Chapter 7 – Packaging and labelling
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Table of Contents
- 7.1 Introduction
- 7.2 Applicable legislation and references
- 7.3 Types of containers and labels
- 7.4 Request for registration of labels and recipes
- 7.5 Label registration fees
- 7.6 Mandatory requirements for labels of edible meat products in registered establishments
- 7.7 Non-mandatory information on labels for edible meat products in registered establishments
- 7.8 Other labelling requirements
- 7.9 Cutting and labelling requirements of poultry parts
- 7.10 Acceptable methods of labelling meat products in artificial casings
- 7.11 Labelling of volume retail packages
- 7.12 Labelling of shipping containers
- 7.13 Ham nomenclature
- 7.14 Labelling requirements for non-meat food products
- 7.15 Requirements for labels not requiring registration from the Packaging, Labelling and Evaluation Unit
- 7.16 Labelling requirements for non-food products
- 7.17 Custody of labels
- 7.18 Transfer of labels, bearing the Meat Inspection Legend, from one registered establishment to another
- 7.19 Disposal of obsolete labels bearing the Meat Inspection Legend
- 7.20 Authority to reproduce the Meat Inspection Legend
- 7.21 Labelling of imported meat products
7.22 Meat Standards as prescribed in the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990
- 7.22.1 Protein requirements
- 7.22.2 Ingredients derived from milk
- 7.22.3 Gums and gelling agents
- 7.22.4 Use of pork or poultry skin
- 7.22.5 Use of mechanically separated meat (MSM)
- 7.22.6 Wiltshire bacon
- 7.22.7 Use and labelling of partially defatted chopped beef and pork
- 7.22.8 Use and labelling of partially defatted chopped beef and pork obtained from a low temperature heating process
- 7.22.9 Use of phosphate salts or water in the preparation of meat products
Annex A - Request for Registration of Labels, Markings and Containers
Pre-market registration of labels and recipes for certain meat and processed products no longer required
Annex E - Registration Stamp
Pre-market registration of labels and recipes for certain meat and processed products no longer required
The purpose of this chapter of the Meat Hygiene Manual of Procedures is to elaborate on the regulatory requirements related to packaging, labelling and recipes of edible meat products prepared in federally registered establishments or imported.
7.2 Applicable legislation and references
The following references are applicable to the packaging, labelling and recipes of meat products either prepared in federally registered meat establishments or imported:
- The Meat Inspection Act and Regulations
- The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations
- The Food and Drugs Act and Regulations
- The Canada Agricultural Products Act and Regulations made thereunder
- The Industry Labelling Tool
- The CFIA Meat Cuts Manual
- The Nutrition Labelling Tool Kit
- The Weights and Measures Act and Regulations
To reduce the volume of this chapter, the information contained in these reference materials will not be repeated in detail.
7.3 Types of containers and labels
Packaging materials shall not impart any undesirable substance to the meat product, either chemically or physically, and shall protect the food product sufficiently to prevent contamination. Containers may be included in the Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemical Products.
It is no longer mandatory to register packaging materials and non-food chemicals. The existing reference listing will continue to be accessible on the CFIA website but will no longer be updated. Please refer to Chapter 3.6, Pre-requisite Programs for the requirements for acceptable packaging materials and non-food chemical products.
If the packaging and non-food chemical products were not previously registered as part of the existing reference list, then a letter of guarantee from the supplier will be required to demonstrate compliance, as part of the operator's prerequisite programs, and must be made available to CFIA inspectors upon request. For acceptable letters of guarantee, refer to the Food Safety and Enhancement Program Manual (FSEP), 3.1.1, Purchasing/Receiving/Shipping/, B.2.1.1.
7.3.1 Types of containers
Basically, there are two types of containers: retail containers and non-retail containers.
- Retail containers:
Casings (natural and artificial)
- Non-retail containers:
Bags, including stockinettes
7.3.2 Types of labels
The LRRU distinguishes the following types of labels and refers to them under the following codes. These codes may be included by the applicant on the CFIA/ACIA 1478. (Annex A)
A Artificial casing
B Printed bag
BL Pressure-sensitive label for bag
C Individual carton and mono-cup lid
CB Combo bins
D Stencilled product description, (pail, barrel head, barrel and drum)
DC Display carton
EC Edible casing
F Bacon folder or wallet
G Paper label for glass jar
HB Hessian bag
HL Header label (hanging)
I Insert label
K Kemex label
L Paper label
M Breast tag; clip for bag or casing
P Pouch, film, foil or paper
PB Poultry bag
PL Placard label for freight car, tank car or truck
PS Pressure-sensitive label for consumer sized products
RS Stamp, stencil or pressure-sensitive label for use with shipping container
S Shipping container
SB Sleeve printed band
SL Label for shipping container
SV Sealed vehicle
T Lithographed can
W Wrap, cello, foil or paper
X Shipping tag
Z Tag for sausage in natural casing
Please note that in fully marked containers closed by a pressure sensitive tamper evident label that doubles as a seal, the label sticker shall display either the meat inspection legend or a complete label.
All other pressure-sensitive labels need not be tamper evident, but must stick securely to the shipping cartons or immediate containers.
7.3.3 Package design guidelines for Vexar netting, coloured casings and bags
- Opaque bags, casings or wrappings of any colour, including for poultry carcasses, are acceptable.
- Tinted transparent and semi-transparent bags, wrappings or films are permitted under certain conditions (see item (b)).
- Netting must be of significantly contrasting colour to the product it is covering.
The wrappings shall not be of such colour, design or kind as to be misleading with respect to colour, quality or kind of product to which they are applied. Transparent or semi-transparent wrappings for articles such as sliced bacon or fresh (uncooked) meat products shall not include lines or other designs of red or other colour which give a false impression of leanness of the product. Transparent or semi-transparent wrappings, casings or bags for use in packaging cured, cured and smoked, or cured and cooked sausage products, and sliced ready-to-eat meat products may not include red designs which would enhance the appearance of the product.
In the case of packages of bacon slices (belly or side), the window area on the package must be large enough to expose at least 2/3 (66%) of the bacon strip length, as well as the complete width of the bacon strip.
- Use of coloured transparent or semi-transparent containers
- Prepackaged meat products
This category of meat products refers to those meat products intended to be sold directly to the consumer. These products shall not be packaged in coloured transparent or semi-transparent containers unless:
- a declaration attesting that the container is coloured appears:
- on the label in close proximity to the product name (e.g. "Beef sausage in coloured casing"); or
- on the container printed in a repeated manner.
- a cross-section of the meat product is visible through a clear colourless film.
Note: the size of the lettering for the declaration will be a minimum of one-half the size of type of the product name.
- a declaration attesting that the container is coloured appears:
- Non-prepackaged meat products
This category of meat products refers to meat products that are not intended to be sold directly to the consumer in their original container, but require slicing and cutting by the retailer before being offered for sale. Such products are not required to bear special markings/declaration or to show a clear cut surface. This would include meat products sold to deli outlets, hotels and restaurants. There is no weight restriction for these products.
- Prepackaged meat products
7.4 Request for registration of labels and recipes
Label as defined in the Meat Inspection Act, includes any legend, word, mark, symbol, design, imprint, stamp, brand, ticket or tag or any combination thereof that is or is to be applied or attached to or included in, or that accompanies or is to accompany, any meat product, package or animal.
Recipe as defined in the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 Section 2, in respect of a meat product:
- the ingredients of the meat product and the components of the ingredients thereof, including food additives;
- the proportions of those ingredients and components; and
- the method of manufacture and the results of any test conducted on the meat product.
7.4.1 Labels and recipes requiring registration by the Label and Recipe Registration Unit
7.5 Label registration fees
7.6 Mandatory requirements for labels of edible meat products in registered establishments
When edible meat products are labelled for retail sale, the mandatory requirement must appear in both official languages on the container.
The following information is generally referred to as being mandatory:
- 7.6.1 The identity of the meat product;
- 7.6.2 The net quantity of the meat product (except in the case of random (catch) weight products);
- 7.6.3 The list of ingredients (where applicable);
- 7.6.4 The name and address of the registered establishment where the meat product was produced or labelled or of the person for whom the meat product was produced or labelled, preceded by the words "Prepared for" and "Préparé pour";
- 7.6.5 The Meat Inspection Legend; and
- 7.6.6 The storage instructions, and, where applicable:
The mandatory requirements are dealt with in more detail below and in the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.
7.6.1 The identity of the meat product
The common name is the name under which a meat product is generally known. Meat products for which a compositional standard is prescribed in the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990, shall be marked with that name.
Example: "Regular ground beef".
In the labelling of ground meat, only the following four designations are permitted, depending on the fat content: regular ground "meat" (max. 30% fat), medium ground "meat" (max. 23% fat), lean ground "meat" (max. 17% fat) and extra-lean ground "meat" (max. 10% fat), the term "meat" being replaced by the name of the animal species (e.g., regular ground beef).
