Available Display Surface (ADS)

Table of Contents

Calculating the Available Display Surface

In general, the Nutrition Facts table must be displayed on the Available Display Surface (ADS) (definition) of a package. This is defined as the total surface area of a package which is physically available for labelling. It includes all unlabelled surfaces on which information can be legibly set out and easily viewed. Also included is any surface that has any printing, designs or graphics already printed on it, whether mandatory, optional or promotional (other than the area occupied by the Universal Product Code (UPC), (see Elements Not Included as Part of the Available Display Surface). For example, any label surface containing any printed information, such as a list of ingredients, a name and address of a manufacturer, a brand name, graphics, claims, promotional information, recipes, etc., is considered part of the ADS.

The ADS is usually determined by numerical calculation. The calculation of the ADS is a pivotal concept in the application of the nutrition labelling requirements, because the choice of a Nutrition Facts Table Format and its size are based, in part, on the ADS of the package.

Table: Definition of Available Display Surface (ADS)
Package Type Included in ADS Excluded from ADS
All Packages
  • total area of package
  • include bottom if product will not be damaged or leak if turned upside down
  • bottom, if product leaks or is damaged if upside down
  • area destroyed when opened (except for single serve containers)
  • area where a label cannot be physically applied
  • area where information cannot be legibly set out or easily viewed
  • UPC
Ornamental Containers
  • total area of bottom or area of tag (both sides), whichever is bigger
  • top
  • sides
  • UPC
Available Display Surface for Tags Table Note 1
  • for ornamental containers
  • for packages to which a label cannot be applied
  • for small packages to which alternate methods of presentation apply Table Note 2
  • both sides of tag
  • (However, any version (size) of an appropriate format may be used.)
  • UPC

Table Notes

Table Note 1

If tags are used on other pre-packaged products (i.e., not ornamental containers, packages that cannot affix a label, or small packages), then this rule does not apply.

Return to table note 1  referrer

Table Note 2

Use of alternate methods of presentation applies to products using the standard/horizontal/linear and simplified format families, and in some instances, on products displaying an aggregate format – different kinds of food. (See Nutrition Facts Table Formats section).

Return to table note 2  referrer

Ornamental Containers

"Ornamental container" means a container that, except on the bottom, does not have any promotional or advertising material thereon, other than a trade mark or common name and that, because of any design appearing on its surface or because of its shape or texture, appears to be a decorative ornament and is sold as a decorative ornament in addition to being sold as the container of a product; (emballage décoratif) [B.01.001, FDR]

Ornamental containers have the potential for an extended life, as they are reusable. Ornamental containers must be substantial enough to be sold on their own merit (i.e., without the food). They are usually made of metal (e.g., cookie tins), plastic or glass (e.g., candy-filled figurines).

ornamental container
a container no longer considered an ornamental container as it has a label affixed

The container on the left is an ornamental container. The container on the right is no longer considered an ornamental container as it has a label affixed to the top of the container.

Decorative Containers

Decorative containers, although aesthetically pleasing, are usually not reusable (as opposed to Ornamental Containers) because they are not sturdy enough and often get torn or damaged upon opening. Fabric-covered or embossed cardboard boxes for chocolates (e.g., for Valentine's Day) are normally considered decorative container. There are no special exemptions for measuring the ADS of decorative containers.

This heart-shaped Valentine's Day container is an example of a decorative container.

Available Display Surface for Tags

The Nutrition Facts table may alternatively be presented on a tag attached to a package in the following situations:

  • when none of the versions of the Nutrition Facts table fits within 15% of the available display surface;
  • when none of the versions of the Nutrition Facts table will fit on a continuous surface (i.e., when a label cannot be physically applied or on which information cannot be legibly set out and easily viewed by the purchaser or consumer under the customary conditions of purchase); or
  • when the container is ornamental.

The total area of both sides of a tag attached to a package to which a label cannot be physically applied is considered ADS. The ADS does not include the area occupied by the Universal Product Code (UPC) symbol.

The Nutrition Facts table may appear on either side of a tag and any version (size) of a suitable format may be used. For the appropriate formats of Nutrition Facts tables on a tag, please see Alternate Methods of Presentation section under Nutrition Facts Table Formats. A toll-free telephone number is not an acceptable method of presenting a Nutrition Facts table on a tag.

Some examples of foods which might be labelled with a tag include ornamental bottles, whole frozen turkeys, waxed-encased small cheeses in a mesh bag; and foil-wrapped milk chocolate Easter eggs in a mesh bags.

ornamental bottle, waxed-encased small cheeses and foil-wrapped milk chocolate in a mesh bag

The small package <100 cm2  exemption (ADS < 100 cm2) does not apply to tags.

Guidance on Measuring ADS

Determining the ADS for Packaging with Geometric Forms

Many packages are in standard shapes for which the areas can be calculated using mathematical formulas. These formulas are available in the section Mathematical Calculations for the Area of Some Geometric Forms.

Determining the ADS for Uniform Bottles and Jars

There is a proliferation of bottle and jar shapes and sizes in the market place. For the purposes of determining ADS, a uniform shaped jar or bottle (e.g., stubby form, not long necked) is a jar or bottle that is straight from the base to the beginning of the neck. The ADS of these jars and bottles consists of the sides of the jars or bottles and their lids.

