label except the bottom [B.01.005, FDR].