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Labelling requirements for fresh fruits and vegetables

Important Notice

On December 14, 2016, amendments to nutrition labelling, list of ingredients and food colour requirements of the Food and Drug Regulations came into force. Regulated parties have a five (5) year transition period to meet the new labelling requirements.

Consult the Former – Labelling Requirements for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for information on the former requirements.

On this page

Overview

This section summarizes the labelling requirements that apply to imported fresh fruits or vegetables, as well as those that are manufactured, graded, packaged or labelled in Canada for interprovincial trade and for export.

Fresh fruits or vegetables are subject to the provisions of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), as well as those of the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR).

When sold intraprovincially, fresh fruits or vegetables are subject to the labelling requirements under the FDA and FDR, as well as specific requirements of the SFCA and SFCR that apply to prepackaged foods sold in Canada, regardless of the level of trade. Provincial regulations may also have labelling requirements for fresh fruits or vegetables that apply when these products are sold within that province.

The labelling requirements detailed in the following section are specific to fresh fruits or vegetables (definition). Refer to the Industry Labelling Tool for core labelling and voluntary claims and statements requirements that apply to all prepackaged foods.

Please refer to Table 1 - Summary of Labelling Requirements for Consumer Prepackaged Fresh Fruits or Vegetables, and Table 2 - Summary of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Other than Consumer Prepackaged Fresh Fruits or Vegetables for a summary of the labelling requirements.

Language

Required label information must be declared in both English and French on consumer prepackaged (definition) fresh fruits or vegetables, and in at least one official language on prepackaged (definition) other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables [205(1), 206(1), SFCR; B.01.012(2) and (11), FDR]. For more details, including information on exemptions, refer to Bilingual Labelling.

There is an exception to the bilingual labelling requirement for the expressions "Gift Pack" or "Combo Pack", or "Fresh Pack", "Stew-pack" or "Vegetables for Stew", as applicable, on the labels of consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables of different types that are packaged together with or without other food [206(2), SFCR]. Refer to Fresh fruits or vegetables of different types packaged together with or without other food - Exemptions for additional information on the content of these packages for this exception to apply.

Exemptions

In some cases, fresh fruits or vegetables may be exempt from some of the requirements of the SFCR.

Exemptions from the SFCR labelling requirements

The labelling requirements of the SFCR do not apply in respect of prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that are:

Other exemptions

Fresh fruits or vegetables of different types packaged together

Consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables of different types that are packaged together with or without other food and labelled with the expression "Gift Pack" or "Combo Pack", or "Fresh Pack", "Stew-pack" or "Vegetables for Stew", as applicable, may be exempt from grade and grade name requirements, standard container size requirements and country of origin labelling requirements, in addition to certain import requirements specific to fresh fruits or vegetables.

Refer to Fresh fruits or vegetables of different types packaged together with or without other food - Exemptions for information on additional conditions that these packages must meet to qualify for these exemptions.

Raspberries or strawberries packaged in the field

Consumer prepackaged raspberries or strawberries that are packaged in the field in containers with a capacity of 1.14 litres or less are exempt from specific requirements related to net quantity [301, SFCR].

For more information, refer to Exemptions to net quantity requirements.

Ministerial Exemptions

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) provide for two types of ministerial exemptions from the application of a provision of the Act or the Regulations. The two types of ministerial exemptions are [174(1), SFCR]:

For more information, refer to Ministerial exemptions.

Common name - fresh fruits or vegetables

Every container of fresh fruits or vegetables must be labelled with a common name (definition). Since fresh fruits or vegetables do not have prescribed names in any Regulations, the name by which the food is generally known is acceptable as a common name [B.01.001(1), B.01.006, FDR; 1, 218(1)(a), SFCR].

Prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables are exempt from declaring a common name if:

The common name must be shown on the principal display panel (definition) [218(1)(a), SFCR; B.01.006(1), FDR], and for consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, in letters at least 1.6 mm in height [210(2), SFCR]. For prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the common name must be readily discernible and legible to the purchaser under customary conditions of purchase and use [208, SFCR; A.01.016, FDR]. For more information, refer to Common Name.

Net quantity - fresh fruits or vegetables

Every container of prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables must be labelled with the net quantity. The declaration of net quantity must be clearly and prominently shown and be readily discernible and legible under customary conditions of purchase and use [208, 221, 268(1)(b), SFCR].

For consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the declaration of net quantity must be shown on the principal display panel (definition) and in distinct contrast to any other information on the label [221, 230, SFCR]. For type height requirements, refer to Legibility and location section of the Net quantity page.

Units of Measurement

As a general rule, consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables may be packaged by weight, volume or numerical count, unless the prescribed unit of measurement for the net quantity declaration is numerical count, as required by the document Units of Measurement for the Net Quantity Declaration of Certain Foods and summarized in the table below titled Net Quantity Declaration by Numerical Count [231(a), SFCR].

Prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables must generally be packaged by weight or volume, unless they are packaged in a bag, in which case the declaration of net quantity is by weight. Certain fresh fruits or vegetables however are required to be packaged by numerical count, as shown in the following table [244, SFCR]:

Net Quantity Declaration by Numerical Count

Fresh Fruits or Vegetables Consumer Prepackaged Prepackaged Other than Consumer Prepackaged
Ears of sweet corn X
Heads of cauliflower or lettuce X X
Stalks of celery X X
Canada No. 1 greenhouse cucumbers X X
Closed containers of tiered apples, peaches or pears X X

A declaration of net quantity by weight or volume on the label of consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables must be shown in metric units (definition). If both metric and Canadian units (definition) are used, they must be grouped together. For prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the net quantity by weight or volume may be declared in metric units, Canadian units, or in both metric and Canadian units grouped together [232, 233, 236, 268(4), SFCR].

It is not necessary to use phrases such as "net", "net weight", "net contents" or "net quantity" as part of the net quantity declaration. When such terms are used on the label of consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, they should appear in both English and French.

For more information regarding the net quantity declaration, such as rounding and metric symbols, refer to Net Quantity.

Standard container sizes

Certain consumer prepackaged fresh vegetables, namely beets, carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes and rutabagas, must be packaged in containers that correspond to a prescribed net quantity by weight as outlined for items 5 to 10 in Table 2 of Schedule 3 of the SFCR [189(1), SFCR]. As well, please note that a test market is currently in place which authorizes the marketing of Canada No. 1 and Canada No. 2 potatoes (excluding Canada No. 1 Small Round and Canada No. 1 Small Long potatoes) in 6.80 kg (15 lb) containers.

Alternatively, consumer prepackaged fresh beets, carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes and rutabagas may be packaged in containers of any volume capacity that is set out in Table 7 or Table 8 of Schedule 3, in the case of metric or imperial containers respectively [189(4), SFCR].

The container of prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables for which a grade is prescribed (other than consumer prepackaged fresh beets, carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes and rutabagas mentioned above) must have a capacity that is not greater than:

Please note these container size requirements apply to fresh fruits or vegetables that are imported into Canada or interprovincially traded, but do not apply to exports [187, 193(2), SFCR].

Name and principal place of business - fresh fruits or vegetables

The name and principal place of business of the person (definition) by or for whom prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables are manufactured, prepared, produced, stored, packaged or labelled must be declared on the label. This information must be shown on any part of the label except for the bottom. It may however be shown on the bottom if it is also shown elsewhere on the label, or if it is on an ornamental container [218(1)(b) and (2), 227(2), SFCR; B.01.005(1), (2) and (3), B.01.007(1.1)(a), FDR].

Consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that are packaged at retail in a way that they are visible and identifiable in the container are not required to be labelled with the name and principal place of business of the responsible party on their labels [220, SFCR; B.01.007(2), FDR].

The name and principal place of business should be complete in order to allow communication in writing with the responsible party. Additional descriptive wording, such as "Packed for" or "Packed by", is optional. Providing additional information such as telephone number, e-mail address, website, etc., is at the discretion of the responsible party.

The name and principal place of business may be shown in only one official language for all prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, including those that are consumer prepackaged [205(1), 206(1), SFCR; B.01.012(9), FDR].

However if wording such as "Packed by", "Packed for", etc., is displayed with the name and address on the label of consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, this optional wording must appear in both official languages. If this wording appears on prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, it may be in only one language.

The name and principal place of business on prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables must be clearly and prominently shown and readily discernible and legible [208, SFCR; A.01.016, FDR]. On consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, this information must be in characters that are at least 1.6 mm (1/16 inch) in height, based on the height of the lower case letter "o" (or the height of an upper case letter, if shown in upper case only) [210(2), 211, SFCR].

For more information, refer to Name and Principal Place of Business.

Durable life date - fresh fruits or vegetables

Prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables are exempt from displaying a durable life date ("best-before" date) [B.01.007(3)(a), FDR]. If the durable life date is voluntarily applied to a prepackaged product that is packaged for retail sale (i.e., consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables), the information must be declared in the proper format [B.01.007(6), FDR]. If the durable life date is voluntarily applied to a prepackaged product that will not be sold at retail, the information is not required to be declared in the format as mentioned above.

Refer to Date Markings for more information.

List of ingredients - fresh fruits or vegetables

In most cases, single ingredient foods, such as fresh fruits or vegetables, do not require the declaration of an ingredient list. Furthermore, wax coating compounds, their components and other protective edible coatings are not required to be shown on the label of prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables as an ingredient or component thereof [B.01.008(3)(a), FDR].

