Do I require federal registration for the products
that I plan to market?
Federal registration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
is required for establishments manufacturing various food commodities
that are intended to be exported out of the province of manufacture. In
general, the commodities that would require registration include meat,
poultry, fish, dairy and processed fruit and vegetable products, if destined
for trade outside the province. For further information, contact your
nearest CFIA office for details regarding the legislative requirements
or visit CFIA.
Where can I obtain scientific information on producing
and maintaining safe products?
Various sources of information include:
- food science and technology departments at universities
- food consulting companies
- private food testing laboratories
- product development facilities
- food science journals and literature
- federal, provincial and municipal food regulatory agencies
Do I need to submit a sample to the Canadian Food
Inspection Agency for testing prior to marketing?
No, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not provide laboratory services
for industry for product development or quality assurance purposes. As
the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that the products are safe,
samples should be routinely submitted to private analytical laboratories
for testing to ensure product safety. Test results should be kept on file.
What is a food recall?
Food manufacturers use many controls to make sure that the products they
produce are safe. Sometimes, for many different reasons, a product may
be manufactured and sold which may make some people ill or injure them,
or is in violation of the legislation. When an unsafe or violative food
product has left the control of the manufacturer, it must be removed from
the market. This process of removing the product is called a "recall".
If your company has made a product which is unsafe or violative and you
have sold the product to someone else, you must recall the product. If
you choose not to conduct a recall, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food
Canada may order you to conduct the recall under Section 19 of the Canadian
Food Inspection Act. This applies to all manufacturers which have sold
an unsafe product. This information and addition information on establishing
a recall plan is available at the Office of Food Safety and Recall.
What do I have to put on the label?
In general, prepackaged products must show the following basic label information:
- common name
- metric net quantity declaration
- company name and address (sufficient for postal purposes)
- accurate and complete list of ingredients and their components, declared
in descending order of proportion by weight
- "best before" date, when the product has a durable life
of 90 days or less
- nutrition information, if specific nutrient claims are made. Currently,
nutrition information is required only if a nutrient claim is made.
Please note, however, that Health Canada has proposed an amendment to
the current regulations that would require nutrition information on
all foods (with some exceptions), regardless of whether nutrient claims
were made or not, as well as changes to the format. Please refer to
Canada website for information on the status of the proposal.
- other mandatory information is required for certain foods (i.e. %
acetic acid for vinegars, % milk fat and moisture content on cheeses,
% alcohol by volume on alcoholic beverages, etcetera). Please refer
to the CFIA
website for further information.
Does it have to be in French?
Mandatory information, with the exception of the name and address, must be stated in both English and French. Local foods, which are packaged and sold only in the immediate vicinity and/or the immediately adjacent municipalities, may be labelled in the local language only.
Outer containers of foods destined for commercial or institutional use may
state the mandatory information in English only.
Does my label have to be approved before I begin marketing it?
Mandatory label evaluations may be required for certain registered commodities destined for trade outside provincial boundaries. But for all other (non-registered) food products, the label review process is a service provided to industry by CFIA, free of charge. Manufacturers, importers and retailers are required to ensure that their products comply with the requirements of the Food and Drug and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Acts and Regulations, but the label review process is not mandatory.
Where do I get the nutrition information from?
The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that the label information
is accurate. Samples should be submitted to private analytical laboratories
for testing to ensure accuracy of label information. Test results should
be kept on file. The "Guide
to Food Labelling and Advertising", available on the CFIA's internet
site, has a section dealing with nutrient claims. It outlines the tolerances
for nutrient declaration, and suggests sampling techniques to help minimize
variation. There are also some nutrient content databases available on
the Internet, such as the USDA
website and Health