In the case of a beef carcass, a complete side, a hind quarter, a front quarter, a primal cut or a sub-primal cut, the product must be identified according to the specifications prescribed in the Livestock Carcass Grading Regulations (see section 7.12 (3)).
Where a non-meat product ingredient such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, cheese, macaroni, pickles or olives is added to a standardized meat product, the name of that non-meat product ingredient must be included in the name of the meat product.
Example: Meat spread, to which tomato has been added, shall be described as "meat spread and tomato".
If a meat product, consisting of meat, meat by-products, mechanically separated meat, or a combination of these meat ingredients, derived from more than one animal species, is referred to as being derived from an animal species, then all the animal species from which the meat products are derived must be identified.
Example: A meat loaf, containing beef and mutton, and pork by-product as meat product ingredients, shall be described as either "beef, mutton, and pork loaf" or simply as "meat loaf".
In this example, it is assumed that beef constitutes the greatest percentage of all the meat products used in the composition of the loaf, followed by mutton, and with pork by-product contributing the smallest amount of the three meat products, (descending order of their presence).
"Solid cut meat product"
A "solid cut meat product" is an edible meat product consisting of either a solid piece of meat or containing at least 80% of boneless skinless meat in pieces weighing 25 g or more.
Such a meat product may be identified by its common name (e.g. Boneless Ham) without further qualifications (e.g. chopped and formed).
The pieces of meat of 25 g or more are calculated on the basis of the weight of raw meat, before any other ingredient is added. It is understood that the processes subsequently used (e.g. injection of brine, massaging and tumbling) result in the release of fine particles of meat. This is a normal reaction. However, to maintain its status of a "solid cut meat product" the process must ensure that the final product respects the proportion and size of pieces of meat as established in the raw meat state.
Instead of adding up to 20% of boneless skinless meat in pieces weighing 25 g or more, the processor may opt to inject up to 15% of ground or emulsified meat trimmings.
(b) Use of superlatives, together with the name of the meat product
The use of superlatives such as "First Choice" or "Best Quality" in the name of a meat product is only acceptable if the superlative is preceded by the name of the firm manufacturing the meat product or by the name of the firm for which a meat product is prepared.
Example: "A.Z. Packers Best Quality Wieners" is acceptable. "Best Quality Wieners" is unacceptable as a name.
(c) Use of natural casings
Special attention must be paid to the origin of natural casings used as wrapping and/or as rework material. If the natural casing used is of a different animal species than that of the meat ingredients used in the sausage, the natural casing must be declared.
The declaration of natural casing may either be added at the end of the list of ingredients, or, if the natural casing is used to wrap the product, in the name of the product. If an animal species is included in the product's name and the product's casing originates from another species, the natural casing must be declared in the product's name.
- Declaration of the natural casing in the list of ingredients:
The declaration of the natural casing is not required when it is derived from an animal species that is used as a meat ingredient in the product.
Product name: "Beef Sausage" or "100% Beef Sausage" or "Pure Beef Sausage" etc.
Ingredients: "Beef, water, ... spice"
In this case the declaration of the casing is not required but it must be of beef origin. If a casing from another animal species is used then it must be declared with the name of the product.
Product name: "Sausage" or "Pepperoni" etc.
Ingredients: "Beef, pork, water, ... spice"
In this case it is not required to declare the natural casing(s) if they are of beef and/or of pork origin. However if a casing from another animal species is used then it must be declared at the end of the ingredient list (e.g. "Beef, pork, water, ... spice; lamb natural casing."
- Declaration of the natural casing with the name of the product:
The declaration of the natural casing with the name of the product is allowed only when the product is stuffed in the declared natural casing. When the natural casing is associated with the name of the product it is not required to declare it at the end of the ingredient list.
Product name: "Beef sausage in lamb natural casing" or "100% Beef sausage in lamb natural casing" or "Sausage in lamb natural casing"
Ingredients: "Beef, water, ... spice"
Product name: "Beef and pork sausage in lamb natural casing" or "Sausage in lamb natural casing"
Ingredients: "Beef, pork, water, ... spice"
Declaration of the natural casing without naming the animal species is also possible:
"Lamb Sausage in natural casing" (when a lamb casing is used), "Pork Sausage in natural casing" (when a pork casing is used).
"Pepperoni in natural casing" Ingredients: Beef, pork, water, spice, salt, nitrite. In this case the natural casing must be either of beef or pork origin.
The declaration of the casing must appear as part of the name of the product when:
- animal species (i.e. meat ingredients) are declared in the product name; and
- the casing is of a different animal species than the ones declared.
Product name: "Beef Sausage in pork natural casing", "100% Beef sausage in lamb natural casing", "Beef and Pork Sausage in lamb natural casing"
(d) Use of modifiers such as "100%", "All" or "Pure" in names of sausages and meat patties
Descriptions such as "100% Beef Sausage", "All Beef sausage", or "Pure Pork Sausage" are acceptable, provided the meat product ingredients have been derived exclusively from the animal species indicated.
In the case of meat patties, such modifiers are acceptable for use in the product name, provided that:
- as with sausages, the meat product ingredients are derived exclusively from animal species indicated; and
- the qualifying phrase "with seasoning added" appears in close proximity to the product name.
Example: "Pure Beef Patties with Seasoning Added"
"100% Pork Patties with Seasoning Added"
These modifiers are permitted for sausages and patties and not for other meat products.
Note: Special attention should be paid to the nature of the casing used. For instance, a "100% Beef Sausage" shall not be encased in a natural casing derived from any other animal species. However, an edible collagen casing or any other artificial casing will be acceptable.
(e) Use of qualifiers in names of meat products
If qualifiers such as smoked, basted, etc., plus naming the meat product are used as names, then they must conform with the requirements of sections 94, 101 and schedule IV of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.
Example: A smoked bologna may be marked with a common name description of either "Bologna" or "Smoked Bologna".
Meat products which are tenderized with a proteolytic enzyme and are being packaged for retail sale or for being sold directly to HRI (hotels, restaurants and institutions), shall be described as "Tenderized (name of the meat product)". The enzyme(s) that was used does not need to be part of the name of the product but must appear in the list of ingredients.
Meat products which are tenderized with a proteolytic enzyme and are being packaged in bulk containers shall be described as "(name of the meat product) tenderized with (naming the proteolytic enzyme or enzymes)". The enzyme that was used also must appear in the list of ingredients on the bulk container.
When a flavour is added to a meat product, it is not necessary to reflect this in the product's description (i.e. the product's name). However, flavours shall be shown in the list of ingredients as "flavour" or "artificial flavour", as applicable. Generally, all the components of flavours need not be declared in the list of ingredients but certain exceptions apply (for more detail see section 7.6.3(a) of this chapter). The added flavour preparation(s) (i.e. actual flavouring agents and carrier agent(s)) shall not exceed 1% of the total product by weight.
Common name of sausages
Common name descriptions of well-known types of sausages do not require the word "sausage" as part of the common name description. All other sausages, no matter under what name they are marketed, must have the word "sausage" added as part of the name of the product.
Example: Jagdwurst sausage, Metwurst sausage, Thuringer sausage, etc.
(f) Labelling of dressed chicken/duck carcasses and portions containing kidneys
All dressed chicken and/or duck carcasses and cut-up chicken and/or duck portions containing kidneys, when packaged for sale, must be labelled with "may contain kidneys" and "peut contenir des reins". These declarations on breast tags, bags, packages and any other retail or bulk container constitute part of the product description and shall be shown as part of it on the main panel. The declarations shall have a minimum type height lettering of 1.6 mm.
(g) Coined names
Before using a coined name, manufacturers should verify if it is not a registered trademark in Canada.
More and more meat processing plants are engaged in the production of finger foods. Names most commonly used include: fingers, nuggets, sticks and strips. Since there are quite a few different types of products involved, what follows is an attempt at classifying those types of products.
Products which are made from a solid piece of meat may use such terms as "Nuggets, Fingers, etc." as part of the product name without further qualifications e.g. "Chicken Nuggets".
Products made from chopped and formed meat may use such terms as "Nuggets, Fingers, etc." as part of the product name provided a qualifying statement describing such process is shown contiguous to the product name, e.g. "Chicken Nuggets, chopped and formed".
Products made from chopped meat and containing fillers may be described as "Nuggets, Fingers, etc." provided a descriptive name immediately follows e.g. "Nugget Shaped Chicken Burgers", otherwise, the product name must fully describe the product.
Note: Breaded products described in the paragraphs above shall be labelled as "Breaded".
(h) Meat product labels with claims that are unsubstantiated or unverifiable by inspectors
Labels containing statements referring to production methods for the live animals. An example of this type of statement is: "Hormone Free".
It is not permitted to show such statements on the label of a meat product. Labels containing statements such as these will not be registered at the present time. Method of production claims must follow the guidelines in the Food and Drugs Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, and must be currently accepted by the LRRU prior to registering a label.
7.6.2 The net quantity of the meat product
Net weight declaration
- The numerical declaration of net weight must be followed by a metric unit of measure. The symbols of units of measure which may be used are as follows: g, kg, ml or ML, l or L. No punctuation marks are permitted.