For a prepackaged product consisting of more than one ingredient (such as a mixture of fresh-cut fruits or vegetables, bagged lettuce blends, etc.), the ingredients must be shown in descending order of their proportion of the prepackaged product or as a percentage of the prepackaged product, and the order or percentage must be the order or percentage of the ingredients before they are combined to form the prepackaged product [B.01.008.2(3)(a), FDR].

Example: A bagged lettuce blend lists romaine lettuce first and radicchio second in the list of ingredients to indicate that romaine is the primary ingredient.

Note: Prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables are also included in the above-mentioned requirement as per the FDR definition of prepackaged product (definition), which is closely aligned with the definition of prepackaged food in the SFCR.

Omissions or substitutions of ingredients, over the 12 month period from the time the label is applied to the prepackaged product, are permitted in an ingredient list provided that it is clearly stated that the ingredient may not be present or that another ingredient may be substituted [B.01.011(1), FDR].

It is also possible for a manufacturer to vary the proportions of ingredients in a prepackaged product, over the 12 month period from the time the label is applied to the prepackaged product provided that it is clearly stated that the proportions indicated are subject to change and the ingredients are listed in descending order of the proportion in which they will probably be used during the 12 month period [B.01.011(2), FDR].

The list of ingredients may be shown on any part of the label, except that part of the label, if any, that is applied to the bottom of the packaging or container [B.01.005(1), FDR].

For more information, including type height requirements, refer to List of Ingredients.

Food additives

Food additives are considered to be ingredients in a prepackaged product and, as such, must be included in the list of ingredients of prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables.

Note: Prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables are also included in the above-mentioned requirement as per the FDR definition of prepackaged product (definition), which is closely aligned with the definition of prepackaged food in the SFCR.

With the exception of grapes, it is not permitted to add sulphites to any fresh fruit or vegetable that is intended to be consumed raw [B.11.001.1, FDR]. Sulphites used on grapes are considered food additives and, as an added ingredient, must be declared in the list of ingredients of prepackaged grapes, regardless of the total amount of sulfites added [B.01.008(1)(b), FDR].

For more information, refer to Food Additives.

Food allergens

Any allergens or gluten present in a food must be declared in an ingredient list or "Contains" statement, and the source of a food allergen or gluten must be declared in consistent and easy to understand terminology [B.01.010.1(2), FDR].

Although wax coating compounds, other protective edible coatings and their components are not required to be shown on the label of prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, if any food allergens or gluten are present in such coatings, they must be declared on the labels of prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables [B.01.010.1(9), FDR]. For example, if a wax coating containing casein is present on a prepackaged fresh fruit or vegetable, the food allergen source "milk" must be declared on the label (e.g., "Contains milk").

In the case of sulphites, the regulations require that sulphites, added as components of an ingredient exempted from component declaration (such as a wax coating compound or other protective edible coating), must be declared when the total amount of sulphites contained within the prepackaged product is 10 parts per million or more [B.01.010.2(3), FDR].

For more information, refer to Food Allergens, Gluten & Added Sulphites.

Nutrition labelling - fresh fruits or vegetables

Fresh fruits or vegetables without any added ingredients, including some food additives, are always exempt from displaying a Nutrition Facts table. This exemption also applies to oranges with added food colour, and fresh fruits or vegetables coated with mineral oil, paraffin wax, petrolatum or any other protective coating [B.01.401(2)(c)(i), FDR]. This category also includes fresh herbs, sprouts and fresh fruits or vegetables that are minimally processed (e.g., washed and peeled, cut-up, shredded, etc.), including mixtures of fresh fruits or vegetables such as bagged mixed salad and coleslaw (without dressing, croutons, bacon bits, etc.).

Voluntary display of the nutrition information is permitted, provided the content and format meet the requirements in the FDR. Only the Canadian Nutrition Facts table may be used to provide nutrition information in Canada. Nutrition labelling systems from other countries are not acceptable. For more information, refer to Nutrition Labelling.

Prepackaged products, including fresh fruits or vegetables, that are intended solely for use as ingredients in the manufacture of other prepackaged products intended for sale to a consumer at the retail level or as ingredients in the preparation of food by a commercial or industrial enterprise or an institution are not required to display a Nutrition Facts table. They must however be accompanied by written nutrition information when delivered to the purchaser [B.01.404, FDR].

For more information, refer to Food for Use in Manufacturing Other Foods.

