Country of origin labelling for food products
The information on this web page is being updated to reflect changes to labelling information, which include nutritional information, list of ingredients, and food colour requirements due to amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) and the implementation of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.
The new FDR requirements are available in the Industry Labelling Tool. Food businesses have a transition period to meet them, during which they must comply with either the former or the new requirements.
In Canada, there are mandatory requirement for certain food products to indicate the country of origin on their labels. Companies may also make voluntary 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.
All prepackaged food products sold in Canada are required to be labelled with the name and address 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 three ways:
- the name and address of the Canadian company with the country of origin of the product,
- the name and address of the foreign manufacturer, or
- the statement "imported for" or "imported by" followed by the name and address of the Canadian company.
In addition, it is mandatory to state the country of origin on some specific imported prepackaged products, such as:
- wine and brandy
- dairy products
- fish and seafood products
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- meat products
- maple products
- processed fruit and vegetable products
Generally, this means 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."
A company may choose to voluntarily make claims about origin of a food or any ingredient in the food provided it is truthful and not misleading.
For example, a company may voluntarily choose to label prepackaged cookies made in England and imported into Canada as "Product of England." Similarly, the label for a blueberry pie that is made using Canadian blueberries may say "100% Canadian blueberries."
In addition, a company may choose to voluntarily use a Product of Canada and Made in Canada claim to highlight that a product has been produced or manufactured in Canada provided that it follows the Product of Canada and Made in Canada guidelines.
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