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Country of origin on food labels

In Canada, there are mandatory requirements for certain food products to indicate the foreign state (definition) of origin on their labels. Although foreign states include countries as well as World Trade Organization (WTO) members, the Industry Labelling Tool commonly refers to this requirement as country of origin labelling.

Companies may also make origin claims to highlight the origins of a product or ingredient in a product.

Country of origin labelling does not provide information on the safety of a food product. All food products sold in Canada, whether produced in Canada or abroad, must meet the same food safety standards.

Mandatory labelling

All prepackaged food products sold in Canada are required to be labelled with the name and principal place of business of the company responsible for the product, such as the importer or manufacturer.

When a food product is wholly manufactured outside of Canada, the label must show that the product is imported. This information can be provided in one of three ways:

For more information, refer to Name and principal place of business. In addition, it is mandatory to state the country of origin on some specific imported prepackaged products. The links below provide more information on the requirements for each food:

Generally, for the above foods, the words "Product of [Name the country of origin]" must appear on the label. For example, prepackaged cheese from the United States imported into Canada is required to be labelled "Product of United States."

Definition

Foreign state

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

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