Nutrition and health claims - fresh fruits or vegetables

Nutrient content claims, such as "Source of Vitamin C", and disease risk reduction claims, such as "A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer", can be made on some fresh fruits or vegetables. A new health claim "A diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits may help reduce the risk of heart disease" is now permitted on qualifying fresh fruits or vegetables. The conditions for making these types of claims are prescribed in the tables following B.01.513 and B.01.603, respectively, of the FDR. The prescribed wording of these claims cannot be altered in any way. The presence of a nutrition or health claim on fresh fruits or vegetables without any added ingredients, an orange with added food colour or a fresh vegetable or fruit coated with mineral oil, paraffin wax, petrolatum or any other protective coating does not trigger a Nutrition Facts table [B.01.401(2)(c)(i), B.01.503(2.1), D.01.004(1.1), D.02.002(1.1), FDR].

Quantitative declarations of energy value and the amount of nutrients per serving of stated size may be permitted on labels or in advertisements for fresh fruits or vegetables that are always exempt from carrying a Nutrition Facts table. Such declarations will not trigger the requirement for a Nutrition Facts table.

For more information on the conditions for making nutrition and health claims, refer to Nutrient Content Claims and Health Claims.

Grade name - fresh fruits or vegetables

Please note that all references to the "Compendium" in this section refer to the Canadian Grade Compendium.

The grade names (definition) and grade requirements for fresh fruits or vegetables are set out in Volume 2 of the Compendium, while those for imported fresh fruits or vegetables are set out in Volume 9. It is not permitted to indicate a Canadian grade on a product for which the Regulations do not prescribe a grade standard.

Any fresh fruits or vegetables for which grades are prescribed by the SFCR and that are interprovincially traded or imported must be graded, must meet grade requirements set out in the Compendium and must also be labelled with the applicable grade name. This does not apply to fresh fruits or vegetables that are exported, as these must generally meet the requirements of the importing country, if any [306(1), 306(2)(b), SFCR].

Grades are optional for fresh blueberries, fresh cantaloupes, fresh crabapples, fresh cranberries, fresh field rhubarb and fresh strawberries. However when these are graded and labelled with the applicable grade name, the grade requirements must be adhered to [306(2)(c), 307(a), SFCR].

Grades do not apply to miniature vegetables, except in the case of miniature cucumbers [3, Compendium, Volume 2 - Fresh Fruit or Vegetables].

Grades also do not apply to fresh fruits or vegetables that have been minimally processed. This includes, but is not limited to, fresh fruits or vegetables that are peeled, cut, sliced, chopped, cored, shredded or consists of separated leaves.

For consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the grade name must be shown on the principal display panel (definition) in characters of at least the minimum character height set out in the following table, which varies according to area of the principal display surface (definition) [312, Schedule 6, SFCR].

Type Height for Grade Name

Item

Column 1

Area of Principal Display Surface

Column 2

Minimum Character Height
1 ≤ 32 cm2 (5 inches2) 1.6 mm (1/16 inch)
2 > 32 cm2 (5 inches2) but ≤ 258 cm2 (40 inches2) 3.2 mm (1/8 inch)
3 > 258 cm2 (40 inches2) but ≤ 645 cm2 (100 inches2) 6.4 mm (1/4 inch)
4 > 645 cm2 (100 inches2) but ≤ 2 580 cm2 (400 inches2) 9.5 mm (3/8 inch)
5 > 2 580 cm2 (400 inches2) 12.7 mm (1/2 inch)

For prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the grade name must be shown on any surface of the container, except the bottom, and in the same size characters as for consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables indicated in the above table. However, for reusable plastic containers, the grade name may be in characters that are at least 1.6 mm (1/16 inch) in height [320, Schedule 6, SFCR].

If properly labelled containers of fresh fruits or vegetables are placed inside a second container, resulting in prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the second container is not required to be labelled with the grade name provided the grade name is readily discernible and legible without having to open the second container and is not obscured by the second container [320(3), SFCR].

Domestic fresh fruits or vegetables

Every container of fresh fruits or vegetables must be labelled with the grade name, if a mandatory grade is prescribed in the SFCR. Please note that Canadian grade names (e.g., Canada No. 1, Canada Domestic, Canada Extra Fancy) are limited to fresh fruits or vegetables that are Canadian grown.

Imported fresh fruits or vegetables

If an imported fresh fruit or vegetable meets the requirements in Volume 2 of the Compendium for a Canadian grade name, the import grade name in Volume 9 for that fresh fruit or vegetable (items 4 to 33 of the Table of Import Grade Names for Imported Food) must be used on the label (e.g., No. 1 Grade, Domestic Grade, Extra Fancy Grade) [1(1), Compendium, Volume 9 – Import Grade Requirements].

Imported fresh fruits or vegetables that are packaged or repackaged in Canada after their importation must be labelled with the import grade name (e.g., No. 1 Grade, Domestic Grade, Extra Fancy Grade) set out in Volume 9 of the Compendium rather than with the Canadian grade name [1(3), Compendium, Volume 9 – Import Grade Requirements].