Determining the ADS for Non-Uniform Bottles and Jars, Sold by Volume

Measurement of the ADS on irregular shaped bottles and jars is difficult, leading to inconsistent results. Consequently, Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) developed a fair and consistent alternative method of estimating the ADS of these containers. This option uses the declared net quantity of products sold by volume, and the actual volume of products sold by weight, to estimate an approximate ADS for non-uniform bottles and jars.

The ADS by volume method of calculating ADS is an alternative option to measuring the ADS of non-uniform bottles and jars. The CFIA plans to use this method of estimating the ADS on non-uniform bottles and jars in carrying out its inspection activities. When determining the ADS of irregular shaped containers, industry has the choice of either using this alternative ADS by volume method or measuring the container as prescribed in the regulations. If the second option is chosen, all packaging technology available must be taken into consideration when measuring the area of a container where a label may be physically applied, such as shrink wrapping and plastic and paper labels that may be affixed to irregular shapes, not just the current packaging technology in use by a company.

The following rule applies to all non-uniform glass and plastic bottles and all non-uniform shaped jars sold by volume.

ADS = Calculation Based on the Declared Volume

To calculate the ADS of a non-uniform bottle or jar, use the following formula.
Volume of Container ADS
≤ 149 ml < 100 cm2 (small package exemption)
150 ml - 250 ml 100 cm2 (requires NFT)
May choose one of the NFTs in the lowest level of options in the Hierarchy of Formats, i.e., the smaller NFTs. See Nutrition Facts Table Formats section.
> 250 ml Equation - volume of container in millilitres divide by 250 millilitres multiply by 100 centimetre squared 

Note: No further deductions are applied to the ADS calculation, e.g., deduction of the UPC code.

Determining the ADS on Non-Uniform Bottles and Jars, Sold by Weight

Since the density of different products may vary, the volumes of different products of the same weight may also vary. For example, a 450 g jar of coffee whitener is almost the same size as a 100 g jar of artificial sweetener. Consequently, the volume of the container should be determined and the formula for non-uniform bottles and jars should be applied.

ADS = Calculation Based on the Measured Volume of the Container

This 450 g jar of coffee whitener is almost the same size as a 100 g jar of artificial sweetener. However, because of the varying volumes, the Nutrition Facts table fills more space on this container than that of the artificial sweetener.
450 g artificial sweetener
This 100 g jar artificial sweetener is almost the same size as a 450 g jar of coffee whitener. However, because of the varying volumes, the Nutrition Facts table fills less space on this container than that of the coffee whitener.
100 g coffee whitener.

How to determine the ADS of a non-uniform bottle or jar sold by weight:

  1. Starting with an empty container, fill the container with water to 1 cm below the rim.
  2. Empty water into a graduated container (e.g., measuring cup or graduated cylinder), and measure in milliliters.
  3. Apply the formula for "Bottles and Jars – Non-Uniform, Sold by Volume". (See preceding section.)

Note: No further deductions are applied to the ADS calculation, e.g., deduction of the UPC code.

This image illustrates filling a measuring cup with water to determine the ADS of a non-uniform bottle or jar sold by weight.

Elements Not Included as Part of the Available Display Surface

Elements included and excluded as part of the Available Display Surface
Package Area Include in ADS Exclude from ADS
Areas Destroyed upon Opening - e.g., tamper seals, tear strips
  • area destroyed (unless product is in non-reusable or single-serving containers package)
Bag Closures - Zip Lock, Cut Line, Heat Seal
  • bag closure
  • area past bag closure (area usually cut off when opening)
Curves
  • gently sloping curves that may support a label
  • sharp acute curves on rigid packaging
Eye Spot
  • area that incorporates the width of the eye spot and whole length of package, unless area is already labeled
Gabled Ends
  • whole area of gabled ends unless already printed
Gathered ends of packaging material
  • If area is covered by sticker, the total panel where the sticker appears, even if the sticker covers only a small portion of the gathered material (e.g. roll of cookies).
  • These areas are excluded from ADS as the information is not legible. The NFT should not be in this area.
Labelling information on non-ADS surfaces (e.g. top of tin can)
  • whole area labelled
Lids on jars and tubs
  • top
  • sides
  • very small lids with no print information
  • sides with spirals or groves that inhibit legibility.
  • sides <10 mm wide.
  • top – raised ridges – unless already printed
Paper Labels on Inside of Clear Packages
  • entire area occupied by the paper label, plus rest of the same label panel that is not occupied by the paper label (e.g. clear egg carton)
  • other panels that do not have inner paper labels
  • no consideration for minor ridges and uneven surfaces
Ridges in Packaging Material
  • ridges that do not interfere with labelling
  • closely repeated ridging that may support a label
  • ridges that will not support a label or interfere with legibility when label is printed directly on package
UPC symbol
  • if UPC present more than once, area occupied by additional UPCs is included
  • when UPC enclosed in box, entire box containing UPC code
  • in the case of non-boxed UPC, only area covered by the UPC
Very small areas of continuous surface (≤ 12 cm2)
  • whole area if not practical to be labelled, e.g. small caps, folded corners
Windows and Transparent Packaging
  • flexible or rigid transparent packaging materials (e.g. plastic-covered window)
  • open window with no inner covering

Areas Destroyed Upon Opening

Any part of the package that is destroyed upon opening (e.g., a tear strip, a band straddling a bottle cap and bottle neck, a single label made up of several lids on a multi-pack of individual yogurt-type containers where each unit is snapped off, destroying the Nutrition Facts table, etc.) is not considered part of the ADS, unless the product is in a non-reusable container or single-serving package (i.e., the entire contents can be reasonably expected to be eaten by one person during a single eating occasion).

