Labelling requirements for meat and poultry products
The inspection legends set out in Schedule 2 of the SFCR are prescribed for the purposes of the definition of inspection mark in section 2 of SFCA. It is prohibited for a person to apply to an edible meat product an inspection legend, or use in connection with such a product, unless specifically authorized to do so by sections 180 and 184 of the SFCR [2, 14, SFCA; 179, SFCR].
When traded interprovincially or exported, the inspection legend set out in Figure 1 of Schedule 2 of the SFCR must appear on the label of an edible meat product (definition), whether prepackaged or not, provided the conditions set out in subsections 180(1), (3) and (4) of the SFCR are met [282(1)(a), 287(1)(a), SFCR].
The inspection legend set out in Figure 2 of Schedule 2 of the SFCR is reserved for prepackaged meat products only that meet the conditions set out in subsection 180(2) of the SFCR, which pertain to the container, in addition to the other conditions of section 180 [287(1)(a), SFCR].
The inspection legends consist of a circular outline containing a maple leaf with the word Canada written across the maple leaf. When Figure 1 of Schedule 2 is used, the number identifying the licence holder's establishment must replace the numbers 00 that appear beneath the maple leaf [183, Figure 1 of Schedule 2, SFCR].
When Figure 2 of Schedule 2 is used, the number identifying the licence holder's establishment is omitted from the inspection legend. This applies when the container of the meat product [180(2), SFCR]:
- is a hermetically sealed package (definition) that is labelled legibly and permanently with the number identifying the licence holder's establishment (for example, the number is stamped on the lid)
- is a casing or bag closed by a clip, if the number identifying the licence holder's establishment is legibly engraved on the clip and is visible when the clip is closed, or
- bears the number identifying the licence holder's establishment on any surface except the bottom of the container
Please note that until January 14, 2022, the inspection legend set out in Schedule III of the repealed Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990 may continue to be used, as a transitional measure, in lieu of the above [374(3)(a), SFCR]. As of January 15, 2022, the new inspection legends illustrated above must be used, as applicable. It is the responsibility of the regulated party to accurately reproduce the inspection legends set out in Schedule 2 of the SFCR.
When imported, an edible meat product, whether prepackaged or not, must bear the official inspection mark of the foreign state (definition) of origin [282(1)(b), 287(1)(b), SFCR].
For prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged edible meat products, the inspection legend or the official inspection mark of the foreign state of origin, as applicable, must be shown on the principal display panel. If a tamper-resistant seal is used, the inspection legend or the official inspection mark of the country of origin may be displayed on the seal, unless the seal is applied to the bottom of the container [287(2) and (3), SFCR]. Consumer prepackaged (definition) meat products may show their inspection legend or inspection mark on any part of the label, except the bottom [245(2) and (3), SFCR].
The inspection legend must meet the legibility and location requirements set out in the SFCR for mandatory information. It must be separate, distinct, and must not interfere with any other mandatory labelling requirements. With respect to type size requirements for the inspection legend, the numerals "00" in Figure 1 (for example, the number identifying the licence holder's establishment) must be a minimum of 1.6 mm in height [208, 210, SFCR]. For Figure 1 and Figure 2, the word "Canada" must be distinguishable within the maple leaf [208, SFCR]. These legibility requirements correspond to a minimum circle diameter of the inspection legend of about 14 mm and the use of type that has a high level of colour contrast with the background label. The size of the inspection legend may be required to increase as the size of the package increases so that the inspection legend is prominently shown on the label. All components of the inspection legend must be in the same proportions as those shown in Figures 1 or 2 above to meet the legibility requirements in section 208 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).
When an inspection legend or official inspection mark of a foreign state is applied directly on an edible meat product that is not prepackaged, the transverse axis passing through the centre of the legend or mark must not measure less than 25 mm in length [282(2), SFCR].
For additional information specifically related to the marking of food animal carcasses with the inspection legend, refer to Application of the inspection legend on food animal carcasses before refrigeration.
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