If a Canadian grown fresh fruit or vegetable is combined with imported product and is prepackaged in Canada, the combined product is no longer of totally Canadian content and cannot bear a Canadian grade name. The combined product must, therefore, display the import grade name, as set out in Volume 9 of the Compendium.

Despite the requirement to be graded and to meet the grade requirements set out in the Compendium, imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, are not required to be labelled with a grade name [306(4)(c), SFCR].

Fresh fruits or vegetables that are imported into Canada from the United States are considered to meet the applicable requirements outlined in Volume 2 of the Compendium if they:

Refer to Import of certain whole fresh fruits or vegetables – Grade requirements for additional information.

Foreign grades

Imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that are sold in their original container and labelled with a grade designation from their country of origin do not need to be labelled with an import grade name as set out in Volume 9 of the Compendium, if they meet the requirements for the foreign grade and those requirements are substantially equivalent to the applicable requirements in Volume 2 of the Compendium [306(4)(b), SFCR].

Indicating a foreign grade designation is also permitted on the labels of imported fresh fruits or vegetables for which there are no grades established in the Compendium if the food meets the applicable requirements established by the country of origin, the name of the country of origin is clearly indicated on the label, and the food is labelled in accordance with the SFCR [309, SFCR]. For example, it is permitted to declare U.S. No. 1 on a bag of Florida oranges, as there are no grades established for oranges in Canada. Please note that in instances where there are no grades established in the Compendium, there are no prescribed minimum type size and location requirements for these foreign grade designations on the labels of imported fresh fruits or vegetables.

Size designation - Fresh fruits or vegetables

When traded interprovincially or imported, certain fresh vegetables of specific sizes only, namely asparagus, beets, carrots, sweet corn, greenhouse cucumbers, onions, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, field and greenhouse tomatoes, must be labelled with the applicable size designation, if any, and as required in Volume 2 of the Compendium. Labelling with the size designation also applies to untiered apples in specific instances. Refer to Specific requirements for apples for more details.

The size designation may be shown in terms of:

The size designation must be shown in close proximity to the grade name and in the same size characters as those prescribed for the grade name [321, Schedule 6, SFCR].

If a properly labelled prepackaged fresh fruit or vegetable bearing a size designation is placed inside of a second container, the second container is not required to be labelled with the size designation. This applies if the resulting product is not a consumer prepackaged food.

Country of origin - fresh fruits or vegetables

The country of origin represents the country in which the fresh fruits or vegetables were grown. The country of origin must be shown on the principal display panel (definition) of imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables and in close proximity to the declaration of net quantity or the grade name. The country of origin declaration must be shown in boldface type in the same size characters as those prescribed for the grade name [269(1), 270(1), 271, SFCR].

All country names must be written out in full, except for the United States which may be abbreviated to "USA" as it is recognized worldwide.

Note: In the SFCR, country of origin is referred to as foreign state (definition) of origin.

The above type size requirement for country of origin declaration does not apply to consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that are packaged from bulk at retail or that are catch-weight foods sold by a retailer (for example, bulk whole green beans prepackaged in cello tray packs in-store) [270(2), SFCR].

Fresh fruits or vegetables grown in a country other than Canada

The country of origin declaration is mandatory on all containers of imported fresh fruits or vegetables, regardless of whether they are packaged whole or packaged fresh-cut (minimally processed) fresh fruits or vegetables. This requirement applies whether or not imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables are repackaged in Canada [269(3), SFCR].

Every container of imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables shall be labelled to show the words "Product of", "Produce of", "Grown in" or "Country of Origin", followed by the name of the country of origin of the produce. Other words which clearly indicate the country in which the fresh fruits or vegetables were grown may also be used [269(1), SFCR].

If properly labelled containers of fresh fruits or vegetables are placed inside a second container, resulting in prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the second container is not required to be labelled with the country of origin provided the country of origin is readily discernible and legible without having to open the second container and is not obscured by the second container [269(2), SFCR].

Fresh fruits or vegetables grown in Canada

Indicating the country of origin is voluntary on fresh fruits or vegetables grown in Canada. A Canadian packer who wishes to declare its product as being of Canadian origin must avoid giving misleading information to consumers. The "Product of Canada" Guidelines were developed to reflect consumer and industry expectations about what constitutes a Canadian product.

The use of these claims is voluntary, however, when applied they will be assessed against the "Product of Canada" guidelines.

Determining country of origin labelling requirements

Examples of fresh fruits or vegetables for which country of origin labelling is mandatory:
Whole fresh fruits or vegetables or fresh-cut fruits or vegetables imported from single or multiple origins, for example:

Whole fresh fruits or vegetables or fresh-cut fruits or vegetables imported from a single origin and repacked in Canada, for example:

Domestic whole fresh fruits or vegetables packaged with imported whole fresh fruits or vegetables from one or more origins, for example:

Single ingredient fresh-cut fruit or vegetable prepared in Canada from imported whole fresh fruit or vegetable, for example:

Specific requirements for apples

Declaration of variety on apples

The label of prepackaged apples that are interprovincially traded, imported or exported must show the name of the variety. As this applies to fresh apples for which a grade is prescribed under the SFCR, fresh-cut or minimally processed apples are excluded from this requirement [268(1)(a), 268(3), SFCR].