Operators may ship random (catch) weight meat products without marking the actual weight on individual packages. Shipping cartons containing catch weight products shall show a net weight declaration when shipped.
- Legislated weights
See the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 Schedule II.
- For any further details in regard to net quantity, see the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 and information provided in the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations.
7.6.3 The list of ingredients
(a) General requirements
All ingredients of a meat product shall be listed in descending order of their presence. This will reflect the relative proportion of the ingredients before they are combined to form the meat product. Water and smoke are considered as ingredients and shall be listed as such.
Components of ingredients such as spice mixtures, seasoning and flavouring preparations shall be shown on the label as prescribed under sections B.01.008, B.01.009 and B.01.010 of the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) (See Annex J of this chapter for more details). In general all the components of these mixtures and preparations need not be declared in the list of ingredients. However when the mixture or preparation contains one or more of the following ingredients or components, those ingredients or components shall be shown by their common names in the list of ingredients of the meat product as if they were ingredients of that product:
- glutamic acid or its salts;
- hydrolyzed plant protein;
- potassium chloride;
- peanut oil; hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated peanut oil; modified peanut oil; and
- any ingredient or component that performs a function in, or has any effect on, that meat product.
Examples: If a preservative is present in a flavouring preparation in such an amount as to have a preservative function in the meat product to which the flavouring preparation has been added, the preservative must be declared in the list of ingredients of that meat product. Similarly, soy, wheat, milk proteins, etc. are often added to seasoning or flavouring preparations to increase their dispersibility. Since these added substances also perform other functions in the final product, including solubility, gelation, emulsification, viscosity, etc., they must be declared in the list of ingredients of the final product to which the seasoning or flavouring preparations have been added, regardless of the amount present [section B.01.009 (3), FDR].
In variable formulation all meat product ingredients shall be grouped together and placed in the appropriate position in the ingredient listing and be segregated from non-meat ingredients by a semi-colon (;) or a dash (-). If meat product ingredients are fixed as to inclusion and order, segregate each meat product ingredient by a comma (,).
If the meat portion varies as to inclusion or order, then it may read: "Beef, Pork and/or Mutton". If all meat product ingredients are interchangeable, then it may read: "Beef and/or Pork and/or Mutton". Designations of species should appear, in the case of variable formulation, in either of the following formats:
- ingredients: may contain beef, pork, mutton and their by-products; or
- ingredients: beef and/or pork and/or mutton and/or their by-products.
A filler may be listed as an ingredient, followed by a listing of all the components between parenthesis, e.g. filler (flour, skim milk powder, etc.), or the components making up the filler may be listed individually as ingredients. Additives such as antioxidants BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) may be abbreviated, but a flavour enhancer, such as monosodium glutamate shall be spelled out in full, in the ingredient listing.
Toasted wheat crumb may be listed as an ingredient. Toasted wheat crumb is a food made by cooking a dough prepared with flour and water, which may be unleavened, or chemically or yeast leavened, and which otherwise complies with the standard described in B13.021 and B13.022 of the Food and Drug Regulations. The components of this ingredient do not have to be declared in the ingredient listing when it is added to a meat product.
(b) Allergen labelling
Declaration of ingredients with allergenic properties or causing serious adverse reactions:
A variety of foods contain ingredients that can cause adverse reactions in certain individuals. These reactions can vary from minor to life-threatening. Most adverse food reactions are caused by the following priority food allergens:
- tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts [filberts], macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts);
- sesame seeds;
- seafood (fish, crustaceans, shellfish);
- wheat; and
If these allergens or their derivatives are not correctly identified on the label of a food, the results can be serious and sometimes fatal.
Undeclared allergens may occur as a result of:
- using re-work materials containing priority allergens or their derivatives;
- ingredient changes, substitutions or additions not reflected on the label;
- product in wrong packages because of a mix-up in packaging materials;
- printing error or omission from the list of ingredients;
- unknown ingredients in raw materials;
- use of incorrect common names to describe products/ingredients (e.g. "mandelonas" for "almond-flavoured peanuts"); and
- carry-over of product through incomplete cleaning of food contact surfaces and utensils, sometimes because of poor equipment design.
The CFIA requires that the above allergens be included in the list of ingredients on the labels of meat products when they are present as ingredients or components of ingredients. Manufacturers must pay special attention to ingredients that are added through the use of mixtures and preparations (e.g. flavouring and seasoning preparations). Also, presence of allergens must be considered in the hazard identification and analysis done as part of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program.
Allergen declaration may be done by using one of the three following options:
Option 1: Declare all the ingredient's components in brackets following that ingredient.
Ingredients: chicken, batter (water, modified corn starch, wheat flour, salt, soy oil, sodium bicarbonate, milk ingredients, guar gum), toasted wheat crumbs (wheat flour, palm oil shortening, salt, yeast), hydrogenated soy oil, seasoning (herbs, spices, wheat flour, sesame seeds), lemon juice with sulphites.
Option 2: Declare the name of the food allergens in plain language in brackets after the ingredients. The allergen is only required to be declared once in the list of ingredients. The other non-allergenic components are not required to be declared if the ingredient is exempted from component declaration under subsection B.01.009 (1), FDR.
Ingredients: chicken, batter (water, modified cornstarch, wheat flour, salt, sodium bicarbonate, milk ingredients, guar gum), toasted wheat crumbs, hydrogenated soy oil, seasoning (sesame seeds), lemon juice with sulphites.
Option 3: Use a "Contains" statement to list all the food allergens present in the food product. If this statement is used, it must declare all the food allergens in the food. The statement must be shown at the end of the list of ingredients.
Ingredients: chicken, batter (water, modified cornstarch, wheat flour, salt, sodium bicarbonate, milk ingredients, guar gum), toasted wheat crumbs, hydrogenated soy oil, seasoning, lemon juice with sulphites.
Contains: wheat, milk, sesame seeds, soy, sulphites
The exemptions in the FDR sections B.01.008 (10) (Components of ingredients in a sandwich not required to be shown in list of ingredients) and B.01.009 (Components of ingredients or of classes of ingredients not required to be shown on label) do not apply to food allergens. Furthermore, if an ingredient under section B.01.009, FDR, is added in another pre-packaged food, any food allergen present in that ingredient must be declared.
Foods exempt from having a label [B.01.003 (a), FDR] or a list of ingredients [B.01.008 (2), FDR] are exempt from allergen declaration. For example:
- pre-packaged foods made and sold at the same retail store;
- pre-packaged sandwiches made at a commissary and sold through automatic vending machines or mobile canteens; and
- pre-packaged meat/poultry and meat/poultry by-products that are barbecued, roasted or broiled on the retail premises
To further assist consumers in making safe food choices, the CFIA requires manufacturers, importers and distributors to identify the plant source of ingredients, such as hydrolysed plant proteins, starches, modified starches and lecithin (e.g. hydrolysed soy protein, wheat starch, modified wheat starch, soy lecithin).
It has been demonstrated that "highly refined edible oils" are virtually devoid of proteinaceous material and, hence, it is generally agreed that such highly refined oils are unlikely to cause food allergies. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer, distributor or importer to demonstrate that the highly refined oils in their products do not contain allergenic proteins.
Where priority food allergens may inadvertently be present in a food despite Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), a precautionary statement, such as the ones listed below, may be used following the ingredient list, in both official languages.
Examples of precautionary statements:
- "may contain X"; and
- "not suitable for consumption by persons with an allergy to X" where X is the name by which the food allergen is commonly known.
When an allergen is likely to be present in a product, the use of precautionary labelling is not acceptable and the presence of the allergenic ingredient must be accurately declared on the label. For example, it would be acceptable to use a "may contain wheat" statement on a beef burger product where the product is processed on the same manufacturing equipment as another product and where there may be a possible transfer of wheat to the final product. It would not be acceptable to have a "may contain soy" statement on a pepperoni and cheese sandwich if the pepperoni contains soy. The label would have to indicate that the product does contain soy. The "may contain" statement is not allowed on a label of a food that sometimes contains a food allergen ingredient and sometimes does not; the allergen ingredient must be declared.
The CFIA recommends that precautionary statements on ingredients be transferred to the finished product if the finished product does not already contain the food allergen mentioned in the precautionary statement.
However, the manufacturer should fully investigate the necessity of the precautionary statement of the ingredient. Precautionary statements should be used only as a last resort, and must not be used in lieu of adherence to GMP.
More information on food allergens:
(c) Requirements for cured meat products
The declaration of ingredients of cured meat products, such as ham and bacon, shall be shown as follows on the label:
- where the list of ingredients appears on the main panel, immediately below the name of the meat product, neither naming the kind of meat product nor repeating the name is required in the ingredient listing.
Example 1: Smoked ham
Cured with water, salt, sodium phosphate, sodium nitrite.
Example 2: Bacon
Artificial maple flavour added.
Cured with water, salt, sugar, dextrose, sodium nitrite.
