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Common name on food labels


The Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) require a common name on the principal display panel of a prepackaged food label [B.01.006, FDR; 218(1)(a), SFCR]. Other foods may require a common name for traceability purposes; traceability-specific labelling requirements should be consulted for additional details.


The following foods are exempt from declaring a common name on the label:

  • prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that are packaged in such a way that they are visible and identifiable in the package or container [B.01.006(2), FDR; 219(1)(a), SFCR].

    For example, tomatoes packaged in a styrofoam tray that has been over-wrapped with clear plastic wrap do not have to be labelled with the common name "tomatoes".

  • consumer prepackaged fresh apples packaged in such a way that the name of their variety is shown on any part of the label, except on the bottom of the container [219(1)(b), SFCR].

    For example, when applicable variety names appear, such as McIntosh, Spartan or Granny Smith for apples, the common name "apples" is not required. This applies to apples in opaque bags, boxes, etc. that would not ordinarily be visible and identifiable in the package, as described in the paragraph above.

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