Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Labeling it right.
Food products sold around the world must adhere various sets of labeling regulations, set by the government of the country being sold within. In Canada, that is CFIA and they set the labeling requirements for any food product. The regulations can be challenging to decipher and CFIA compliance can be difficult to achieve. And, compliance looks different in each country your product could be sold in – the USA and EU have their own set of standards that are different from Canada’s.
Why should you care?
Well, in short, it can cost you. Non-compliance can result in your product being removed from the shelves, forcing you to re-print and manufacture packaging at your cost. It can also make your product and company appear amateur in the eyes of grocery clients you wish to be listed with. This again can cost you. Even getting representation by one of the major brokers or distributors can be a challenge without proper compliance.
So, what do you do about it?
One of the easiest things to do is choose a packaging partner and designer who is well versed in packaging and knows the regulations.
- Make sure you work with a designer who really knows packaging. Like Fever.
- Work with other professionals – a food lab for your nutritional analysis; a French translator that can translate for Quebec and food; others that have a history in the industry.
- Consider hiring a compliance consultant. If you are working with a separate food processor, some will offer access to their compliance consultant.
Here are some questions we are asked frequently:
Even if you are not selling in Quebec your package should include French translations. At minimum the important product information should be translated and ideally all the info. This includes things like your brand story. Also, make sure you are translating for Quebec French and not Parisian French.
The size of your nutritional panel is determined by the size of your package or rather, a portion of the total available labeling area of your package. What CFIA considers available area may not be the same as what you consider available space either. You’ll have to do measurements and then compare against the nutritional templates in the guidelines.
Well, here’s your list of must haves:
Nutritional panel with daily values, ingredient deck, product weight in g/kg, servings or quantity info, made by/made for company info, meat requires an establishment no., food handling information for uncooked products, product of statement, UPC. You’ll also need a statement with your product image image if you enlarge the product or create a serving suggestion.
Nope. Sorry, each country has their own set of regulations. Canadian products need to be re-labelled for USA and vice versa.