Net Quantity

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The principal display panel of prepackaged products sold to consumers at retail must include a net quantity declaration, in metric units [4(1), Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, (CPLA)]. In some cases, numerical count may be permitted instead of metric units.

In addition to the requirements in CPLA, a net quantity declaration is required, under section 9 of the Weights and Measures Act (WMA), on prepackaged foods that have not been repackaged for retail sale, such as shipping containers and foods for institutional use. These foods are not covered by the CPLA unless resold at retail. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) does not administer or enforce the Weights and Measures Act. Refer to Measurement Canada for more information.


The following foods are exempt from the net quantity requirement: [4, 18 Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations (CPLR)] [46, WMR]

  • Prepackaged individual servings of food prepared by a commissary and sold in automatic vending machines or mobile canteens;
  • Prepackaged individual portions of food that are served with meals or snacks, such as jams, sugar, crackers, ketchup, and salt. Note: the shipping or master container holding the individual portions is not exempt.;
  • Catch weight products (definition) sold to a retailer by a manufacturer, processor or producer. Note: The retailer is responsible for applying the net quantity declaration before offering the food for sale to consumers. In addition, under the WMA, a net quantity declaration is required on the shipping container.

In addition:

  • Foods exempt from carrying a label under the CPLA are not required to bear a net quantity declaration when sold at retail.
  • When a prepackaged product consists of less than seven identical and separately prepackaged products that are fully labelled and clearly visible at the time of sale, the outer package is exempt from net quantity declaration [28(2), CPLR]. The six or less identical products must each be labelled with a net quantity declaration that is visible despite any outer packaging. This rule applies in spite of subsection 28(1) of the CPLR which provides labelling requirements for when two or more completely labelled products are sold together as a single unit. This provision applies to net quantity as it is a mandatory labelling requirement found exclusively under the CPLA. The FDR does not contain a similar provision.
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