- where the ingredient listing is not immediately below the name but located elsewhere on the label, a total list of ingredients, including the kind of meat product, becomes necessary following the word "ingredients".
Example 1: Smoked ham
Ingredients: ham, water, salt, sodium phosphate, sodium nitrite, smoke.
Example 2: Bacon
Ingredients: Pork, water, salt, sugar, dextrose, sodium nitrite, smoke, artificial maple flavour.
(d) Requirements for products where mechanically separated meats have been used
The declaration of ingredients for products where mechanically separated meats have been used shall be shown as follows on the label:
- If more than one mechanically separated species meat is used in the meat block; e.g.
species in meat block per cent Mechanically Separated Chicken: 26.85% Mechanically Separated Pork: 20.00% Mechanically Separated Beef: 10.00% Mechanically Separated Veal: 9.55% Water: 22.60% Spices and Filler: 11.00%
the ingredient list should read:
Mechanically separated meat (Chicken, Pork, Beef, Veal) water, ...
- If only one mechanically separated species meat is used in the meat block; e.g.
meat in meat block per cent Mechanically separated chicken: 25.85% Pork: 20.00% Beef: 10.00% Veal: 9.55% Water: 22.60% Spices and Filler: 12.00%
the ingredient list should read:
Mechanically separated chicken, pork, beef, veal, water, ...
- If more than one mechanically separated species meat is used in the meat block as well as boneless meats, e.g.
meat used in meat block per cent Mechanically separated chicken: 12.85% Mechanically separated turkey: 10.00% Mechanically separated pork: 8.00% Beef: 18.00% Pork: 9.00% Beef by-products (plasma,tripes): 8.00% Water: 22.60% Filler and Spices: 11.55% (Total of ingredients): 100.00%
where the mechanically separated meats represent, in total, the highest percentage of the meat block, the ingredients list should read:
Mechanically separated meat (chicken, turkey, pork), beef, pork, beef by-products; water, ...
(e) Requirements for products to which smoke or smoke flavour was added
Smoke and smoke flavour are ingredients and must be listed accordingly. The following designation shall be used depending on how these ingredients were added to the meat product:
- "naturally smoked" – the meat product was exposed to smoke generated from the direct combustion of hardwood, hardwood sawdust or corn cobs. This can be done either in the presence of heat or not; and/or
- "smoked" – the meat product was treated with smoke derived directly or indirectly (i.e. liquid smoke) from hardwood, hardwood sawdust or corn cobs. In the case of liquid smoke, the term "smoked" shall be used only if the meat product was subjected to heat in the presence of a vaporized liquid smoke solution or when the meat product subjected to heat has been packaged in a casing or wrapping impregnated with liquid smoke; and/or
- "smoke flavour" – this term shall be used when liquid smoke has been added to the meat product by methods other than those mentioned above, e.g. adding liquid smoke directly into the emulsion.
(f) Requirements for meat products wrapped in collagen or carrageenan films
The use of edible wrappings (e.g. collagen or carrageenan) in the preparation of meat products other than sausages must be declared at the end of the ingredient list. For example, the declaration "wrapped in carrageenan", "coated with carrageenan" or "wrapped in collagen" shall appear at the end of the ingredient list of hams wrapped in such material.
(g) Requirements for solid meat cuts to which meat particles have been injected with the brine
When a whole muscle cut has been injected with ground or emulsified meat particles (trimmings) in a proportion that is up to 15% of the fresh weight (green weight) of the meat at formulation, the label of the product does not need to indicate the presence of the trimmings. The calculation is done according to the following formula:
When a whole muscle cut has been injected with ground or emulsified meat particles (trimmings) in a proportion that exceeds 15% of the fresh weight of the total meat content (green weight) at formulation, the ingredients list of the product's label needs to indicate the presence of the ground meat (pork, beef or poultry). For example, "A proportion of ground ham added" or "Ground and emulsified beef trimmings added" or "Ground and emulsified poultry trimmings added" or an equivalent statement shall appear in the list of ingredients.
7.6.4 The name and address of the firm
Either the complete name and address of the firm that prepares the meat product, or, preceded by the words "prepared for", the name and address of the firm for whom the meat product is produced or labelled, shall appear on the label of meat products.
Foreign firms shall include the name of the country in the address, while firms in Canada may indicate either the province or Canada. Multi-establishment firms may show the address of the head office instead of the address of the establishment preparing the meat product.
If the address shown is the address of a person for whom the meat product was prepared, then the name and address shall be preceded by the words "prepared for".
Poultry carcasses packaged in a registered establishment for another registered establishment may bear the name and address of the receiving establishment. Hence the receiving establishment may send its bags to the packaging establishment without any label change. The establishment number on the closure clip shall be the number of the establishment packaging the carcasses. The words "prepared for" are no longer required in this instance.
7.6.5 The Meat Inspection Legend
(a) General requirements
The Meat Inspection Legend is a national trade-mark. Subject to the Meat Inspection Act, it is the exclusive property of the Government of Canada and may only be used as authorized by the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.
All labels used in connection with edible meat products produced in a registered establishment must include the Meat Inspection Legend, with the exception of labels of bulk containers of fully marked prepackaged meat products.
The Meat Inspection Legend, when placed on a label, shall have no transverse measurement through the centre of the legend of less than 10 mm and, where stamped or branded directly on a meat product, shall have no transverse measurement through the centre of the legend of less than 25 mm.
When the Meat Inspection Legend is applied to a natural casing it shall be legible. It is not practical to stamp sausages enclosed in natural casings that have a diameter of less than 5 cm.
In the case of sausages which are enclosed in natural casings and subsequently packaged in a fully marked container for retail sale (bearing all mandatory information), the stamping of individual casings is optional.
When wieners are sold "skin-on" in artificial casings, all mandatory information must be printed on the casings. In view of the small size of the sausage, it is permitted to spread the information over three consecutive wieners.
To satisfy stamping requirements, the Meat Inspection Legend shall be applied to an edible dressed carcass or portions derived thereof and to edible organs.
The Meat Inspection Legend may be applied to the meat product by means of:
- stamping or branding;
- a sealed bag on which the meat inspection legend is printed or applied by means of a sticker or an insert;
- a breast tag in the case of a poultry or domesticated rabbit carcass; or
- a container bearing all the mandatory requirements.
The Meat Inspection Legend contains the registration number of the establishment producing the meat product. However, it may be applied without the registration number where the meat product is packaged in:
- a hermetically sealed container that is labelled as prescribed in paragraph 60(d) of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990;
- a casing or bag closed by a metal clip, if the registration number is legibly engraved on the metal clip and is visible when the clip is closed, and is preceded by the abbreviation "EST"; or
- a cardboard container, a corrugated fibreboard container, a bulk container or a plastic container, if the registration number is clearly marked elsewhere on the principal display panel or on a panel other than the principal display panel in the case of a prepackaged product, and is preceded by the abbreviation "EST".
(b) Use of a code on hermetically sealed containers to identify the establishment
Codes may be used on hermetically sealed containers to identify the registration number, the meat product and the date of production.
The use of a code in replacement of the registration number is permitted provided the code is placed in front of the production codes (i.e. meat product, date) and is followed by either a hyphen (-), an oblique (/) or a space clearly distinguishing the establishment code from the production code. If desired, the establishment code may be placed on a separate line, above the production code. If the registration number is used, the same conditions apply.
All operators wanting to use a code instead of the establishment registration number must provide the meaning of the code to the Centre of Administration, Regulatory Permissions and Registration, 1050 Courtneypark Drive East, Mississauga, ON, L5T 2R4 for subsequent registration and distribution to all regional offices.
7.6.6 Storage instructions
All consumer and bulk containers used in connection with edible meat products in a registered establishment shall be labelled with storage instructions unless the meat contained therein is one of the following shelf-stable types:
- commercially sterile meat products in cans, jars, or pouches (excluding pasteurised products);
- dried meat products with a water activity (aw) value of 0.85 or less;
- meat products which have a pH value of 4.6 or lower;
- meat products packed in a 100% brine solution;
- fermented meat products that have a pH level of 5.3 or less and an aw of 0.90 or less. It is understood that the pH of 5.3 or less is achieved at the end of the fermentation period; or
- meat products for which the operator submitted to the Director, Meat Programs Division, a quality control program and supporting data demonstrating that the process is validated to produce safe products and to ensure shelf stability.
All edible meat products, not considered as shelf stable, prepared in a registered establishment shall be labelled with storage instructions which consist of one of the following statements: "Keep refrigerated" or "Keep frozen", whichever is applicable. Storage instructions may be in the check-off form on labels of all containers (prepackaged products) or shipping containers, with the appropriate instruction checked off. The storage instructions shall be shown on the principal display panel.
For certain types of institutional products, the following will also be acceptable: "Keep refrigerated if used before (date) or freeze immediately".
220.127.116.11 Durable life date statement
The words "Best Before" and "Meilleur avant" followed by the durable life date must appear on the label of a prepackaged meat product where the durable life of the meat product is 90 days or less, as prescribed in B.01.007 of the Food and Drug Regulations and in Section 94 of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.
