Labelling Requirements Checklist

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The following checklist is a self-assessment tool to help industry understand labelling requirements set out in the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations.

The checklist only covers core labelling requirements applicable to all foods. For more information on voluntary claims or statements and commodity specific labelling requirements, visit the Industry Labelling Tool.

Label Review Checklist Disclaimer: Adherence to the Label Review Checklist does not preclude the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) from taking regulatory action in cases on non-compliance to regulatory and legislative labelling requirements. This publication is not a legal document. The user is encouraged to consult the official version of the applicable legislation the Food and Drugs Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act for the purposes of interpreting and applying the law. The Label Review Checklist was last modified February 14, 2014.

Labelling Requirements

Common Name

Is a common name present?

  • If not, is the product exempt?

Is the common name on the principal display panel (PDP)?

Is the common name in letters of 1.6mm or greater?

Is it an appropriate common name?

  • as printed in bold face type in the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) (standardized product),
  • as prescribed by any other regulation, or
  • the name by which the food is commonly known, if the name is not so printed or prescribed

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Common Name.

Net Quantity Declaration

Is a net quantity declaration present?

  • If not, is the product exempt?

Is the net quantity declared on the PDP?

Is it in metric units?

Is the appropriate manner (volume, weight, count) for the product used?

Is it rounded to three figures, unless below 100?

Are the correct bilingual symbols used? (e.g., ml, mL, mℓ, L, l, ℓ for liquids; g, kg for solids)

  • If not, and the units are written out (e.g. kilograms) are the units declared in both languages (unless exempt from bilingual labelling)?

Does the size of the numerical portion meet requirements (based on size of PDP)? Is it in bold face type? Are the units in letters of 1.6mm or greater (based on lowercase "o")?

If optional Canadian units are also present, are they declared properly?

If optional U.S. gallons and quarts are also present, are they identified properly? (fl oz optional)

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Net Quantity.

List of Ingredients and Allergen Labelling

Is a list of ingredients present?

  • If not, is the product exempt or a single ingredient food?

Are ingredients in descending order of proportion by weight?

Have the ingredients been declared using an appropriate common name?

Have components been properly declared where required?

Are priority Allergens, gluten sources and sulphites declared using the prescribed source name if present in product?

  • In the list of ingredients, or
  • In a "contains" statement?

Is the above information not placed on the bottom panel?

Is the contains statement, if present, at the end of the list of ingredients without any intervening printed, written or graphic material?

Are the English and French lists of ingredients and allergen declarations the same?

Is the list of ingredients and allergen labelling legible and readily discernible?

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on List of Ingredients and allergen labelling.

Identity and Principal Place of Business

Is an identity and principal place of business present, to the level of detail required?

  • If not, is the product exempt?

Imported Product:

  • Canadian identity and principal place of business, grouped with the geographic origin, or preceded by the expressions "imported by/ importé par" or "imported for/ importé pour"?
  • or
  • Foreign identity and principal place of business is identified?

Is the information on any label panel except the bottom?

Are type height requirements of 1.6mm or greater are met?

Is it in English or French?

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Identity and Principal Place of Business.

Date Markings

"Best Before" Date

Is a "Best Before" date required (durable life of 90 days or less, unless exempt food or packaged where sold at retail)?

  • If so, is it present?

Is the correct wording "best before / meilleur avant" used in English and French (or in one language if exempt from bilingual labelling)?

Is the wording grouped with the date or does it clearly explain the date if located elsewhere on the label?

Is the presentation (order of info (yr, m, day), use of bilingual symbols for months) of the date acceptable? - e.g., MA 26

Is the location of the date acceptable (anywhere on the label, with location specified elsewhere if date is present on bottom)?

"Packaged On" Date

Is a "Packaged On" date required (durable life of 90 days or less and packaged where sold at retail, unless exempt food)?

  • If so, is it present?

Is the correct wording "packaged on / empaqueté le" used (or in one language if exempt from bilingual labelling)?

