Chapter 7 – Packaging and labelling
7.3 Types of containers and labels

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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.

  1. Retail containers:

    Bags
    Casings (natural and artificial)
    Cartons
    Mono-cups
    Folders
    Glass jars
    Pouches
    Cans
    Wraps

  2. Non-retail containers:

    Tanker trucks
    Combo bins
    Tanks
    Bags, including stockinettes
    Wraps
    Cartons
    Cans

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
Y Stockinette
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

  1. General
    • 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.

  2. Use of coloured transparent or semi-transparent containers
    1. 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:

      1. a declaration attesting that the container is coloured appears:
        1. on the label in close proximity to the product name (e.g. "Beef sausage in coloured casing"); or
        2. on the container printed in a repeated manner.

        and

      2. 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.

    2. 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.

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