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Food products that require a label
Information on prepackaged foods

Under the SFCR and FDR, prepackaged foods and prepackaged products both refer to those that are packaged before being offered for sale. This includes products packaged for sale to consumers (referred to as consumer prepackaged) and those packaged for sale to other companies or institutions, such as a box of flour that is sold by a mill to a bakery, or an industry-sized pail of syrup that is sold by a manufacturer to a restaurant. Foods that are packaged at retail before being offered for sale, such as candies packaged into containers from bulk or buns placed in a bag by the retailer are also considered to be prepackaged.

Note that the SFCR definition of prepackaged food is closely aligned with the FDR definition of prepackaged product. For additional information, refer to Definition of “prepackaged” and “consumer prepackaged”.

Food products that are offered for sale unpackaged and then packaged by a clerk upon request by the consumer are not considered to be prepackaged products. These are often referred to as clerk-served foods. Examples include:

Food products that are offered for sale unpackaged and then packaged by the consumer (e.g., food sold in bulk bins) are also not considered to be consumer prepackaged products.


Based on the definitions in the FDA and SFCR, a package (definition) or container (definition) is interpreted to include:

  • inedible casings
  • wax, cheesecloth, muslin, or similar items, on cheese
  • confining bands on fresh fruits or vegetables (e.g., bands made of twine, elastic bands or twist ties)
  • clear, colourless, transparent protective wrapper, including the shrink wrap on individual units of fresh fruits or vegetables, such as the ones used on English cucumbers, a lettuce head, a bunch of grapes, etc.
  • any outer package that is customarily displayed to the consumer (such as outer packaging for most foods such as cartons, bags and nets)

A package or containers is interpreted to exclude:

  • inner pouches, envelopes, boxes, bags, sleeves, etc. when sold inside an outer box or bag that is normally displayed to the consumer, regardless of whether the inside wrap is unlabelled, partly labelled, or fully labelled. This may include protective wrappings inside properly labelled shipping containers, such as fish blocks held within a protective wrapping [Note: If a food item from inside a box is sold individually, however, the inside wrap or liner is then considered to be a container and must be fully labelled when sold.]
  • edible casings that enclose foods, because these are considered to be ingredients of a food, e.g. casings on sausages
  • wax coatings on fresh fruits and vegetables, because these are also part of the food, e.g. wax coating on apples, turnips
  • a conveyance (definition) or any container that is an integral part of a conveyance
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