Durable Life Dating of Foods

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Fact Sheet - Date Labelling on Pre-packaged Foods

Section B.01.007 of the Food and Drugs Regulations deals with the durable life dating of food products. A summary of the requirements is provided below:

  1. All foods with a durable life of 90 days or less, when packaged at any level of trade other than retail, must be labelled with:
    1. a "best before" date, and
    2. storage instructions if the food requires storage conditions that differ from normal room temperature
  2. All foods with a durable life of 90 days or less, when packaged at retail, must be labelled with:
    1. the "packaged on" date, and
    2. the durable life of the food either on the label or on a poster next to the food

    Alternatively, no objection is currently being taken to the application of a "best before" date with proper storage instructions (as per item 1 above).

  3. Foods which bear a packaging date and are repackaged by a retailer must employ the original packaging date which was applied when the product was first packed or weighed.

A number of products are exempt from the above requirements, namely, prepackaged:

  1. fresh fruits and fresh vegetables,
  2. individual portions of food served by a restaurant or other commercial enterprise with meals or snacks,
  3. individual servings prepared by a commissary and sold by automatic vending machines or mobile canteens, and
  4. donuts

For your information:

"Durable life" means the period, commencing on the day on which a prepackaged product is packaged for retail sale, during which the product, when it is stored under conditions appropriate to that product, will retain, without any appreciable deterioration, its normal wholesomeness, palatability, nutritional value and any other qualities claimed for it by the manufacturer (B.01.001).

"Packaging date" means:

  1. the date on which a food is placed for the first time in a package in which it will be offered for sale to a consumer, or
  2. the date on which a prepackaged product is weighed by a retailer in a package in which it will be offered for sale for the first time to a consumer
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