On this rectangular package, the Nutrition Facts table is destroyed upon opening a tear strip.

Bag Closures

Bag closures such as zip locks, cut lines, or heat seals and the area past these closures (i.e., area often cut off when opening the package) are not considered ADS.

peanuts in a zip lock
tortillas in a package with a cut line
rice in a package with a heat seal

Curves

Acute curves on rigid packaging are not considered ADS.

  • Note: gently sloping curves that may support a label or printed information (if printing appears directly on the package), are considered ADS.
This cake package has sharp ridges around the lid which do not support a label or printed information.
Not considered ADS (acute curves)
This rectangular chocolate milk package has gently sloping curves that can support a label or printed information.
Included in ADS (gentle curves)

Eye Spot

Certain packaging processes use an electronic eye to cut packaging material to the correct length. An "eye spot", usually a dark oblong spot, is printed onto the continuous film of labelling material to trigger the cutting process. On the final package the eye spot is usually present on the seams. The area that incorporates the width of the eye spot and whole length of package is not considered ADS, unless the area is already labeled.

packaging with an eye spot

Gabled ends

Gabled ends of packaging, such as those found on milk cartons and on cookie bags, are not considered ADS unless label information (mandatory or non-mandatory) appears in these areas.

  • Note: Public service information (e.g., Kids Help Phone), recycle information, opening instructions, or coding would not cause this area to be considered ADS.

milk carton with gabled ends

Gathered Ends of Packaging Material

Packaging material that is gathered, making any written material impossible to read (e.g. the end of a bread bag, gathered ends of a tube of cookie dough or gathered ends of a prepackaged tube of ground beef) is not considered ADS.

If this area is covered by a flat sticker, then the whole area is considered ADS. Note that ADS includes the whole area, even if the sticker is small. Examples include the end of a roll of biscuits or cookies and the back of a round of cheese packaged in a paper overwrap.

  • The NFT should not be placed in gathered areas where printing is not legible at time of sale.
bread with gathered packaging is not considered available display surface
pasta with gathered packaging is not considered available display surface
Gathered packaging material is not considered ADS.
round of cheese - the presence of a sticker over the gathered packaging renders the whole area available display surface
The presence of a sticker over the gathered packaging renders the whole area ADS.

Labelling Information on Non-ADS Surfaces

This may include areas of the package where a label cannot be physically applied or where information cannot be legibly set out or viewed or the bottom of a package if the product would be damaged or leak if turned upside down to view the NFT. However, if labelling information exists on these surfaces (other than the UPC code or coding information, public service announcements (e.g., Kids Phone), recycle instructions, or opening instructions), then these areas become ADS.

For example, normally the bottom of a pie container is not considered to be part of the ADS. However, if an NFT is placed on the bottom of the container, the entire bottom of the product becomes ADS.

The top of the can is considered available display surfact because this area has been labelled.
The top of the can is considered ADS because this area has been labelled.

Lids on Jars and Tubs

Lids are generally considered ADS. However, raised areas and ridges that interfere with labelling are excluded from ADS. Sides less than 10 mm wide, sides with spirals or grooves, and very small lids are also excluded if no print information is in this area. In some cases, very small caps of bottles are considered very small areas of continuous surface and, consequently, not ADS.

The sides of a metal lid with spirals
Sides of plastic lid with spirals
Sides of metal lid with grooves

Paper Labels on the Inside of Clear Packages

When paper labels are on the inside of a clear packaging material, then the ADS includes the area occupied by the paper label, as well as the rest of the same label panel that is not occupied by the paper label. There is no consideration for minor ridges and uneven surfacing of these panels. Other panels that do not have inner paper labels are calculated as though they did have an inner paper label.

For example, in the case of a clear plastic egg carton with a paper label on the inside of the top of the carton, the entire top and sides of the lid are considered ADS. However, since it would be almost impossible to place an inner paper label in the bottom cups, the bottom half of the egg carton is not considered ADS.

Egg carton - paper labels on the inside of clear packages

Ridges in Packaging Material

Ridges in the packaging that make it impossible to affix a label or to print on the ridged sections are not considered ADS.

  • Note: In some cases, closely repeated ridging will support a paper label and in some processes, the printing takes place before the ridges are formed. In these cases, these areas are considered ADS.
This can has light ridges on top of the lid on which words can still be printed and can be easily read.
Ridged area is considered ADS, as it is possible to print on this area.
The bottom of this can is not considered available display surface.
Not included in ADS; impossible to add label due to the multiple ridges, key and raised circle.

UPC Symbol

Usually the UPC (Universal Product Code or bar code) symbol is not considered ADS and must not be included in the calculations for the ADS [B.01.001, FDR]. However, if the UPC is present on the label more than once, the area occupied by the additional UPCs would be included in the ADS calculation.

Since the UPC code is a machine-readable bar code, the definition between lines must be significant enough for the machine to register. As a result, the size of the UPC code may vary depending on the precision of the printing process. Some printing processes and packaging materials cause ink to spread. Consequently, on some packaging the UPC code may be 200 % larger, or more, than the standard size.

