Net quantity on food labels
The principal display panel of consumer prepackaged (definition) products must include a net quantity declaration [221, Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)]. For information on units of measurement, refer to Manner of Declaring.
There are also specific requirements for the net quantity declaration on certain prepackaged food products other than consumer prepackaged [243, SFCR]. For more information on these requirements refer to:
- dairy products
- shell eggs
- fish and seafood
- fresh fruits or vegetables
- processed fruit or vegetable products
- maple products
- meat and poultry products
In addition to the requirements in the SFCR, a net quantity declaration is required, under section 9 of the Weights and Measures Act (WMA), on prepackaged foods other than consumer prepackaged, such as shipping containers and foods for institutional use. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) does not administer or enforce the Weights and Measures Act. Refer to Measurement Canada for more information.
The following foods are exempt from the net quantity requirement [300, SFCR; 46, Weight and Measures Regulations (WMR)]:
- Prepackaged individual servings of food prepared by a commissary and sold by automatic vending machines or mobile canteens;
- Prepackaged individual portions of food that are served with meals or snacks, such as jams, sugar, crackers, ketchup, and salt. Note: the shipping or master container holding the individual portions is not exempt;
- Catch-weight foods (definition) sold to a retailer. Note: The retailer is responsible for applying the net quantity declaration before offering the food for sale to consumers. In addition, under the WMA, a net quantity declaration is required on the shipping container.
- Foods exempt from carrying a label are not required to bear a net quantity declaration when sold at retail [213, SFCR].
- When a prepackaged product consists of less than seven identical and separately prepackaged products that are fully labelled and clearly visible at the time of sale, the outer package is exempt from net quantity declaration [303, SFCR].
- The six or less identical products must each be labelled with a net quantity declaration that is visible despite any outer packaging.
- This rule applies in spite of section 239 of the SFCR which provides labelling requirements for when two or more completely labelled products are sold together as a single unit.
- Consumer prepackaged raspberries or strawberries packaged in the field in containers with a capacity of 1.14 litres or less are not required to meet the requirements of the SFCR related to net quantity [301, SFCR].
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