The declaration of apple variety may be shown on any part of the label except that part of the label, if any, that is applied solely to the bottom of a container. The declaration of apple variety must be shown in characters that are at least 1.6 mm in height [210(2), 245(2) and (3), SFCR].

If properly labelled containers of fresh apples are placed inside a second container, resulting in prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh apples, the second container is not required to be labelled with the name of the apple variety [268(2), SFCR].

Diameter size range on apples

The diameter size range of apples, as indicated below, must be shown on the label that is applied to a container of untiered apples only (e.g., apples that are not in a tray pack). This is not required when the container is transparent, or is an open basket of not more than 12.5 L (11 quarts) capacity, or contains apples of the Canada Commercial Cookers grade [7(3), Compendium, Volume 2 – Fresh Fruit or Vegetables].

The diameter size range (in metric units, Canadian units, or both metric and Canadian units) must be shown in close proximity to the grade name and in the same size characters as the grade name [321(b), Schedule 6, SFCR].

Organic products

Organic products are regulated under Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).

For specific information on organic labelling requirements, refer to Organic Claims.

The SFCR state that if the Canada organic logo appears on the label of imported food, the name of the country of origin must be immediately preceded by the words "Product of", or "Imported" which must appear in close proximity to the logo [354(d), SFCR]. However, the declaration of "Imported" alone does not fulfil the "country of origin" requirement for imported fresh fruits or vegetables under section 269 of the SFCR. See Country of Origin for more information about fresh fruits or vegetables grown in a country other than Canada.

Irradiated foods - fresh fruits or vegetables

Currently, the only types of fresh fruits or vegetables approved for irradiation and sale in Canada are onions and potatoes. The purpose of irradiating onions and potatoes is to inhibit sprouting [B.26.003, FDR].

For specific labelling requirements, refer to Irradiated Foods.

Method of production claims - fresh fruits or vegetables

Refer to Genetic Engineering Claims and "Free of Pesticides Residues" Claims for information on how these types of method of production claims may be used on labels for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Reference information

Table 1 – Summary of labelling requirements for consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables

Fresh Fruits or Vegetables (FFV) – Consumer Prepackaged Containers
Requirements Type height/ legibility Location Language References

Common name – Mandatory

The name by which the food is generally known

Note:

  • Not required if FFV is visible and identifiable
  • For apples, common name not required since name of variety will be present on the label, as required.
minimum 1.6 mm on the principal display panel English and French

Common Name - Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

B.01.001(1), B.01.006, B.01.012, FDR;
1, 206(1), 210(2), 218(1)(a), 219, SFCR

Net quantity – Mandatory

  • In most cases, by weight, volume or numerical count. By numerical count for specific FFV. 
  • In metric units, or in both metric and Canadian units.
  • in distinct contrast to any other information on the label and numerical quantity in boldface type
  • type height in proportion to the principal display surface, in accordance with Schedule 6 of the SFCR
on the principal display panel English and French, unless bilingual symbols are used

Net Quantity - Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

206(1), 221, 229(1)(a), 230, 231(a), Schedule 6, SFCR

Name and principal place of business – Mandatory

Not required on FFV that are packaged at retail and are visible and identifiable in the container.

  • clearly and prominently shown, readily discernible and legible
  • minimum 1.6 mm
on any part of the label other than solely on the bottom of the container English or French

Name and Principal Place of Business - Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

B.01.005, B.01.007(1.1)(a) & (2), B.01.012(9), FDR;
206(1), 210(2), 211, 218(1)(b), 218(2), 220, SFCR

List of ingredients –

If multi-ingredient product, ingredients must be shown in descending order of their proportion. Single ingredient products are exempt.

Refer to List of Ingredients on any part of the label other than solely on the bottom of the container English and French

List of Ingredients - Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

B.01.008(1)(b), B.01.008.1, B.01.008.2, B.01.010, B.01.012, FDR;
218(1)(c), SFCR

Nutrition Facts table – Always exempt

Voluntary display permitted; if applied voluntarily, it must meet FDR requirements.

in proportion to the available display surface (ADS) any surface including the bottom if it is considered part of the ADS English and French

Nutrition Labelling - Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

B.01.401(2)(c)(i), FDR;
218(1)(c), SFCR

Grade –

Mandatory on FFV for which a grade is established in the SFCR. Grade optional for some FFV.