When the UPC is enclosed in a box, the entire box is excluded from ADS. When the UPC is not enclosed in a box, only the area covered by the actual UPC is deducted from the ADS. The area of the UPC includes the outer characters.

The entire box enclosing the universal product code is excluded from available display surface
Entire UPC box excluded.
where there is no box surrounding the universal product code, only the area covered by the universal product code is excluded from available display surface
UPC area excluded.

Very Small Areas of "Continuous Surface"

Any "continuous surface (definition)" of 12 cm2 or less (e.g., bottle caps, lids, folded triangles on package surfaces) which is too small to accommodate even the smallest available Nutrition Facts table is not included in the ADS, provided that this continuous surface does not already have printed mandatory, optional or promotional labelling on it.

On this milk carton, both the cap and the area for the 'Best Before' date are considered very small continuous surfaces and therefore, not included in the available display surface calculation.
On this milk carton, both the cap and the area for the "Best Before" date are considered very small continuous surfaces and therefore, not included in the ADS calculation.
This drink package has small V-shaped folded corners from the lid onto two sides of the package.
This frozen dinner package has small folded corners.

The small folded corners on these containers are "very small areas of continuous space" and are not considered ADS.

Similarly, the folded ends on a 1-pound foil-wrapped package of butter are too small of a continuous space to be counted in the ADS calculation.

Windows and Transparent Packaging

Flexible or rigid transparent packaging materials, such as those found on bacon packages or covering widows in pie and candy boxes, are considered ADS. However, if the window is open with no inner covering, then the empty window is not considered ADS.

pie box with covered window is considered available display surface
Covered window – considered ADS
Packages of multiple small puddings or apple sauces such as those in this image often include an open window on either side of the package.
This rectangular package includes an open window at one corner, revealing the inner product packaging.
Open Window – not included in ADS

Reference Information

Mathematical Calculations for the Area of Some Geometric Forms

Image Mathematical calculations
Mathematical calculations - Area of a rectangle equal to length multiply by width Rectangle:
Area = length(L) x width(W)
Mathematical calculations - Area of parallelogram equal to base multiply by height Parallelogram:
Area = base (B) x height (H)
Mathematical calculations - Area of a triangle equal to base multiply by height divide by 2 Triangle:
Mathematical calculations - Area of a triangle equal to base multiply by height divide by 2
Mathematical calculations - Area of trapezoid equal to (A plus B) multiply by Height then divide by 2 Trapezoid:
Mathematical calculations - Area of trapezoid equal to (A plus B) multiply by Height then divide by 2
Mathematical Calculations - Area of a circle equal to pi multiply radius squared Circle:
Area =∏r2
Mathematical Calculations - Area of cyclinder Cylinder (can):
  • Area of top and bottom = 2(∏r2)
  • Area of sides = 2∏rh or
    height of can x circumference
Note: Only the sides of a regular tin can are considered ADS. There are exceptions for cans with plastic lids or cans that are labelled on the top and/or bottom of can.
Mathematical Calculations - Area of sphere equal to 4 multiply pi multiply radius squared Sphere:
Area = 4∏r2
Mathematical Calculations - Total area of cone is equal to area of cone plus area of base Cone:
Total Area = Area of cone + Area of base
  • Area of cone = ∏rs
  • Area of base = ∏r2
Mathematical Calculations - Total area of pyramid with a square base is equal to area of 4 triangles plus area of base Pyramid with a square base (4 sides): 
Total Area = Area of 4 triangles + Area of base
  • Mathematical Calculations - Area of 4 trianlges is equal to base multiply length divide by 2 then multiply by 4
  • Area of base = b2
Mathematical Calculations - Area of a box is equal to front and back plus top and bottom plus 2 sides Box:
Total Area = (front and back) + (top and bottom) + (2 sides)
= 2(Ll + Lh + hl)
Mathematical Calculations - Total area of a prism is equal to ends (2 triangles) plus sides (2 rectangles) plus base Prism
Total Area = ends (2 triangles) + sides (2 rectangles) + base
  • Mathematical Calculations - Area of ends (2 triangles) is equal to base multiply height divide by 2 then multiply by 2
  • Area of sides (2 rectangles) = Ll x 2
  • Area of base (1 rectangle) = Lb
Mathematical Calculations - Area of sides of conical frustum is equal to large radius plus small radius multiply pi multiply slant Sides of Conical Frustum (e.g. sides of plastic yogurt tub):
Area of sides = ∏[R1+R2] S
  • R1 = large radius
  • R2 = small radius
  • S=slant