18.104.22.168 Production date and identification code of production lot
All meat products shall be labelled with the production date or with a code identifying the production lot. This code or date of production must appear on the immediate container of prepackaged meat products or on a tag attached to it. For a rapid identification of the product in the case of a recall procedure, it is recommended to add this code/date of production on the shipping containers of the prepackaged meat products. This information must also appear on the bulk containers of meat products. It is possible to use the durable life date statement (see 22.214.171.124) as an identification code of production.
126.96.36.199 Retained water declaration for raw single-ingredient meat products
The amount of water added and retained in raw-single ingredient meat products due to post-evisceration contact with water, in excess of naturally occurring moisture (refer to Chapter 19, sub-section 19.8.3 of this manual), must be declared as part of the product name on the principal display panel of prepackaged products or on shipping containers for non prepackaged product. Raw single-ingredient meat products include e.g. dressed carcasses, parts of dressed carcasses, offal and giblets.
Retained water may be rounded off to the nearest whole number. Retained water below 0.5% need not be declared. The permitted labelling variation is a maximum of 20 percent above the declared amount within the retained water statement.
Operators may include a "no retained water" statement on the label (optional) when no water added due to post-evisceration processing has been retained by the raw single-ingredient meat product.
Amended labels to add the moisture declaration statement may be approved locally by the Veterinarian or Inspector-in-Charge in consultation with area meat hygiene program officers. The following four phrases are permitted:
- "up to X % water retained";
- "less than X % water retained";
- "up to X % retained water added due to processing"; and
- "no retained water".
A submission to support a similar claim must be submitted by the operator to the Veterinarian or Inspector in Charge for evaluation by the area meat hygiene program labelling specialist before it is used.
A claim such as "no water added" is not permitted since it is misleading under section 5 of the Food and Drugs Act.
The moisture declaration must be part of the product description, shall be conspicuous and shall be not less than half of the product's common name or half of any additional mandatory information (e.g.: "with giblets").
Packages containing a variety of raw single-ingredient meat products (e.g. giblets) may be labelled by either:
- listing a separate declaration for each component; or
- a single declaration which indicates the maximum water retained by the components.
Dressed poultry carcasses and parts from dressed poultry carcasses, including detached necks and salvaged portions, are exempt from the requirements of this sub section pending amendments to section 25 (which sets standards for water retention in poultry carcasses) of the Meat Inspection Regulations. However, poultry carcases containing giblets (e.g. frozen turkeys) do require a retained water declaration as part of the product name for the giblets.
Ground meat including finely textured meat (FTM) and mechanically separated meat (MSM)
Ingredients used in the preparation of red meat species ground meat, FTM, or MSM, (e.g., as applicable, bone-in cuts, trimmings, head meat, hearts, tongues) which absorb and retain any water are nor permitted to be used in the preparation of red meat species ground meat, FTM or MSM. At this time, according to Canadian regulations, water cannot be added to these red meat species products.
Meat products treated with salt and water in accordance with Judaic law
Only water absorbed and retained as part of the Kosher process may be excluded from the retained water declaration provided that the product description contains the phrase "soaked and salted" or a similar phrase. The operator shall supply the Veterinarian in Charge with a letter, signed by a Rabbi serving the establishment, which clearly indicates which processing steps are part of the Kosher process.
Prepared Meat Products
Any retained water in raw single-ingredient meat products, used as ingredients, need not be declared on the labelling of prepared, including multi-ingredient meat products (e.g. raw or cooked sausage, pre-basted turkeys, or deli meats). However, such meat products must comply with applicable standards of identity or composition requirements for the specific prepared meat product as contained in Meat Inspection Regulations, the Food and Drug Regulations or this manual.
188.8.131.52 Nutrition labelling
The Nutrition Facts table (NFT) is mandatory for most prepackaged meat products. Some exemptions and exceptions exist.
The following products are exempt from displaying a Nutrition Facts table:
- raw, single ingredient meat, meat by-product, poultry meat and poultry by-products;
Note: Prepackaged ground meat, ground meat by-product, ground poultry meat and ground poultry meat by-product must always carry a Nutrition Facts table [B.01.401 (3) (d), FDR];
- foods sold only in the retail establishment where the product is prepared and processed, including products made from a pre-mix when an ingredient other than water is added to the pre-mix; and
- individual servings of foods that are sold for immediate consumption (e.g., sandwiches or ready-made salads), when these have not been subjected to a process or special packaging, such as modified atmosphere packaging, to extend their durable life;
The exemption is lost when: [B.01.401 (3), FDR]
- a vitamin or mineral nutrient is added to the product or when it is declared as a component of an ingredient (other than flour); or
- the label contains one or more of the following:
- a nutritional reference or nutrient content claim; and/or
- a biological role claim; and/or
- a health claim; and/or
- a health-related name, statement, logo, symbol, seal of approval or other proprietary mark of a third party.
The nutrition facts table is voluntary on a label of a prepackaged meat product intended solely for use as an ingredient in the manufacture of other prepackaged products, or intended solely to be served in a commercial or industrial enterprise or institution. However, the nutrition information shall accompany the product when it is delivered to the purchaser in the manner described in B.01.404 and B.01.405, FDR.
More information on topics such as format and serving size can be found in the Nutrition Labelling section of the Industry Labelling Tool.
7.7 Non-mandatory information on labels for edible meat products in registered establishments
(a) Pictorial representation (vignette)
A pictorial representation (vignette) may be used on containers of meat products, provided such pictorial representations are neither false nor misleading as to the character and value of the contents. (See Section 5 of the Food and Drugs Act, Section 7 of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and subsection 94(7) of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.)
Each vignette will be evaluated on its own merit.
(b) Suggested serving
On a vignette which illustrates a food that is not part of the package and could be misleading to consumers, the words "Suggested Serving" shall be placed in proximity to the vignette. This indicates that the vignette provides a serving suggestion and does not represent the exact content of the package.
(c) Product of Canada, Made in Canada
As of December 31, 2008, a revised definition and guidelines for "Product of Canada" and "Made in Canada" came into effect.
Refer to the Guidelines on the use of "Product of Canada" or "Made in Canada" Claims for information regarding these types of statements. The issue of beef made from animals born in the U.S. but having resided for 60 days or more in a Canadian feedlot, was addressed, as an interim measure, in July 2011 – refer to the guideline document above.
Some importing countries make it a mandatory requirement that the wording "Product of Canada" be shown on the label used in connection with exported meat products. It is the exporter's responsibility to comply with the requirements of importing countries.
(d) Trade marks and brand names
Trade marks and brand names may be used on labels of meat products in registered establishments. The use of the usual symbols associated with trade marks (e.g. ®, T.M. [trade mark] or Reg'd T.M. [registered trademark]) are also acceptable in close proximity to a trade mark. It should be pointed out however that the mere registration of a trade mark by the Trade Marks Branch of Industry Canada does not entitle an operator to use the registered trade mark in connection with all labels of meat products. It will be the responsibility of the operator to comply with the spirit of Article 5 of the Food and Drugs Act and Article 7 of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act in regard to the use of trade marks and brand names. Any label registration granted does not extend to the trade mark.
(e) Fat content claims
For information on claims regarding fat content in meat products, please refer to the Voluntary Claims and Statements for Meat and Poultry Products section of the Industry Labelling Tool.
(f) Use of the term "air chilled" for poultry
The use of the term "air chilled" is permitted for poultry refrigerated in this way, provided the establishment has implemented a control program to show that there is no moisture gain as a result of post evisceration washing, chilling and drainage (see Chapter 19, section 19.8.4). Also claims such as "no water absorption" or "no added water" or similar phrases are not acceptable.
Claims such as "no water added during the air chilling process" are permitted if the poultry is air chilled and the Operator demonstrates through a quality control program and data that there is no more than 0.5% of water retained (to account for the scale variability) post evisceration (i.e., green weight is before inside-outside washer and final weight after chilling process for poultry and before final wash and after refrigeration but before shipping for red meat).
7.7.1 Method of production claims – evaluation procedures
This section of the manual has been relocated. Please refer to the Claim Substantiation section under the Method of Production Claims webpage. Labelling requirements related to voluntary claims may be found under the Claims and Statements section of the Industry Labelling Tool.
7.8 Other labelling requirements
(a) Principal display surface – principal display panel
For "principal display surface" and "principal display panel" see definitions in Section 2 of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990. In addition, the principal display surface of a label on a round can shall not exceed 50% of the total cylindrical circumference of the can. For layouts, see Annex C.
Generally, mandatory information must appear on the principal display panel except as provided by the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990. In order to provide some flexibility in design, minor deviations to the above will be considered when the need arises. If a vignette or an illustration is printed on the label, then it shall be part of the principal display panel.
The principal display panel is the panel of a container that incorporates the label. It is permissible to use two principal display panels, one with an English label and the other with French label. In this instance both labels must contain all mandatory information.
