Identity and Principal Place of Business

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Table of Contents

Labelling Requirements

General

All prepackaged foods that require a label must declare the identity and principal place of business of the person who has manufactured or produced the food for sale or resale, or the person for whom the food has been manufactured or produced for sale or resale [B.01.007(1.1)(a), Food and Drug Regulations FDR); 10(b)(i), Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (CPLA)]. For additional details, refer to Food Products that Require a Label.

"Identity" is the name declared on labels. "Identity" means the holder or owner who is responsible for the prepackaged product, and must be accurate enough for consumers to know who that person is.

"Principal Place of Business" is a physical location where food has been manufactured or produced, or for where the food has been manufactured or produced. "Principal" is main; "place" is a building or area for a specific purpose and "business" is a regular trade, commercial enterprise, operations or dealings. Therefore, the principal place of business declared on a label must lead to a physical location where the main activities of food production take place.

Exemptions

Fresh fruit or vegetables that are pre-packaged on retail premises and visibly identifiable in their packaging are exempt from declaring the "identity and principal place of business" of the responsible party on their labels [B.001.007(2), FDR; 32(1), Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations (CPLR)].

In addition, this requirement does not apply to prepackaged foods that are exempt from carrying a label under both the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (CPLA) and Food and Drugs Act (FDA). These foods are prepackaged one bite confections that are sold individually and prepackaged fresh fruits or fresh vegetables packaged in a wrapper or confining band of less than ½ inch in width. For additional details, refer to Food Products that Require a Label.

Manner of Declaring

Identity

The "identity" declared on the label of prepackaged products represents the regulated party that has manufactured or produced the food, or for whom the food has been manufactured or produced. The declared identity must be complete and accurate enough to enable someone to get in touch with the person (definition) who operates the company.

For example, the identity may be:

  • The legal name under which the company operates and has been registered federally, provincially or territorially.

    E.g. I Love Candy Inc.

Principal Place of Business

As indicated, the principal place of business must lead to a physical location where the "principal", or main, "business" can be found. Although a physical location is required to be declared on labels, the legislation does not prescribe the level of detail necessary, nor does it state that a "complete mailing address" is required. The CFIA encourages industry to provide a mailing address that is complete enough so that consumers, who wish to communicate with the "person" in writing, can do so in a timely manner. The best practice is to include the civic address, city, province, postal code and country.

Websites, telephone numbers, and virtual addresses are not acceptable "principal place of business" declarations, as they are not physical locations. Websites are instead examples of Additional Information that May be Added on a Label.

In addition, a numerical code is not an acceptable means of expressing the principal place of business of the dealer (definition) taking responsibility for the product. For example, a French postal code in the example "P. Bureaux & Fils, Négociants à 12345 (France)" does not meet the requirements for the "dealer identity and principal place of business".

Declarations on Domestic Products

Prepackaged products wholly manufactured or produced in Canada are subject to domestic requirements for identity and principal place of business declaration.

Imported products that are not considered to have been "wholly manufactured outside of Canada" (i.e. processing steps are carried out in Canada to modify the nature of the product) are also subject to these domestic requirements. The addition, removal or combination of one or more ingredients, physical or chemical processing including grinding and blending, are examples of processes that modify the nature of a product. For example, macadamia nuts that have been imported in bulk and are then roasted, salted and canned in Canada are not "wholly manufactured outside of Canada". The identity and principal place of business is therefore declared as it would be for domestic products, as opposed to according to the section that follows on imported products.

The following are examples of acceptable declarations for the identity and principal place of business of the responsible party for domestic products:

Example 1: The name of the Canadian city accompanied by CanadaFootnote 1 or the province.

ABC Foods Inc.
Toronto, Canada

or

ABC Foods Inc.
Toronto, ON

ABC Foods Inc.
Victoria, BC

DEF Foods Inc.
Victoria, NF

GHI Foods Inc.
Victoria, ON

Example 2: A full civic address of the Canadian company.

ABC Foods Inc.
123 Streetsville Rd
Toronto, ON
M5M 5M5, Canada

Example 3: If a company has multiple branches across Canada, the company may list multiple branches.

Yellow Banana Ltd.
Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto

Declarations on Imported Products

Prepackaged products wholly manufactured or produced outside of Canada and subject to the CPLA must indicate "imported by/for" (importé par/pour) or the country of origin as part of the identity and principal place of business declaration whether they are labelled or relabelled in Canada or elsewhere [31(2), CPLR].

The requirement to indicate "imported by/for" (importé par/pour) or the country of origin also applies to imported products that are imported in bulk and repackaged at a level of trade other than retail [31(3), CPLR]. An example includes nuts that have been imported in bulk (already roasted and salted) and are only canned in Canada.

If the imported product is repackaged at retail, it is not required to indicate "imported by/for" (importé par/pour) or the country of origin as part of the identity and principal place of business declaration, unless prescribed by commodity specific regulations (e.g. fresh fruits and vegetables or dairy products). For more information on food-specific labelling requirements, visit the Industry Labelling Tool.

For further details on placement and type height, refer to Legibility and Location below [31(4), CPLR].

The following options satisfy the above requirements for the identity and principal place of business of the responsible party for imported products:

  • declare the identity and principal place of business of the foreign manufacturer (definition);
  • declare the identity and principal place of business of the Canadian company adjacent to the country of origin of the product; or
  • declare "imported for" or "imported by" followed by the identity and principal place of business of the Canadian company

Examples of the above options:

Yummy Nut Ltd. Hilo,
Hawaii, 96720

Fate Foods Inc.
China

Drink ABC Rio de
Janeiro
, Brazil Ltd.

A foreign company may also list multiple branches.