Calculation Methods for Different Packaging Types

This table outlines what is included and excluded from the ADS for different package types and the calculation methods used.
Package Type Included in ADS Excluded from ADS Surfaces
Bacon Packages
  • front
  • back
  • area width of 1 bacon strip the whole length of package
  • glued seams
  • UPC Code
Bags – Flat, back central seam (e.g., chip bag)
  • front
  • back
  • glued ends, back central seam
  • "eye spot" if present, and the area the whole length of the package equal to the eye spot
  • UPC Code
Bags –With gathered ends (e.g., bread bag)
  • all sides + 1 end
  • gathered end, (from crust to end of bag*)
  • UPC Code
* NFT should not be placed in this area
Bags – Cookie
  • front & back main panels – top wrap area to bottom
  • sides
  • bottom – largest panel only
  • sides – gabled areas at top
  • bottom – seam and smaller panel
  • UPC Code
Bags – Flat pouch without gussets
  • front
  • back
Bags – Stand-up with inset gusset
  • front
  • back
  • bottom, if inset gusset can support easily readable information.
  • bottom, if inset gusset is deep and will not support easily readable information
  • glued seams
  • Bag Closures
  • UPC Code
Bags – Stand-up pouch with flat bottom
  • front
  • back
  • bottom
Baked Goods – Fresh, Not baked & packaged at retail: Rigid Plastic Containers (e.g., rigid plastic clear "Clam Shell" containers)
  • top
  • sides
  • bottom (providing turning the product over will not damage the product)
  • bottom – if turning the product upside down will result in damage to the product.
  • security seals, if the product is sealed for tamper protection, exclude the area of the seal - a strip 10 mm wide x the length of the seal
  • edging (extended areas) where the top and bottom join and seal
  • ridging, raised areas, etc. that will not support a label
  • UPC Code (if on included area)
Bars – Foil wrapped (e.g., energy bar)
  • entire wrapper
  • end seams
  • central flap (both sides) unless already printed
  • UPC Code
Bars – Paper label over foil wrap (e.g., chocolate bar)
  • entire paper label
  • UPC Code
Bottles/ Jars – Regular cylindrical, glass & plastic (e.g., stubby bottles, not bottles with long necks)
  • sides (full circumference, measured from heel of jar to curve of neck)
  • lid (unless exceptions apply)
Bottles/Jars – Non-uniform, sold by volume; glass or plastic One of these formulas can be used:
  • If < 149 ml = less than 100 cm2 ( small package exemption will apllied)
  • If 150 ml to 250 ml = 100 cm2

mathematical calculations - volume of container in millilitre divide my 250 millilitre multiply 100 centimetre squares must be greater than 250 millilitre

  • based on declared net quantity, there are no further deductions, e.g. UPC Code
Bottles/ Jars – Irregular, sold by weight; glass or plastic

empty container; measure volume and apply the appropriated formula:

  • If < 149 ml = less than 100 cm2 ( small package exemption will apllied)
  • If 150 ml to 250 ml = 100 cm2

mathematical calculations - volume of container in millilitre divide my 250 millilitre multiply 100 centimetre squares must be greater than 250 millilitre

  • there are no further deductions, e.g. UPC
Cans – Metal cans with paper labels
  • sides (full circumference)
  • top (unless already labelled)
  • bottom (unless already labelled)
  • UPC Code
Cans – Flat with print directly on can (e.g., sardine, herring, ham)
  • top
  • bottom
  • sides of larger cans
  • ridges and/or areas with keys that prevent legible printing
  • sides of small cans, unless already printed (e.g., sardine cans)
  • UPC Code
Cans – Cardboard or metal with plastic lid (e.g., hot chocolate)
  • plastic lid
  • sides (full circumference)
  • raised lip at edge of lid
  • sides of lid if <10 mm wide
  • bottom
  • UPC Code
Cardboard Cartons – Milk or Juice (e.g., milk, juice)
  • sides
  • shoulder panels
  • bottom
  • gabled ends
  • top glue seal (area for "best before" date)
  • plastic cap (unless labelled)
  • UPC Code
Catch Weight Meat Products of similar size and form e.g., pork hocks
  • front*
  • back*

* ADS = area of largest rectangle that will fit on front or back panel, respectively, of 80% of the packages produced.

  • Sides
  • UPC Code
Egg Cartons
  • lid – flat areas
  • sides of lid
  • inner lid if already labelled
  • bottom with dropped cups
  • top – indented areas that will not support labelling
  • UPC Code
Frozen Foods – Foil container, plastic or cardboard lid (e.g., frozen cake, frozen lasagna)
  • top
  • foil container
  • UPC Code (if on included area)
Frozen Foods – Foil container, plastic or cardboard lid and overwrap (e.g., frozen cake)
  • lid or overwrap, whichever is larger
  • lid or overwrap, whichever is smaller
  • foil container
  • UPC Code (if on included area)
Multi- Pack with dropped units (plastic cups) (e.g., multi-pack of pudding, multi-pack of yogurt with common lid)
  • common area (top)
  • visible area of dropped units
  • open ended windows
  • areas of dropped cups that are not visible at time of purchase (facing inward)
  • bottom of cups
  • UPC Code
Multi-Pack – Transparent cellophane wrapper over fully labelled individual units
  • If NFT is on outer packaging, ADS includes total outer package
  • If NFT is on individual unit, ADS is based on surface of individual unit. Note, NFT and all mandatory information must be visible at time of purchase.
  • UPC Code
Paper Label Inside Clear Packaging
  • whole length of panels
  • all panels that may support inner paper label
  • areas where inner paper label may not be supported (e.g., cup area of egg carton)
  • UPC Code
Pillow Packs
  • front
  • back
  • sides > 4 cm wide
  • sealed seams
  • sides < 4 cm wide
  • UPC Code
Available Display Surface for Tags
  • for ornamental containers
  • for packages to which a label cannot be applied
  • for small packages to which alternate methods of presentation apply
  • both sides of tag
  • However, any version (size) of an appropriate format may be used
  • UPC Code
Tetra Pak
  • Top
  • Front
  • Back
  • Sides
  • bottom
  • sides – folded corners (folded from the top panel)
  • top – foil or plastic covered spout or straw insertion area
  • top and back seams, unless printed information exists in these areas
  • cellophane covering for straw
  • UPC Code
Tubs – Printed plastic (e.g., yogurt, margarine)
  • lid (see next column)
  • sides (full circumference)
  • lid – ridge on edge; see Lids on jars and tubs
  • sides – top ridge, where lid covers side
  • sides – curve at bottom
  • bottom
  • UPC Code
Tubs – Plastic with paper label (e.g., deli tubs)
  • lid (see next column)
  • sides (full circumference)
  • bottom
  • lid – raised lip or ridge; see Lids on jars and tubs
  • sides – top ridge, where lid covers side
  • sides – curve at bottom
  • bottom – ridges
  • UPC Code
Tubs – Cardboard (e.g., ice cream)
  • sides (full circumference)
  • lid, including rim if cardboard
  • sides – area covered by rim of lid
  • lid – plastic rim, unless already labelled
  • bottom
  • UPC Code
Wrappers, Tube Shapes
  • all sides
  • gathered ends unless covered by a sticker
  • central seam
  • UPC Code