type height in proportion to the principal display surface, in accordance with Schedule 6 of the SFCR on the principal display panel English and French

Grade Name - Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

206(1), 306(1), 306(2)(b) and (c), 306(4)(b), 307(a), 312, Schedule 6, SFCR; CGC Table Note 1 Volumes 2 & 9

Size designation –

  • Mandatory only for specific sizes of asparagus, beets, carrots, sweet corn, greenhouse cucumbers, onions, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, field and greenhouse tomatoes and, in specific instances, untiered apples, as required by CGC Table Note 1 Volume 2
  • In metric units, Canadian units, metric and Canadian units, or in any of the word descriptions set out in CGC Table Note 1 Volume 2
type height in proportion to the principal display surface, in accordance with Schedule 6 of the SFCR In close proximity to the grade name English and French

Size Designation – Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

206(1) & (2), 321(a) to (c), Schedule 6, SFCR;
CGC Table Note 1 Volume 2

Country of origin – Mandatory on imported FFV.

Represents the country where the FFV were grown

  • in boldface type
  • type height in proportion to the principal display surface, in accordance with Schedule 6 of the SFCR
on the principal display panel and in close proximity to the net quantity or the grade name English and French

Country of Origin - Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

206(1) & (2), 269(1) to (3), 270, Schedule 6, SFCR

Variety name – mandatory for fresh whole apples minimum 1.6 mm on any part of the label other than solely on the bottom of the container English and French

Specific Requirements for Apples

206(1), 210(2), 245(2), 245(3), 268(1)(a), 268(3), SFCR

Irradiation symbol/statement – Mandatory (if applicable)

Must carry the irradiation symbol, as well as one of the irradiation statements

Refer to Irradiated Foods on the principal display panel English and French

Irradiated Foods - Fresh Fruits or Vegetables

B.01.035, FDR

Table Notes

Table note 1

The abbreviation CGC means Canadian Grade Compendium.

Return to table note 1  referrer

Table 2 – Summary of labelling requirements for prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables

Fresh fruits or vegetables (FFV) – Prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged
Requirements Type height/ legibility Location Language References

Common name – Mandatory

The name by which the food is generally known

Note:

  • Not required if FFV is visible and identifiable
Clearly and prominently shown, readily discernible and legible on the principal display panel English or French

Common name - Fresh fruits or vegetables

B.01.001(1), B.01.006, B.01.012, FDR;
1, 205(1), 208, 218(1)(a), 219(1)(a), SFCR

Net quantity – Mandatory

  • In most cases, by weight or volume. If in a bag, by weight. By numerical count for specific FFV.
  • In metric units, Canadian units, or in both metric and Canadian units
clearly and prominently shown, readily discernible and legible on any part of the label other than solely on the bottom of the container English or French

Net quantity - Fresh fruits or vegetables

205(1), 208, 244, 245(2) & (3), 268(1)(b), 268(4), SFCR

Name and principal place of business – Mandatory clearly and prominently shown, readily discernible and legible on any part of the label other than solely on the bottom of the container English or French

Name and principal place of business - Fresh fruits or vegetables

B.01.005, B.01.007(1.1)(a), B.01.012(9), FDR;
205(1), 208, 218(1)(b), 218(2), SFCR

List of ingredients –

If multi-ingredient product, ingredients must be shown in descending order of their proportion. Single ingredient products are exempt.

Refer to List of ingredients on any part of the label other than solely on the bottom of the container English or French

List of ingredients - Fresh fruits or vegetables

B.01.008(1)(b), B.01.008.1, B.01.008.2, B.01.010, B.01.012(11), FDR;
218(1)(c), SFCR

Nutrition Facts table – Always exempt

Voluntary display permitted; if applied voluntarily, it must meet FDR requirements.

in proportion to the available display surface (ADS) any surface including the bottom if it is considered part of the ADS English or French

Nutrition labelling - Fresh fruits or vegetables

B.01.401(2)(c)(i), FDR;
218(1)(c), SFCR

Grade –

  • Mandatory on domestic FFV for which a grade is established in the SFCR or on imported FFV that is packed or repacked in Canada. Grade optional for some FFV.
  • Note: If the grade name is readily discernible and legible on consumer prepackaged FFV placed inside a 2nd container without having to open the 2nd container, the grade name is not required on the 2nd container
  • type height in proportion to the principal display surface, in accordance with Schedule 6 of the SFCR
  • minimum 1.6 mm, in the case of a reusable plastic container
any surface except the bottom English or French

Grade name - Fresh fruits or vegetables

205(1), 306(1), 306(2)(c), 306(4)(b) & (c), 307(a), 320, Schedule 6, SFCR;
CGC Table Note 2 Volumes 2 & 9

