Information regarding certain labelling requirements for foodservice products during the COVID-19 pandemic
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has temporarily suspended some of its low-risk activities.
Low-risk CFIA activities are those that do not immediately impact the production of safe food for Canadians.
Effective immediately, the CFIA is providing flexibility for certain labelling requirements for foodservice packaged products that have no impact on food safety, as detailed below.
Foodservice products are those used by hotels, restaurants and institutions.
This will help to support the economy, alleviate supply disruptions in Canadian grocery stores, and avoid food waste.
Labelling of Canadian-made, packaged and labelled foodservice products for sale at retail
The CFIA will generally not object to the retail sale of food products made, packaged and labelled in Canada according to Canadian or U.S. requirements for foodservice use.
This includes products made in Canada for foodservice in Canada.
It also includes products made in Canada for foodservice in the U.S. For these, the products may still be in Canada or they may have been exported to the U.S. and re-imported to Canada.
Foodservice products that are sold through retail must:
- meet Canadian food safety requirements
- be labelled in a manner that is not false, misleading or deceptive
- include the following specific labelling information:
- a common name
- a list of ingredients and Canadian priority allergen and gluten source declaration, if applicable
- a name and contact information for the person responsible for the food
- a net quantity (in metric or imperial units)
- a lot code identifier (such as, date of production, best before date, lot number)
- storage instructions and best before date, if applicable
- directions for use, if applicable (such as, safe cooking instructions)
- food safety statements for meat or fish, if applicable (for example, previously frozen, mechanically tenderized meat)
Labelling of Canadian-made, packaged and labelled foodservice products with U.S. labels redirected for sale to Canadian foodservice
The CFIA will generally not object to the re-importation of food products made, packaged and labelled in Canada for foodservice use that are labelled according to U.S. requirements.
These products, or ones that have not left Canada, can be sold for Canadian foodservice use without any changes to the label if:
- Canadian food safety requirements are met
- they are labelled in a manner that is not false, misleading or deceptive
- all such Canadian food products being re-imported from the U.S. are accompanied by their proof of Canadian export certification as stipulated in the CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS)
Any of the labelling information that is missing from the label of foodservice packaged food can be applied to or accompany the food packaging in any format and by any means, such as a sticker.
The information must be available to the consumer or final purchaser.
Language requirements for labelling
Where product information listed above is currently required to be provided on the label of pre-packaged food in both English and French, it must continue unless COVID-19 led to the need to sell food with non-compliant bilingual labels.
Any product information listed above that is not provided on the label in English and French must be made available by other means, such as a sticker, a leaflet, a highly visible sign at the point of purchase, or on the retail business website.
Provincial laws relating to bilingual labelling would also apply.
Standard container size requirements
This measure also applies to standard container size requirements.
Requirements for frozen raw breaded chicken products for sale at retail
In addition to the labelling requirements described above and other food safety requirements, frozen raw breaded chicken products that were prepared for sale for foodservice use must meet one of the Salmonella control options before they can be sold at retail.
Other regulatory requirements
Activities other than labelling (such as freezing), carried out on foodservice products in Canada that are subject to the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations licensing requirements, must be conducted in a federal establishment.
Duration and application of this measure
This notice applies to foodservice food that has already been packaged and labelled.
It also applies to foodservice food that is packaged and labelled within 90 days of the publication of this notice. Please note that on September 4, 2020, the duration was extended to December 31, 2020. After this time, this measure no longer has effect.
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