Bacon Packages

The Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures sets out the requirement for packages of bacon slices to include a window area large enough to expose at least 2/3 (66%) of the bacon strip length, as well as the complete width of the bacon strip.

The space equivalent to the length of the package by the width of a strip of bacon is excluded in the calculation of the ADS no matter what the size and of the window is.

Bacon packages - Front View
Front
A transparent area the width of one bacon slice is provided on the back of the package, allowing the consumer to evaluate the lean/fat composition of the bacon
Back

On this package of bacon, a transparent area the width of one bacon slice is provided on the back of the package, allowing the consumer to evaluate the lean/fat composition of the bacon. This area is not included in ADS.

Bacon package - front view
Front
The bacon is placed in such a way that the consumer may evaluate the fat/lean composition of the bacon from the front window of the package
Back

In this package, the bacon is placed in such a way that the consumer may evaluate the fat/lean composition of the bacon from the front window of the package. Nevertheless, the area equivalent to the width of one bacon slice by the whole length of the package is still excluded from the ADS calculation.

Bags – Flat, Back Central Seam

e.g., chip bag
Bag of chips - front view
Bag of chips - flat, back central seam

Bags with Gathered Ends

e.g., plastic bread bags
This bag of bread has gathered ends, that is, overhanging plastic material that is twisted and tied. Instructions for calculating ADS are below.

Sides: Side areas are measured from crust to crust in the case of bread bags, or from the end of the bag to where the gathering starts and obstructs reading of printed material.

This bag of pasta has gathered ends, that is, overhanging material that is twisted and tied.

End: ADS includes the whole end of the bag.

This bag of white bread has gathered material in the middle of the package rather than the end. The gathered material is not included in ADS calculations.

Note: For gathered bags other than bread bags, the suitability of the end of the bag as ADS must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Bags – Cookie

Front view of bag of cookie - available display surface includes the area from the bottom of the bag to the top where the closure folds over
Front
Back view of bag of cookies - available display surface includes the area from the bottom of bag to the top where it is covered by the closure (fold).
Back 
Bottom view of bag of cookies - available display surface does not include the seam and smaller bottom panel.
Bottom

Bottom: ADS does not include the seam and smaller bottom panel. The typical cookie bag is constructed in such a manner that the smaller bottom panel is very narrow. Very small continuous surfaces are not considered ADS.

Bags – Flat pouch without gussets

A gusset is a folded or pleated inset area at the bottom or sides of a bag.

This the front view of a bag of seasoning mix. It is a flat, square pouch without gussets.
Front
This is the back view of a bag of seasoning mix. It is a flat, square pouch without gussets.
Back

Bags – Stand-Up Pouch with Inset Gusset

Note: The best way to evaluate whether the bottom of a bag with an inset gusset should be considered ADS, is to evaluate the product as sold, i.e., a full bag. The bottoms of some large bags flatten out to large flat areas of ADS that may support easy to read information when the bag has been filled. The bottoms of some small bags, on the other hand, may never be considered ADS because the area is small or because the bag retains the inset pleated shape even when the package is full.

This is the front and back view of a stand-up pouch of peanuts. The bag stands on its own and has a large, flat bottom when full. Since the product is sold as a full bag, the bottom can support readable information and is therefore considered part of the ADS.
Front/Back
This is the bottom view of the same pouch of peanuts lying down on its front side. The bottom is a large, flat surface when it is full. Since the product is sold as a full bag, the bottom can support readable information and is therefore considered part of the ADS.
Bottom
This is the bottom and side view of the same pouch of peanuts lying down on its front side when the bag is empty and collapsed. The bottom is no longer flat and the pouch could not stand up if put upright. However, when the product is sold it is a full bag with a flat bottom, so the bottom is considered part of the ADS calculation.
Collapsed Bag

The bottom of this large stand-up pouch would be considered ADS as it presents a large flat surface when the bag has been filled.

This is the front and back view of a stand-up pouch of soup mix. The bag stands on its own and has a very small flat bottom when full.
Front/Back
This is the bottom view of the same pouch of soup mix lying down on its front side. The bottom is flat when it is full, but it is a very small space with a pleated shape that cannot support readable information.
Bottom
This is the bottom and side view of the same pouch of soup mix lying down on its front side when the bag is empty and collapsed. The bottom is no longer flat and is completely folded over. It is not part of the ADS calculation.
Collapsed Bag

The bottom of this small stand-up pouch would not be considered ADS as the area is very small and the gusset retains its inset pleated shape when the package is full.

