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Available display surface (ADS)
Calculating the available display surface

In general, the Nutrition Facts table must be displayed on the available display surface (ADS) (definition) of a package. This is defined as the total surface area of a package which is physically available for labelling. It includes all unlabelled surfaces on which information can be legibly set out and easily viewed. Also included is any surface that has any printing, designs or graphics already printed on it, whether mandatory, optional or promotional (other than the area occupied by the Universal Product Code (UPC) – see Elements not included as part of the available display surface). For example, any label surface containing any printed information, such as a list of ingredients, a name and address of a manufacturer, a brand name, graphics, claims, promotional information, recipes, etc., is considered part of the ADS.

The ADS is usually determined by numerical calculation. The calculation of the ADS is a pivotal concept in the application of the nutrition labelling requirements, because the choice of a Nutrition Facts table format and its size are based, in part, on the ADS of the package.

Table: Definition of available display surface (ADS)
Package type Included in ADS Excluded from ADS
All packages
  • total area of package
  • include bottom if product will not be damaged or leak if turned upside down
  • bottom, if product leaks or is damaged if upside down
  • area destroyed when opened (except for single-serve containers)
  • area where a label cannot be physically applied
  • area where information cannot be legibly set out or easily viewed
  • UPC
Ornamental containers
  • total area of bottom or area of tag (both sides), whichever is bigger
  • top
  • sides
  • UPC
Available display surface for tags Table Note 1
  • for ornamental containers
  • for packages to which a label cannot be applied
  • for small packages to which alternate methods of presentation apply Table Note 2
  • both sides of tag
  • (However, any version (size) of an appropriate format may be used.)
  • UPC

Table Notes

Table Note 1

If tags are used on other pre-packaged products (i.e., not ornamental containers, packages that cannot affix a label, or small packages), then this rule does not apply.

Return to table note 1  referrer

Table Note 2

Use of alternate methods of presentation applies to products using the standard/horizontal/linear and simplified format families, the simplified format family for single-serving prepackaged products, and in some instances, on products displaying an aggregate format – different kinds of food. (See Nutrition Facts Table Formats section).

Return to table note 2  referrer

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