In the case of meat products packaged in cylindrical containers, such as cans, the space corresponding to the top of the container shall contain the following information:
- the Meat Inspection Legend (see 7.6.5); and
- the name and address of the registered establishment where the meat product was produced or labelled or of the person for whom the meat product was produced or labelled, preceded by the words "Prepared for" and "Préparé pour" (see 7.6.4).
In such cases, the information required under subsection 60(3) of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 (identification of the establishment where the meat product was produced and date of production) must be legible and must not conceal the information indicated on the container.
(b) Colour contrast and label design
Good colour contrast must be maintained in order that all mandatory statements are readily legible.
Particular attention shall be paid to the Meat Inspection Legend, which must not be altered in any way, and shall be separate from, and shall not form an integral part of, any special pattern or design on the container.
7.9 Cutting and labelling requirements of poultry parts
The following is a description of poultry parts generally prepared in registered establishments.
- Trimmed Breasts shall be breasts separated from the back at the shoulder joint and by a cut running backward and downward from that point along the junction of the vertebral and sternal ribs. The ribs may be removed from the breast, and the breast may be cut along the breast bone to make two approximately equal halves; or the wishbone portion, as described in (c) may be removed before cutting the remainder along the breast bone to make three parts. Pieces cut in this manner may be substituted for lighter or heavier pieces, for exact weight-making purposes, and the package may contain two or more of such parts without affecting the appropriateness of the labelling as "Trimmed Breasts". Neck skin shall not be included.
- Breasts shall be separated from the back at the junction of the vertebral ribs and back. Such breasts, with ribs, may be cut along the breast bone to make two approximately equal halves; or the wishbone portion, as described in (c) may be removed before cutting the remainder along the breast bone to make three parts. Pieces cut in this manner may be substituted for lighter or heavier pieces, for exact weight-making purposes, and the package may contain two or more of such parts without affecting the appropriateness of the labelling as "Breasts". Neck skin shall not be included.
- Wishbones (clavicle or pulley bones) with covering muscle and skin tissue shall be severed from the breast approximately halfway between the end of the wishbone (through the hypocleidium ligament) and front point of the breast bone (anterior part, cranial process of the sternal crest) to a point where the wishbone joins the shoulder. Neck skin shall not be included.
- Drumsticks shall be separated from the thigh by a cut through the knee joint (femorotibial and patellar joint) and from the foot at the hock joint (tarsal joint).
- Thighs shall be disjointed at the hip and may include the pelvic meat, but shall not include the pelvic bones. Back skin shall not be included.
- Legs shall include the whole leg, i.e. the thigh and the drumstick, whether jointed or disjointed. Back skin shall not be included.
- Wings shall include the entire wing with all muscles and skin tissue intact, except that the wing tip may be removed. Wings shall be separated from the breast by a cut through the shoulder joint (articulation of the clavicle, coracoid and humerus).
- Wing Drumettes shall be separated from the breast by a cut through the shoulder joint (articulation of the clavicle, coracoid and humerus) and from the winglet at the elbow joint (articulation of humerus, radius and ulna) and include the muscles and skin normally adherent. Wing Drumettes correspond to the full length of the humerus bone.
- Winglets (V Wings) shall be the wings less the Wing Drumettes except that part of the wing tip may be removed.
- Backs shall include the pelvic bones and all the vertebrae posterior to the shoulder joint. The meat shall not be peeled from the pelvic bones. The vertebral ribs and/or scapula may be removed or included without affecting the appropriateness of the description. Skin shall be substantially intact.
- Stripped Backs shall include the vertebrae from the shoulder joint to the tail, and include the pelvic bones. The meat may be stripped off from the pelvic bones.
- Necks with or without neck skin shall be separated from the carcass at the shoulder joint.
- Halves shall consist of whole poultry carcasses, excluding the necks, which have been cut at the median line dividing the carcass into two equal portions.
- Front Quarters shall consist of the front portions of a poultry half which has been cut along the line immediately behind the rib cage (posterior border of the seventh rib to the posterior border of the seventh thoracic vertebra).
- Hindquarters shall consist of the hind portion of a poultry half which has been cut along a line immediately behind the rib cage (posterior border of the seventh rib to the posterior border of the seventh thoracic vertebra).
- Breast Fillets are round elongated muscles (deep pectoral) found on either side of the keel bone (sternum).
Parts of poultry not cut in accordance with the above described anatomical definitions are permissible, so long as the label appropriately reflects the true and complete description of such poultry cuts. For example, breasts from which bones/cartilage have been removed shall be described as "boneless breasts". Breasts from which bones/cartilage and "Breast fillets" have been removed shall be described as "boneless breast, fillet removed".
The Livestock and Poultry Carcass Grading Regulations require giblets to be included with graded poultry carcasses unless otherwise stated on the label. The labels of cut-up whole carcasses that include the giblets must carry a statement to the effect that giblets are present.
7.10 Acceptable methods of labelling meat products in artificial casings
The three following methods are acceptable:
- the printing of all mandatory requirements on the artificial casing;
- an insert label with all mandatory information, provided the artificial casing is individually sealed; and
- the establishment number printed directly on the casing and the mandatory information printed on a string tag label, wrap-around label or pressure-sensitive label.
7.11 Labelling of volume retail packages
Generally consumer size containers weigh 5 kg or less. However, volume retail packages are acceptable provided that:
- they have all mandatory information printed on the principal display panel, except that the product description and ingredient list, if applicable, may be stencilled, stamped or applied by means of a pressure-sensitive label; and
- the unmarked inner packages are not intended for individual sale to consumers.
7.12 Labelling of shipping containers
All of the information required by the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 to be placed on a shipping container may be pre-printed, applied by on-line printing or applied by means of a printed pressure-sensitive label. Only the weight may be handwritten (handwritten product description is not acceptable) and it is also permitted to apply the product name (only) by means of a check-off system, stamping or stencilling.
Regardless of the mechanism used for providing information on a shipping container, certain criteria must be met in order for the container to be considered acceptable for movement out of a registered establishment:
- The required information shall be grouped together and must be positioned on the container in a manner that allows it to be easily legible by any person inspecting the exterior of the container under normal conditions of sale or use.
- The required information must be shown using a font style and size to be easily legible. For the purposes of this chapter, this means readable for a normal-sighted person from an arm's length distance. The size and characteristics of the Meat Inspection Legend shall meet the requirements outlined in Section 93 of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.
- The required information must be shown in a colour of type that provides significant contrast between the printed information and the background by virtue of tint and/or colour.
(2) Marking of shipping containers for beef hearts
Shipping containers, Canadian and foreign, for beef hearts shall bear the product description in one of the following manners in either English or French or both:
- Beef Hearts Bone In;
- Beef Hearts Bone Removed; or
- Beef Hearts
- Bone In
- Bone Removed.
(3) Beef grades – marking requirements
Section 13 of the Livestock and Poultry Carcass Grading Regulations specifies the grade labelling requirements for beef products shipped from registered establishments or imported into Canada. Specifically, it requires that a beef carcass or a portion thereof, including a sub-primal cut, not be imported or shipped from a registered establishment, unless:
- The beef is packed in a container or bulk container and that container or bulk container is marked with the grade name of the product or in the case of ungraded beef with the words "ungraded beef". It should be noted that for Canadian products the grade category or the statement "ungraded beef" is not required on the shipping container of fully labelled prepackaged beef cuts (portions) when the grade statement appears on the label of the prepackaged meat product. As a reminder, the label of a prepackaged meat product bears all the markings required under the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations in order to be sold directly to the Consumer (see 7.15 (1)).
- The beef is not packed in a container or bulk container and the beef is either graded and marked as required by the Livestock and Poultry Carcass Grading Regulations (or as required by the country of origin in the case of imported beef) or treated as ungraded. The documentation that accompanies the meat product shall indicate the grade name or indicate that it is ungraded beef.
Note: Documentation for imported beef refers to the Official Meat Inspection Certificate. Documentation for domestic beef may be the invoice or equivalent.
In the case of imported beef, the Canadian grade equivalent may also be shown on the container or bulk container when such a grade equivalency has been agreed upon.
The mixing in a container or bulk container of beef cuts of different grades is permitted as follows:
- Canadian beef graded Canada A, Canada AA and Canada AAA may be mixed provided the container is marked with a single grade name corresponding to the lowest grade quality marbling level and the expression "or higher" or "ou plus" (French equivalent) (e.g. "Canada A or higher"). The use of this single grade name identification employing the expression "or higher" implies that there may be some meat cuts derived from higher grades of beef in a container so marked.
- Canadian beef graded any of the Canada B or Canada D grades or the Canada E grade may be mixed provided the specific grade names of the product are marked on the container. Example: "Canada B2/B3/D3/E".
- Canadian beef graded in the A grades shall not be mixed with non A grade product or ungraded product and be identified by grade name (e.g. the marking of a container "Canada A/AA/B2" is not permitted).