Size designation –

  • Mandatory only for specific sizes of asparagus, beets, carrots, sweet corn, greenhouse cucumbers, onions, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, field and greenhouse tomatoes and, in specific instances, untiered apples, as required by CGC Table Note 2 Volume 2
  • In metric units, Canadian units, metric and Canadian units, or in any of the word descriptions set out in CGC Table Note 2 Volume 2
  • Note: If a properly labelled prepackaged fresh fruit or vegetable bearing a size designation is placed inside a 2nd container, the 2nd container is not required to be labelled with the size designation
  • type height in proportion to the principal display surface, in accordance with Schedule 6 of the SFCR
  • minimum 1.6 mm, in the case of a reusable plastic container
in close proximity to the grade name English or French

Size designation – Fresh fruits or vegetables

205(1), 321(a) & (b), Schedule 6, SFCR;
CGC Table Note 2 Volume 2

Country of origin –

  • Mandatory on imported FFV. Represents the country where the FFV were grown.
  • Note: If the country of origin is readily discernible and legible on consumer prepackaged FFV placed inside a 2nd container without having to open the 2nd container, the country of origin is not required on the 2nd container
  • in boldface type
  • type height in proportion to the principal display surface, in accordance with Schedule 6 of the SFCR
  • minimum 1.6 mm, in the case of a reusable plastic container
on the principal display panel and in close proximity to the net quantity or the grade name English or French

Country of origin – Fresh fruits or vegetables

205(1), 269, 270(1), 271, Schedule 6, SFCR

Variety name – Mandatory for fresh whole apples

Note: If properly labelled prepackaged fresh apples bearing the variety name are placed inside a 2nd container, the 2nd container is not required to be labelled with the variety name.

any part; if applied or attached to bottom must also be shown on any part other than the bottom English or French 205(1), 268(1)(a), 268(2), 268(3), 245(2), 245(3), SFCR

Irradiation symbol/statement – Mandatory (if applicable)

  • Must carry one of the irradiation statements, where required, the statement "Do not irradiate again"
  • Irradiation symbol is not required
Refer to Irradiated foods on the principal display panel English and French

Irradiated foods - Fresh fruits or vegetables

B.01.035, FDR

Table Notes

Table note 2

The abbreviation CGC means Canadian Grade Compendium.

Return to table note 2  referrer

Definitions

Canadian unit

Canadian unit means a unit of measurement that is set out in Schedule II to the Weights and Measures Act [198, SFCR].

Consumer prepackaged

Consumer prepackaged, in respect of a food, means packaged in a container (definition) in the manner in which the food is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by an individual – or in which the food may reasonably be expected to be obtained by an individual – without being repackaged, to be used for non-commercial purposes [1, SFCR].

Container

Container means an outer receptacle or covering that is used or to be used in connection with a food. It includes a wrapper and a confining band but does not include a conveyance or any container that is an integral part of a conveyance [1, SFCR].

Foreign state

Foreign state includes a WTO Member as defined in subsection 2(1) of the World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act [1, SFCR].

Fresh fruits or vegetables

Fresh fruits or vegetables means any fresh plant or any fresh edible fungus, or any part of such a plant or fungus, that is a food [2(1), SFCR].

Grade name

Under the SFCA, grade name means a prescribed name, mark or designation of a food commodity [2, SFCA].

The SFCR further specify that, for the purposes of this definition, the grade names that are set out in the Compendium and in the Grades Document are prescribed in respect of foods [305, SFCR].

Metric unit

Metric unit means a unit of measurement that is set out in Schedule I to the Weights and Measures Act [198, SFCR].

Person

Person means an individual or an organization as defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code [2, FDA; 2, SFCA].

A person may therefore be an individual or an organization, and may include a consumer, a manufacturer, a retailer, an importer, a restaurant, any other commercial or industrial enterprise, an institution such as a school or hospital, and anyone else who sells, uses, or buys a food.

Prepackaged

Prepackaged, in respect of a food, means packaged in a container (definition) in the manner in which the food is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by a person (definition), and includes consumer prepackaged (definition) [1, SFCR].

Prepackaged product

Prepackaged product means any food that is contained in a package in the manner in which it is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by a person [B.01.001(1), FDR].

This definition of prepackaged product under the FDR is closely aligned with the definition of prepackaged food under the SFCR.

Principal display panel

Refer to subsection B.01.001(1) of the Food and Drug Regulations and section 1 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, as applicable, for a definition of principal display panel. The definitions for this term in both these regulations are closely aligned [B.01.001(1), FDR; 1, 393(1), SFCR].

Principal display surface

Refer to section 1 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) for a definition of principal display surface, as it applies to consumer prepackaged (definition) food [1, SFCR].

Although the term "principal display surface" is not specifically defined in the SFCR for prepackaged (definition) other than consumer prepackaged food, the above definition will also be used with respect to type size requirements for net quantity, grade, size designation and country of origin information on the label of prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables.

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