Is the wording grouped with the date or does it clearly explain the date if located elsewhere on the label?

Is the presentation correct as described above?

Is location of the date acceptable as described above?

Storage Instructions

May also be required by commodity-specific legislation

Are they required? (required if storage conditions differ from normal room temperature)

  • If so, are they present and complete?

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for more information on Food-Specific Labelling Requirements.

Expiration Date

Is an "Expiration Date" required? (food for special dietary use)

  • If so, is it present?

Legibility and Availability

Is all of the above information legible and readily discernible?

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Date Markings.

Nutrition labelling

Nutrition Facts Table (NFT)

Is the NFT present?

  • If not, is the product exempt? (or has an NFT been triggered?)
  • If not, does the product haves a small package exemption less than 100 cm2 available display surface (ADS)? (postal address or toll-free number?)

Location/orientation

Is the NFT:

On the outer package? (except for alternate methods of presentation)

Not destroyed when product is opened? (except for single serve containers)

On one continuous surface of the ADS?

Placed so that product will not leak or be damaged in order to view the NFT?

Format

Is the appropriate format family used?

  • Standard Format: all foods and certain assortments
  • Simplified Standard: at least seven (7) nutrients/calories = 0
  • Dual Format: foods requiring preparation/different amounts
  • Aggregated format: different kinds/different amounts
  • Children under two

Is an appropriate format version (size) chosen within a "family" of formats?

Contents

Is the serving size reasonable? Does it include a consumer friendly & metric measure based on the food as sold?

Are energy and the 13 core nutrients declared, unless conditions for use of simplified format have been satisfied?

Are any non-permitted nutrients declared?

Are triggered nutrients declared?

Have the correct units and %DV (Percent Daily Value) been used when permitted/required?

Are the units rounded as per Regulations?

Presentation

Colour: is the table background and print in the appropriate colours?

Is the font and type:

  • Sans serif?
  • Bold as required?
  • Capitals/ lower case?
  • With no crowding of characters?

Is the information in the correct order?

Is the correct indenting used?

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Nutrition Labelling.

Bilingual Requirements

Is all mandatory information referred to in this checklist in English and French, except dealer name and address which may be in either French or English?

  • If not, does a bilingual exemption apply (shipping container destined to a commercial or industrial enterprise, specialty food, local food, test market food)?

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Bilingual Labelling.

Irradiation

Is the food permitted to be irradiated?

  • If so, is there a written statement such as "irradiated" or "treated with radiation" or "treated by irradiation" and the international symbol?
  • Is the statement legible and readily discernible?

Is the international symbol on the principal display panel?

Does the international symbol meet the minimum size requirements for the outer diameter?

Are irradiated ingredients that constitute more than 10% of the final food identified in the list of ingredients as "irradiated"?

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Irradiated Food.

Sweeteners (in addition to List of Ingredients requirements)

Does the sweetener used require declaration on the PDP?

  • If so, is this statement present?

Is the PDP declaration in the minimum type size required?

Does the sweetener used trigger an NFT?

  • If so, is it present with the sweetener content declared?

Does the sweetener used require an amount declaration?

  • If so, is it present, in milligrams per serving of stated size, grouped with the list of ingredients?

If aspartame is used, does the product make a phenylalanine declaration?

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Sweeteners.

Country of Origin

Is the product one of the following?

  • Wine and Brandy
  • Dairy Products
  • Honey
  • Fish and seafood products
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
  • Egg and Egg Products
  • Meat Products
  • Maple Products
  • Processed Fruit or Vegetable Products
  • If so, check the Food Specific Labelling Requirements, as for some imported prepackaged products it is mandatory to state the country of origin. When required use the country of origin declaration "Product of [Name the country of origin]".

Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for further information on Country of Origin Labelling.

Notes:

  • All label information provided must be truthful and not misleading.
  • Additional federal and provincial regulations may apply to the product.
  • Additional commodity-specific requirements may apply to the product.
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