- Containers of ungraded product must be marked with the words "ungraded beef". Should establishments wish to mix graded and ungraded product, the containers must be marked as ungraded. Establishments may also have the option of marking containers of graded beef as ungraded.
- Imported beef may also be mixed for different grades provided the specific grade names for the product are marked on the container.
Note: The operator of a registered establishment is responsible for the accuracy of the grade labelling. When repackaging cuts that originate from a mixed-grade container, these cuts may be marked with a specific grade only if each original cut was individually marked with a grade and the grade can be verified. Example: A mixed-grade container marked "Canada B2/B3/D3/E" contains mixed cuts on which the grade B2 or B3 or D3 or E has been directly applied by the means of a stamp or a sealed bag. In this case, the grade of a cut is easily identified and verifiable. Therefore the derived cuts can be marked accordingly with the grade "Canada B2" or "Canada B3" or "Canada D3" or "Canada E".
(4) Product descriptions for meat cuts on shipping containers
(i) Red meat codes
The following options for product descriptions on shipping containers for domestic and imported red meat cuts may be used:
- full product description: names of the meat cuts in the Lexicon produced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency must be used; or
- a generic description as "Bone-in" or "Boneless" species meat. In this case, a code from the list below may be used to designate the appropriate cut. The code designation is to be displayed on the main panel and/or the end panel of the shipping container.
The standard codes on the list for red meat cuts are the ones that have been agreed upon between the Canadian Meat Council and the Canadian Meat Importer's Association. These codes are also used by the major meat exporting countries, i.e. Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The updating of the list of codes and the enforcement of its use is the responsibility of industry and not that of the inspection personnel.
For import shipments, the product description on the foreign meat inspection certificate must be the same as the one used on the containers (i.e. Boneless Beef on the carton and Boneless Beef on the certificate; or Boneless Beef Sirloin Tip on the carton and Boneless Beef Sirloin Tip on the certificate).
|Top sirloin butts||TRI|
|Striploins (Boneless striploin)||STL|
|Blended carcass beef||FH|
|Point end briskets||PEB|
|Brisket (point end brisket)||PEB|
|Brisket (navel end brisket)||NEB|
|Cow and Steer||C|
|Individually wrapped primal cuts||IW|
|Vacuum packed, individually wrapped primal cuts||IW/VAC|
|Layer packed primal cuts||LP|
|Vacuum packed, layer packed primal cuts||LP/VAC|
|Vacuum packed primal cuts||VAC|
|Where more than one primal cut is wrapped in a single covering||MW|
|Where more than one primal cut is vacuum packed in a single covering||MW/VAC|
(ii) Poultry and poultry cuts codes
Agreement has been reached with the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council on the acceptable use of the following abbreviations and codes for product descriptions on shipping containers for poultry and poultry cuts. Abbreviations and product codes are not accepted on consumer packages or on shipping containers of imported poultry products.
When product codes are used, they will always use the following sequence of abbreviations, each separated by an oblique slash ("/"): Species / Cut / Modifier (if applicable) / Process (if applicable). For example, the product code on the label for a box of Skinless Chicken thighs packed in modified atmosphere would be: "CHK/TH/SKLS/MA".
If the label already includes the full species name, there is no need to repeat the species abbreviation within the product code. For example, it would be acceptable to use "Young duck TB/SKLS/MA" to describe the contents of a box of skinless, trimmed young duck breasts packaged under modified atmosphere.
If more than one modifier apply to the product, the "modifier" abbreviations should be grouped together and separated by a comma. For example, the acceptable product code for the shipping container label of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts would be: "CHK/BR/BNLS,SKLS".
If there is no modifier which applies, but the operator wishes to include a process abbreviation, they should separate the "Cut" abbreviation from the "Process" abbreviation by two oblique slashes ("//") to indicate that no modifier applies to the product (for example: "CHK/TH//MA").
If an operator is using the same container to ship different products, each product will need to be coded separately and a semi-colon used to distinguish the codes for the two types of product. For example, if the operator is shipping chicken back-on thighs in the same carton as chicken breasts, the accepted abbreviation would be: "CHK/TH/BA;CHK/BR".
|Rock cornish hen||RCH|
|Extra lean ground||EL|
|Piece (8 pc. 9 pc)||PC|
|For further processing||FFP|
7.13 Ham nomenclature
The following nomenclature has been adopted for the description of ham:
- Whole boneless ham
Shall contain all the muscles or pieces of muscles in the same proportion as would be derived from a whole ham.
The proportion of shank meat shall not exceed that normally present in a whole ham. Shank meat may be ground.
The product may contain up to 20% of the weight of the boneless skinless ham (including shank meat) in pieces weighing less than 25 g (based on the weight of the non-cured product).
- Boneless ham
As in (a) above, except that all the muscles or pieces of muscles derived from a whole ham need not be present.
- Chopped ham or minced ham
May contain more than 20% of the weight of boneless, skinless ham in pieces weighing less than 25 g.
Note: The manufacturing process used in the production of either "Whole boneless ham" or "Boneless ham" must be such that the resulting final product contains a minimum of 80% meat in pieces of muscle weighing 25 g or more on a raw meat ingredient basis.
If the final product does not respect this proportion and size of pieces of meat as a result of a comminuting effect by the tumbling process or other on the meat, the product shall be identified as "Chopped ham" or "Minced ham".
7.14 Labelling requirements for non-meat food products
All non-meat food products which are received at a registered establishment for use in meat products shall be marked as required under the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Food and Drugs Act and shall bear a label containing the following information:
- the name and address of the manufacturer of the food or food additive;
- the descriptive name of the food or food additive, immediately adjacent to its brand name and, where the food or food additive has been imported into Canada, the name of the country of origin in close proximity to the descriptive name;
- the net quantity;
- a list of the ingredients in a manner sufficient to indicate their nature;
- directions for use, including a warning clause, where applicable; and
- any other information necessary to ensure that the food or food additive is used in a safe manner.
Such products would include fillers, curing agents, anti-oxydants, bases and mixes, batter, breading seasonings, etc.
7.15 Requirements for labels not requiring registration from the Packaging, Labelling and Evaluation Unit
(1) Shipping cartons for fully labelled prepackaged meat products
The following are the mandatory requirements for such shipping containers:
- the identity of the meat product;
- the net quantity;
- the identity and principal place of business of the firm by or for whom the meat product was manufactured;
- the storage instructions if applicable ("keep refrigerated" or "keep frozen"); and
- in the case of dressed poultry carcasses, all markings as required by Section 17 to 20 of the Livestock and Poultry Carcass Grading Regulations.
- in the case of beef, the grade designation is optional [see 7.12 (3)].
It should be noted that the Meat Inspection Legend on such containers is not required. Sufficient space must be provided at the upper left corner of the principal display panel for an export sticker or stamp. In the case of containers for dressed poultry carcasses sufficient space must also be provided at the upper right-hand corner of the principal display panel for the poultry inspection stamp.
Labels of containers, in this category, for imported meat products shall contain the following information:
- the product description, which shall be identical to that on the inner containers;
- the "product of (country of origin)" to appear in close proximity to the product description; it shall be at least half the height of the largest word on the main panel;
- the net quantity;
- the name and address of the foreign establishment or the name and address of the person for whom the meat product was produced preceded by the words "Prepared for";
- the inspection stamp or statement of inspection of country of origin; and, if applicable:
- the storage instructions ("keep refrigerated" or "keep frozen").
- in the case of beef, the grade designation [see 7.12 (3)].
(2) Labels for inedible meat products from registered establishments or imported
Shipping containers shall be labelled with the following information:
- the identity of the meat product in term that are descriptive of the product;
- the words "Product of" and "Produit de", followed by the name of the country of origin, shall be marked in a conspicuous manner in close proximity to the identity of the meat product if imported product;
- in the case of meat product identified for use as animal food, the words "Animal food" or "Aliments pour animaux", or the words naming the animal species for which the meat product is intended, followed by the word "Food" or preceded by the words "Aliments pour";
- in the case of a meat product identified for medicinal purposes, the words "For medicinal purposes" or "À des fins médicinales", or the words "For pharmaceutical purposes" or "À des fins pharmaceutiques", as the case may be;
- the net quantity of the meat product;
- the name and address of the establishment where the meat product was produced or labelled, or the person for whom the meat product was produced or labelled, preceded by the words "Prepared for" or "Préparé pour";
- storage instructions ("keep refrigerated" or "keep frozen"); and
- in lieu of the meat inspection legend, the words "Plant Number" or "Numéro d'usine" followed by the number of the establishment in which the meat product was prepared.
(3) Labels for prepared pet foods
Labelling of such products is the concern of the Competition Bureau. For more information, please see the Guide for the Labelling and Advertising of Pet Foods.
7.16 Labelling requirements for non-food products
7.17 Custody of labels
The operator is responsible for all labels bearing the Meat Inspection Legend in the registered establishment. The Inspector in Charge shall monitor the controls exercised by the operator.