Bags – Stand-Up Pouch with Flat Bottom

This is the front view of a stand-up pouch of seasoning mix. The bag stands on its own because it has a flat bottom.
Front
This is the back view of a stand-up pouch of seasoning mix. The bag stands on its own because it has a flat bottom.
Back
This is the bottom and side view of the same pouch of seasoning mix lying down on its front side when the bag is empty and collapsed. The bottom is still flat even when the bag is empty. It is part of the ADS calculation.
Bottom

Baked Goods – Fresh, Not Packaged at Retail: Rigid Plastic Containers

e.g., "Clam Shells"

Baked goods are generally fragile and many will be damaged if turned upside down to view labelling information on the bottom of the container. When evaluating whether the bottom of the container should be considered as ADS, it should be taken into consideration that the product may be handled by many consumers and repeatedly turned upside down before purchase.

This is the top view of a cake is in rigid plastic packaging. Although there are ridges along the side of the lid, there is a raised area that can support a label. The ridging on the sides can usually support a label.
This is the bottom view of a cake in rigid plastic packaging. The label from the lid continues to fold over the package onto part of the bottom.

Top: ADS includes the area that can support a label, e.g., raised panels.

Sides: The tightly repeated ridging on the sides of plastic containers will usually support a paper label.

Bars – Foil Wrapped or Wrapped in Similar Material

e.g., energy bars, granola bars, etc.
Bars such as this peanut butter bar are usually wrapped in foil or similar packaging material, with end and central seams. See information below.
This bar has labeling information provided on the back flap of the central seam. See information below.
This image shows that the inner side of the flap on the back central seam has the eye spot, while the other side has labelling information. See information below.

These bars are usually wrapped in foil or similar packaging material, with end and central seams.

Manufacturers often use the flap to provide labelling information. When labelling information is present, this area is considered part of the ADS. In some cases, one side of the central seam/flap contains printed information while the other side has the eye spot. The seam side with printed information is considered ADS, while the other side is not.

Bars – Paper label over foil wrap

e.g., Candy bars
bars with paper label over foil wrap

Bottles and Jars – Regular Cylindrical Glass and Plastic

This image shows regular cylindrical glass and plastic bottles and jars, such as jars of sauce. For this category, the ADS calculation includes the full circumference of the sides measured from the heel of the jar to the curve of the neck, and the lid unless a specific exception applies.

Bottles and Jars – Non-Uniform, Sold by Volume; Glass and Plastic

This image shows beverages which are in non-uniform glass and plastic bottles and jars, sold by volume. For this category, a specific formula is used to calculate ADS.
Non-Uniform shape

Cans – Metal Cans with Paper Labels

e.g., soup can
Metals cans with paper labels
metal cans has labelled information other than coding or the univeral product code symbol

ADS includes the area of the sides of a can but does not include the top or bottom of the can unless the top or bottom has been labelled with information other than coding or the UPC symbol. In these cases, the area with labelling information is also included in the calculation of ADS.

Cans – Flat with Print Directly on Can

e.g., sardines, ham
Sardines Cans - flat with print directly on can
Ham cans - flat with print directly on can
Cans with keys that make the space unavailable for labelling

Areas with keys that make the space unavailable for labelling.
Available display surface includes the sides of larger cans for example: cans of ham

Sides: ADS includes the sides of larger cans (such as cans of ham), but not sides of slim cans such as sardine cans.
When a flat can is further packaged in a box or overwrap, then the outer packaging is the label
When a flat can is further packaged in a box or overwrap, then the outer packaging is the label

Note: When a flat can is further packaged in a box or overwrap, then the outer packaging is the label. The inner can is no longer considered the label or the ADS.

Cans – Cardboard or Metal with Plastic Lid

e.g. hot chocolate, mixed nuts, coffee can
This can of mixed nuts is a metal can with a plastic lid. To calculate the ADS of these cans, the top of the lid and the full circumference of the sides are included.

Cardboard Cartons – Milk or Juice

milk carton with gabled ends

The bottom of the milk carton is not included in the ADS for a number of reasons. Milk cartons are delivered flat to the dairy. The top and bottom seams are formed and heat-sealed during the filling process. The bottom is an area where many seams come together and is consequently bumpy, which is not conducive to clear labelling.

Catch Weight Meat Products of Similar Size and Form

e.g., pork hocks
These pork hocks are individually shrink wrapped. The ADS includes the front and back of the package, and is the area of largest rectangle that will fit on the front or back panel, respectively, of 80% of the packages produced. See description below.

These products are individually shrink wrapped. In some cases the label is printed directly on the packaging material, while in other cases paper labels are applied.   These products are similar but not uniform in size and shape. This does not apply to products that are highly variable in size such as frozen turkeys.

Egg Cartons

These egg cartons made of pulp, foam and clear plastic. Description follows.
The nutrition facts table may be printed on the inside of the egg carton lid. Description follows.

For egg cartons (flat top cartons made of pulp, foam or clear plastic), the NFT may be printed on the inside of the lid. There is no requirement for the producer to indicate on the outer surface that the NFT appears on the inside of the carton. When the inside of the lid contains any written material, mandatory or promotional, the inside of the lid is considered part of the ADS calculation.

