Labelling requirements for fresh fruits and vegetables
Grade name - fresh fruits or vegetables
Please note that all references to the "Compendium" in this section refer to the Canadian Grade Compendium.
The grade names (definition) and grade requirements for fresh fruits or vegetables are set out in Volume 2 of the Compendium, while those for imported fresh fruits or vegetables are set out in Volume 9. It is not permitted to indicate a Canadian grade on a product for which the Regulations do not prescribe a grade standard.
Any fresh fruits or vegetables for which grades are prescribed by the SFCR and that are interprovincially traded or imported must be graded, must meet grade requirements set out in the Compendium and must also be labelled with the applicable grade name. This does not apply to fresh fruits or vegetables that are exported, as these must generally meet the requirements of the importing country, if any [306(1), 306(2)(b), SFCR].
Grades are optional for fresh blueberries, fresh cantaloupes, fresh crabapples, fresh cranberries, fresh field rhubarb and fresh strawberries. However when these are graded and labelled with the applicable grade name, the grade requirements must be adhered to [306(2)(c), 307(a), SFCR].
Grades do not apply to miniature vegetables, except in the case of miniature cucumbers [3, Compendium, Volume 2 - Fresh Fruit or Vegetables].
Grades also do not apply to fresh fruits or vegetables that have been minimally processed. This includes, but is not limited to, fresh fruits or vegetables that are peeled, cut, sliced, chopped, cored, shredded or consists of separated leaves.
For consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the grade name must be shown on the principal display panel (definition) in characters of at least the minimum character height set out in the following table, which varies according to area of the principal display surface (definition) [312, Schedule 6, SFCR].
Column 1Area of Principal Display Surface
Column 2Minimum Character Height
|1||≤ 32 cm2 (5 inches2)||1.6 mm (1/16 inch)|
|2||> 32 cm2 (5 inches2) but ≤ 258 cm2 (40 inches2)||3.2 mm (1/8 inch)|
|3||> 258 cm2 (40 inches2) but ≤ 645 cm2 (100 inches2)||6.4 mm (1/4 inch)|
|4||> 645 cm2 (100 inches2) but ≤ 2 580 cm2 (400 inches2)||9.5 mm (3/8 inch)|
|5||> 2 580 cm2 (400 inches2)||12.7 mm (1/2 inch)|
For prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the grade name must be shown on any surface of the container, except the bottom, and in the same size characters as for consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables indicated in the above table. However, for reusable plastic containers, the grade name may be in characters that are at least 1.6 mm (1/16 inch) in height [320, Schedule 6, SFCR].
If properly labelled containers of fresh fruits or vegetables are placed inside a second container, resulting in prepackaged other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, the second container is not required to be labelled with the grade name provided the grade name is readily discernible and legible without having to open the second container and is not obscured by the second container [320(3), SFCR].
Domestic fresh fruits or vegetables
Every container of fresh fruits or vegetables must be labelled with the grade name, if a mandatory grade is prescribed in the SFCR. Please note that Canadian grade names (e.g., Canada No. 1, Canada Domestic, Canada Extra Fancy) are limited to fresh fruits or vegetables that are Canadian grown.
Imported fresh fruits or vegetables
If an imported fresh fruit or vegetable meets the requirements in Volume 2 of the Compendium for a Canadian grade name, the import grade name in Volume 9 for that fresh fruit or vegetable (items 4 to 33 of the Table of Import Grade Names for Imported Food) must be used on the label (e.g., No. 1 Grade, Domestic Grade, Extra Fancy Grade) [1(1), Compendium, Volume 9 – Import Grade Requirements].
Imported fresh fruits or vegetables that are packaged or repackaged in Canada after their importation must be labelled with the import grade name (e.g., No. 1 Grade, Domestic Grade, Extra Fancy Grade) set out in Volume 9 of the Compendium rather than with the Canadian grade name [1(3), Compendium, Volume 9 – Import Grade Requirements].
If a Canadian grown fresh fruit or vegetable is combined with imported product and is prepackaged in Canada, the combined product is no longer of totally Canadian content and cannot bear a Canadian grade name. The combined product must, therefore, display the import grade name, as set out in Volume 9 of the Compendium.
Despite the requirement to be graded and to meet the grade requirements set out in the Compendium, imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, other than consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, are not required to be labelled with a grade name [306(4)(c), SFCR].
Fresh fruits or vegetables that are imported into Canada from the United States are considered to meet the applicable requirements outlined in Volume 2 of the Compendium if they:
- are graded in the United States, and
- meet the applicable requirements in the Grade Standard Requirements for Fresh Fruits or Vegetables Imported from the United States [113(2), 114(3), 115, SFCR].
Refer to Import of certain whole fresh fruits or vegetables – Grade requirements for additional information.
Imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that are sold in their original container and labelled with a grade designation from their country of origin do not need to be labelled with an import grade name as set out in Volume 9 of the Compendium, if they meet the requirements for the foreign grade and those requirements are substantially equivalent to the applicable requirements in Volume 2 of the Compendium [306(4)(b), SFCR].
Indicating a foreign grade designation is also permitted on the labels of imported fresh fruits or vegetables for which there are no grades established in the Compendium if the food meets the applicable requirements established by the country of origin, the name of the country of origin is clearly indicated on the label, and the food is labelled in accordance with the SFCR [309, SFCR]. For example, it is permitted to declare U.S. No. 1 on a bag of Florida oranges, as there are no grades established for oranges in Canada. Please note that in instances where there are no grades established in the Compendium, there are no prescribed minimum type size and location requirements for these foreign grade designations on the labels of imported fresh fruits or vegetables.
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