Labelling requirements for fresh fruits and vegetables
Country of origin - fresh fruits or vegetables
The country of origin represents the country in which the fresh fruits or vegetables were grown. The country of origin must be shown on the principal display panel (definition) of imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables and in close proximity to the declaration of net quantity or the grade name. The country of origin declaration must be shown in boldface type in the same size characters as those prescribed for the grade name [269(1), 270(1), 271, SFCR].
All country names must be written out in full, except for the United States which may be abbreviated to "USA" as it is recognized worldwide.
Note: In the SFCR, country of origin is referred to as foreign state (definition) of origin.
The above type size requirement for country of origin declaration does not apply to consumer prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that are packaged from bulk at retail or that are catch-weight foods sold by a retailer (for example, bulk whole green beans prepackaged in cello tray packs in-store) [270(2), SFCR].
Fresh fruits or vegetables grown in a country other than Canada
The country of origin declaration is mandatory on all containers of imported fresh fruits or vegetables, regardless of whether they are packaged whole or packaged fresh-cut (minimally processed) fresh fruits or vegetables. This requirement applies whether or not imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables are repackaged in Canada [269(3), SFCR].
Every container of imported prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables shall be labelled to show the words "Product of", "Produce of", "Grown in" or "Country of Origin", followed by the name of the country of origin of the produce. Other words which clearly indicate the country in which the fresh fruits or vegetables were grown may also be used [269(1), 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 country of origin provided the country of origin is readily discernible and legible without having to open the second container and is not obscured by the second container [269(2), SFCR].
Fresh fruits or vegetables grown in Canada
Indicating the country of origin is voluntary on fresh fruits or vegetables grown in Canada. A Canadian packer who wishes to declare its product as being of Canadian origin must avoid giving misleading information to consumers. The "Product of Canada" Guidelines were developed to reflect consumer and industry expectations about what constitutes a Canadian product.
The use of these claims is voluntary, however, when applied they will be assessed against the "Product of Canada" guidelines.
Determining country of origin labelling requirements
Examples of fresh fruits or vegetables for which country of origin labelling is mandatory:
Whole fresh fruits or vegetables or fresh-cut fruits or vegetables imported from single or multiple origins, for example:
- A bag of apples is imported from the USA - "Product of USA";
- A prepackaged mix of sweet peppers, 1 orange and 1 yellow from Mexico and 1 green from the USA - "Product of Mexico and USA";
- Squash is grown, chopped and packaged in the USA - "Product of USA".
Whole fresh fruits or vegetables or fresh-cut fruits or vegetables imported from a single origin and repacked in Canada, for example:
- Onions imported from Mexico in 50 kg bags, then repacked into 10 kg bags in Canada - "Product of Mexico".
Domestic whole fresh fruits or vegetables packaged with imported whole fresh fruits or vegetables from one or more origins, for example:
- A salad blended from whole baby lettuce leaves imported from the USA and spinach leaves grown in Canada - "Product of USA and Canada";
- Domestic apples are packaged with apples imported from the USA - "Product of Canada and USA".
Single ingredient fresh-cut fruit or vegetable prepared in Canada from imported whole fresh fruit or vegetable, for example:
- Carrots imported from the USA then shredded and packaged in Canada - "Product of USA".
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