Legibility and Location of Labelling Information
Legibility Requirements

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All mandatory information required on foods sold at retail under the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations must be in letters of not less than 1.6 mm (1/16 inch) in height, based on the height of an upper case letter where words appear in upper case and the height of the lower case letter "o" when words appear in lower case or in a mixture of upper and lower case, other than in the declaration of net quantity [14, 15, CPLR]. For net quantity, specific size requirements exist which are based on the size of the principal display surface (definition) for the numerical portion of the net quantity declaration. Refer to the Net Quantity for more information on these requirements.

For very small packages that have a principal display surface of 10 square centimetres (1.55 square inches) or less, information required by the CPLA and CPLR, other than the information in the declaration of net quantity, may appear in letter height of at least 0.8 mm (1/32nd of an inch), provided all the information required by the CPLA and CPLR appears on the principal display panel (definition) [16, CPLR].

Mandatory information required to appear on a label (definition) of a food by the Food and Drug Regulations must be:

  1. clearly and prominently displayed on the label; and
  2. readily discernible to the purchaser or consumer under the customary conditions of purchase and use.

For the Nutrition Facts table, the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) prescribe specific format (graphic) and technical requirements including type height. Refer to Nutrition Labelling for more information on these requirements. In addition, the FDR prescribe specific size requirements for certain other label information such as "contains [naming the sweetener(s)]" statements (see Sweeteners).

While section A.01.016 FDR does not provide specific type height requirements, the minimum type height of 1.6 mm (1/16 inch), based on the lowercase letter "o" is considered to be sufficient to meet the requirement for labelling information to be clearly and prominently displayed, when it is not otherwise specified in regulation.

In the case of some statements or claims regarding a food product, such as Nutrient Content Claims or Organic Claims, the components of these statements or claims may be required to be of the same size and prominence when applied to the label of or in any advertisement for a food. For more information on the legibility requirements for statements or claims regarding a food product, see the relevant webpage for the type of claim on the Industry Labelling Tool.

For example, if a manufacturer uses the claim "no sodium added" on the label or advertisement of a food product which meets the requirements for this claim as stated in the table following B.01.513 of the FDR, all of the words in this claim must be of the same size and prominence. It would not be acceptable if the words "no sodium" were bolded and appeared in a larger font size than the word "added". For more information on these requirements, refer to Nutrition Labelling. For all other claims, it is encouraged that all elements of a claim be of equal size and prominence.

Examples of information on a food label that may not satisfy the above mentioned legibility requirements include impressed or embossed letters on cardboard or plastic, or coloured text on a similarly coloured background.

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