Tamale Inc.
Oaxaca, Acapulco,
Tula, Hidalgo

Mexico

In this example Oaxaca, Acapulco and Tula are all cities in Mexico where products from Tamale Inc. are manufactured. As the headquarters for Tamale Inc. are in Tula, which is in the state of Hidalgo, this method of declaration is acceptable.

Imported by / Importé par
The Crunchie Nut Distributions Ltd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba R1G 2N2

The Crunchie Nut Distributions Ltd.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R1G 2N2
Product of USA

Declarations on Retail Specific Products

For retail foods, the identity and principal place of business of the legal entity may vary depending on ownership of the store.

Where multiple stores are owned or franchised by a banner (e.g. retail food chain), the legal name of the individual store or franchisee store must appear on the label. The banner may also appear, but not on its own

Example: Blue Herring Distribution Inc., store #1234.

  • Blue Herring Distribution Inc. is the name of the banner or retail food chain, and Store #1234 is the name of the legal entity the store operates under.

For an independent store that is not part of a banner, the name that must appear is again that of the legal entity.

Example: John Doe's Fish Market.

Location of Label or Container Manufacturers

Where any direct or indirect reference is made on a label to a manufacturing place that refers to the place where the label or container was manufactured, and not the product itself, that reference must be accompanied by an additional statement. This statement must indicate that the place written on the label is referring to where the label or container was manufactured [31(1), CPLR].

  • E.g. Label printed in Canada by …
  • E.g. Label lithographically printed in Canada by …
  • E.g. Container manufactured in Canada by …

Additional Information that May be Included on a Label

Information such as websites and 1-800 telephone numbers may be provided in addition to a company's identity and principal place of business.

Additional terms such as "prepared for", "packaged for", or "distributed by", that further explain information about the identity and principal place of business may be voluntarily added on the label of prepackaged products. In general this is not mandatory. In some cases, however, the terms "manufactured by" or "produced for" are required by commodity specific regulations. For more information on food-specific labelling requirements, visit the Industry Labelling Tool.

Legibility and Location

The identity and principal place of business must be declared on any part of the product label except for the bottom [B.01.005, B.01.007(1), FDR, 10, 13, CPLR], and in letters with a minimum type height of 1.6 millimetres (1/16 inch) based on the lowercase "o" [14(1),15, CPLR].

When the area of the principal display surface of a container is 10 square centimetres (1.55 square inches) or less, then the identity and principal place of business declarations may be shown in letters with a minimum type height of 0.8 millimetres (1/32 inch) [16, CPLR].

The statement of geographic location for products that are wholly manufactured or produced in a country other than Canada must be located immediately adjacent to the declaration of identity and principal place of business, and shown in letters at least as large as those used in the declaration of the Canadian principal place of business [31(2),(3),(4), CPLR].

For more information on this subject, refer to Legibility and Location.

Language

Unlike other mandatory information that is required to be declared on prepackaged product labels, identity and principal place of business do not have to be declared in both official languages [6(2), CPLR; B.01.012(9), FDR]. It is acceptable for identity and principal place of business to be declared in either English or French, or an alphabet that is common to English and French such as Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Swedish, etc. Languages with other alphabets such as Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Greek, however, are not accepted.

The words "imported by" or "imported for", when required, must be declared in both official languages.

For more information on this subject, refer to Bilingual Labelling.

How to Declare Changes to Identity and Principal Place of Business

The identity and principal place of business of the legal entity that is responsible for prepackaged foods may change over time. The following outlines the CFIA approach when these transitions take place.

Note: the scenarios outlined below relate only to the acceptability of the identity and principal place of business declaration. Any violations found on other parts of the label during such a transition may be subject to enforcement action.

When a Company Changes Addresses

In general, there is no objection to a company using up labels with an obsolete address for the time period required to produce new labels, as long as during this time the company has mail-forwarding instructions at the post office.

When a Company is Sold

  • When "company A" is sold to "company B"
    In general, there is no objection to "company B" using up old labels from "company A" if "company B" continues to do business at "company A's" old addresses.

    If "company B" does move to a new address, see "when a company changes addresses" for details.

  • When "company A" is sold to "company B", and as a result becomes a subsidiary of "company B"
    In general, there is no objection to "company A" (the subsidiary of company B) using their original labels if they continue to operate with the same company name and do business at the same location.

When a Brand Name is Sold

When "company A" sells their brand name (not its company name) to "company B", and company B operates at the company B address, new labels will be required right away.

When a Company is Going Out of Business

In general, there is no objection for the company which is going out of business to use existing labels during this transition period.

When a Company has Gone Out of Business

When a company has gone out of business, their product labels are not acceptable for use by any company.

When Products are Already Sold to Distributors or Retailers have Old Labels

In general, there is no objection to the use of old labels that are on products already sold to distributors (definition).

Definitions

Dealer

"Dealer" means a person who is a retailer, manufacturer, processor or producer of a product, or a person who is engaged in the business of importing, packing or selling any product; [2, CPLA].

Manufacturer or Distributor

"Manufacturer" or "Distributor" means a person, including an association or partnership, who under their own name, or under a trade-, design or word mark, trade name or other name, word or mark controlled by them, sells a food or drug; [A.01.010, FDR].

Person

  • Person is defined in the Interpretation Act, which serves to interpret provisions of other Acts of Parliaments.
    • Person, or any word or expression descriptive of a person, includes a corporation [35(1), Interpretation Act].
  • For this reason, references to "person" in legislation or regulations enforced by the CFIA include a consumer, a manufacturer, a retailer, an importer, a restaurant, any other commercial industrial enterprise, an institution such as a school or hospital, and anyone else who sells, uses, or buys a food. References to this definition of "person", as per the FDR, may include ones beyond a "consumer" as per the CPLA and CPLR.
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