Frozen Foods – Foil Container, Plastic or Cardboard Lid

e.g., frozen cake
This frozen cake is an example of a frozen food in a foil container with a plastic or cardboard lid.

A foil container is excluded from the ADS calculation because a paper label will not adhere to the foil due to the condensation in the frozen environment.

Frozen Foods – Foil Container, Plastic or Cardboard Lid and Overwrap

e.g., cake, lasagna
This frozen cake in foil container shows an overwrap, which is a sleeve of plastic that wraps around half the container and displays brand and product information.
This frozen lasagna in a foil container shows an overwrap, which is a sleeve of plastic that wraps around half the container and displays brand and product information.

If the UPC is located on a non-ADS surface (i.e., foil container) the area of the UPC is not subtracted in the ADS calculation.

Multi-pack with Dropped Units (plastic cups)

e.g., multi-pack of pudding, multi-pack of yogurt with common lid
Yogurt Multi-pack
The entire top of the yogurt multi-pack connects four small square individual containers. The top is considered available display surface.

Common Top: The entire top of the yogurt multi-pack is considered ADS. However, it is not considered a single continuous surface, as the top is broken into smaller units as it is consumed. Each individual lid is considered a continuous surface.

Boxed Multi-pack
For this boxed multi-pack, the available display surface includes both the top and the sides of the box, but not the ends because the box is open-ended.

Common Top – Box: ADS includes both the top and sides of the box, but not the ends if the ends are absent (i.e., if the box is open ended).

Multi-Pack – Transparent cellophane wrapper over fully labelled individual units

Fully prepackaged units are sometimes sold in a variety of formats. For example, single serving units of juice in Tetra Pak containers may be sold individually and the same product may also be sold in multi-packs of 3, 5, or 10 units, etc.

When product is sold both individually and in multi-packs, special consideration is given to the labelling of the multi-packs with transparent outer packaging, as each individual unit is already required to be fully labelled with a NFT and is visible through the outer packaging material. Two options exist:

For this multipack of six boxed juices, the ADS includes the total outer package. See description below.

The NFT may appear on the outer cellophane wrapper. In this case, the ADS includes total outer package. The choice of format and version (size) of format may be based on the ADS of this surface.

This image shows that for a multipack of six boxed juices, the NFT is displayed on each individual unit. See description below.

The NFT may appear on the individual units providing that all mandatory information is visible at the time of purchase (including: common name, ingredients, Nutrition Facts table, dealer identification, etc.). The choice of format and version (size) of format may be based on the ADS of the individual unit.

Pillow Packs

Sides of the pillow package would be considered available display surface as the sides are greater than 4 centimetre.
The sides of the pillow package would not be includes in the available display surface as the sides are lesser than 4 centimetre.

The sides of the pillow package on the left would be considered ADS as they are greater than 4 cm, while the sides of the pillow package on the right would not be included in the ADS calculation.

Tetra Pak

This image shows that tetra pack packaging is available in a number of sizes (volumes) and shapes including rectangular box shapes and octagonal box shapes, such as large rectangular juice boxes.
This is a side view of rectangular tetra pack packaging.
This is a bottom view of rectangular tetra pack packaging.

Tetra Pak packaging is available in a number of sizes (volumes) and shapes including rectangular box shapes and octagonal box shapes.

Tubs – Printed Plastic

e.g., yogurt, margarine
This image shows conical yogurt and margarine tubs, which are examples of tubs with printed plastic labeling. See description below.

Sides: When calculating the ADS of the sides of a plastic tub, do not include the bottom curve (if any), the ridges at the top of the tub and the area covered by the lip of the lid.

Top view of the plastic tub
Side view of the plastic tub with the nutrition facts table

To calculate the area of the sides of a tub, use the mathematical formula for the area of a conical frustum (refer to Mathematical Calculations for the Area of Some Geometric Forms).

Tubs – Plastic with Paper Label

e.g., deli tubs with stickers.
This cylindrical tub of olives is an example of a plastic tub with paper labels on the top lid.
This cylindrical tub of nuts is an example of a plastic tub with a paper label located at the bottom of the tub.

Tubs – Cardboard

e.g., ice cream
This cylindrical ice cream tub is an example of a cardboard tub. The Nutrition Facts table is on the side of the package. See description below.
This Square ice cream tub is also a cardboard tub. The Nutrition Facts table is on the side of the package. See description below.

Lid: It is impossible to print on some of the plastics used in the construction of these lid rims. As it is difficult to determine the type of plastic used, plastic rims are not considered ADS unless printed material is present in this area. However, if the rim is constructed of cardboard, it is considered ADS.

Sides: To calculate the area of the sides of a round tub, use the mathematical formula for the area of a conical frustum (refer to Mathematical Calculations for the Area of Some Geometric Forms). Include only the area visible at the time of purchase (i.e., do not include the area covered by the rim of the lid.)

Wrappers, Tube Shapes

e.g., bologna,
These packages of bologna are an example of tub-shaped packages with wrappers. All sides of the packages are included in the ADS calculation, excluding any gathered ends unless covered by a sticker, the central seam, and the UPC code.
Wrapper, tube shape - the gathered ends are covered with a flat sticker, the ends are considered available display surface
Wrapper, tube shapes with ends that are tied, the ends aren't considered available display surface
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