7.18 Transfer of labels, bearing the Meat Inspection Legend, from one registered establishment to another
Operators of establishments wishing to transfer such labels shall make an application in writing to the Inspector in Charge, stating the quantities of labels involved and the reasons necessitating such transfer. The shipment of labels shall be addressed in care of the Inspector in Charge of the receiving establishment.
The Inspector in Charge of the sending establishment shall advise the Inspector in Charge of the receiving establishment of the number and kind of labels forwarded, the method of transportation and the approximate time of arrival.
The Inspector in Charge of the receiving establishment shall check the labels on arrival and supervise the required amendment. Such transfers shall only be authorized in emergency situations. In the case of breast tags, it is impractical to amend the legend. Preferably, graded poultry carcasses bearing breast tags with an alternate establishment number, should be bagged and closed with a clip engraved with the correct number as per section 7.6.4. Otherwise, the company shall send a written proposal to the Regional Program Manager, Meat Programs, indicating how the graded and tagged carcasses will be labelled and handled such that they can be traced back to the plant of origin. The request must explain how affected product may be identified in the event of a recall. The Inspector in Charge of the establishment receiving the transferred breast tags must verify that conditions described in the proposal and the letter of approval are in fact implemented. Breast tags may only be transferred between establishments owned by the same company (same name and address). Graded poultry carcasses must bear a breast tag and may only be applied to carcasses meeting the standards for the indicated grade. The grade on the breast tag may not be amended. Ungraded poultry carcasses may be shipped without breast tags as Unmarked or Unstamped meat products.
Inspectors in Charge of registered establishments receiving unusual and unwarranted supplies of such labels or not receiving expected shipments or amounts shall advise their Regional Director.
7.19 Disposal of obsolete labels bearing the Meat Inspection Legend
The operator is responsible for the destruction of such labels.
7.20 Authority to reproduce the Meat Inspection Legend
The Meat Inspection Legend is an official registered trade mark of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Only operators and firms appearing in the list of manufacturers and printers of packaging material, authorized to reproduce the Meat Inspection Legend, may reproduce the Meat Inspection Legend. A list of manufacturers and printers of packaging materials authorized is made available in Part B of the Meat Hygiene Manual. Pertinent information will be found in Annex G and H.
7.21 Labelling of imported meat products
7.21.1 Mandatory requirements
The guidelines for labelling imported meat products are essentially the same as those for the labels of Canadian meat products and reference should be made to section 7.6, however there are two important differences:
- "product of (country of origin)" is to appear in close proximity to the product description; it shall be at least half the height of the largest letter on the main panel; and
- the inspection stamp or the statement of inspection of the exporting country replaces the Meat Inspection Legend.
7.22 Meat Standards as prescribed in the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990
The following guidelines concerning the application of the minimum meat product protein requirements as prescribed in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.
7.22.1 Protein requirements
Any meat product, other than white pudding and haggis, containing a filler, shall, in the absence of a specific standard for that meat product, contain not less than:
- in the case of an uncooked product, 9½% meat product protein and 11% total protein; or
- in the case of a cooked product, 11½% meat product protein and 13% total protein."
When labels are reviewed for meat products falling in the above category, the following points should be noted:
- When a portion of a food product is distinguishable as a meat product, only that portion need meet the above mentioned protein requirements.
- When a meat product is blended with a non-meat product and has the appearance of a meat product, then that entire preparation must meet the above mentioned protein requirement.
- When a meat product is used for flavouring a food and is not perceived or generally recognized by consumers to have the nutritional qualities normally associated with a meat product, then the above percentages do not apply.
7.22.2 Ingredients derived from milk
When certain milk-derived products are used in meat products, they are declared in the list of ingredients, as "milk ingredients" or "modified milk ingredients".
- Milk Ingredients
Any combination of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form: butter, buttermilk, butter oil (milk fat), cream, milk, partly skimmed milk, skim milk, and any other component of milk the chemical composition of which has not been altered and that exists in the food in the same chemical state in which it is normally found in milk.
- Modified Milk Ingredients
Any combination of the following in liquid, concentrated, dry, frozen or reconstituted form: calcium-reduced skim milk (obtained by the ion exchange process), casein, caseinates, cultured milk products, milk serum proteins, ultrafiltered milk, whey, whey butter, whey cream and any other component of milk the chemical state of which has been altered from that in which it is normally found in milk.
Note: any one or more ingredients or components mentioned in (a) combined with any one or more ingredients or components mentioned in (b) are considered to be a modified milk ingredient.
7.22.3 Gums and gelling agents
Gums, gelling agents, or any other food additives are not permitted to be used as fillers. Where a standard provides for the use of a gelling agent, agar, carrageenan and gelatine may be used up to 0.25% in the finished product without reflection of such use in the product name. In such instances, the gelling agent would only be listed as an ingredient. If any of the gelling agents are used in greater quantities than 0.25%, their use must be reflected in the product name. It must be noted that such gelling agents may be mixed manually with the meat or by means of a mixing device (e.g. mixer, tumbler) and shall not be added to injection or pumping solutions.
7.22.4 Use of pork or poultry skin
The use of pork or poultry skin without the normally underlying tissues is permitted in prepared comminuted meat products, provided it is added to skinless meat from the same species and the level of addition does not exceed 8%. The percentage is to be calculated by weight relative to the boneless pork or poultry meat content (including the skin) as applicable. Therefore, if the total weight of boneless product is 100 kg, it may contain up to 8 kg of skin (92 kg of boneless skinless meat +8 kg of skin). (If skin-on cuts are used, no further addition of skin is permitted.) No label declaration is required as detached skin, added back in natural proportions, is considered to be meat.
7.22.5 Use of mechanically separated meat (MSM)
Mechanically separated meat may now be used in the following meat products:
- standardized comminuted cooked meat products as prescribed in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990;
- non-standardized comminuted cooked meat products;
- fresh sausages, preserved sausages, uncooked burger products; and
- raw mechanically separated meat.
Note: Products in (iii) shall only be sold in the frozen state. The use of MSM in comminuted meat (e.g. ground beef, ground pork, etc.) or in meat patties is prohibited.
7.22.6 Wiltshire bacon
The following standards apply for that product:
- meat product ingredient:
boneless pork loin with portion of the belly attached* (mandatory)
- other ingredients and food additives:
- salt* (mandatory)
- preservatives* (mandatory)
- water+ (optional)
- seasoning+ (optional)
- phosphates+ (optional)
- mandatory treatments and processes:
- - (cured)
- * (mandatory)
- + (optional)
7.22.7 Use and labelling of partially defatted chopped beef and pork
This product is to be distinguished from partially defatted beef and pork fatty tissue. Partially defatted chopped beef or pork is derived from trimmings that have at least 12% visible lean meat, are desinewed and defatted and generally have a protein content between 17% and 20%. The product, when shipped from or to a registered establishment, must be identified as partially defatted chopped beef or partially defatted chopped pork as the case may be. The product may be used in the preparation of comminuted cooked meat products such as cooked sausages, loaves, pizza toppings, chili con carne, cooked burgers, potted meat, etc. Partially defatted chopped beef and pork may not be used for the production of ground meat, patties or raw sausages because the product has been subjected to a low heating process of up to 59°C during its preparation.
When partially defatted chopped beef or pork is used in cooked comminuted meat products, the declaration in the ingredient listing shall read beef or pork as the case may be. On the other hand, partially defatted beef or pork fatty tissue must be declared as such in the ingredient listing and shall only be used in cooked sausages and loaves as prescribed in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.
7.22.8 Use and labelling of partially defatted chopped beef and pork obtained from a low temperature heating process
Partially defatted chopped beef and pork obtained from a low heating process in which the product is not subject to a temperature above 43.3°C during its preparation can be used in the preparation of fresh (i.e. uncooked) meat products including ground meat, patties or raw sausages. Naturally the product may be used in the preparation of cooked meat and other prepared meat products.
Low temperature partially defatted chopped beef or pork is derived from trimmings that have at least 12% visible lean meat, are desinewed and defatted. The product has a protein content above 14%.
The product is considered to be meat and as such the declaration in the ingredient listing shall read "beef" or "pork" as the case may be. Furthermore, no specific name is required to identify the product on shipping containers. However, as for any other meat products, the common name used has to be descriptive of the product and not misleading. The product can be identified as ground meat provided it meets the standard in Schedule I of the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.
Specifically, in the labelling of ground meat, only the following four designations are permitted, depending on the fat content: regular ground "meat" (max. 30% fat), medium ground "meat" (max. 23% fat), lean ground "meat" (max. 17% fat) and extra-lean ground "meat" (max. 10% fat), the term "meat" being replaced by the name of the animal species (e.g., regular ground beef).
7.22.9 Use of phosphate salts or water in the preparation of meat products
Sections B.01.090 – B.01.090 and B.14.005. – B.14.021 of the Food and Drug Regulations permits the use of phosphate salts and/or water in solid cut meat products and in other prepared meat products for which a minimum meat protein standard has been set.
For more details on this policy, please consult Meat and Poultry Products With Added Phosphate Salts and or Water.
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