Labelling Requirements for Fish and Fish Products
Shipping Containers and Institutional Packages

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Shipping Containers for Fish and Fish Products

Labels of shipping containers (master cartons) for fish and fish products containing labelled retail packages, require [6(2)(a), 26(1)(f), 31(1), FIR]:

  • the common name of the fish;
  • the identity of the establishment
  • day, month and year of processing; and
  • the harvest location for bivalve molluscs in the shell.

All mandatory information normally applied on consumer packages is required on shipping containers with bulk fish, or containing fish packages with no labels (for institutional use).

The master carton label information can be in either English or French, and net quantity expressed in either metric or imperial units.

Protective wrappings are normally associated with bulk packaging, or with products that cannot be transported without adversely affecting its quality e.g. blocks of shrimp. Where fish are held within a protective wrapping, inside a properly labelled shipping container, then these protective wrappings are not considered to be inner packages and do not require labelling.

For more information on the shipping container requirements of the Food and Drug Regulations, please refer to Shipping Containers.

Institutional Packages for Fish and Fish Products

The net weight on institutional packages can be expressed either in metric or Imperial units.

Declaration of an approximate portion size on institutional packages is considered non-mandatory information, and e.g. the statement "about 60 g/portion" is acceptable.

Imports into Canada

All imported products must meet Canadian labelling requirements, including code markings.

It is the importer's responsibility to ensure that code marking information is securely, legibly and clearly stated on one end of the master carton prior to export to Canada. The CFIA will not allow importers to add this information to containers after they arrive in Canada.

Exports from Canada

In the case of fish products exported outside Canada, the label must meet Canadian labelling requirements unless an exemption from the regulation(s) is applied for and granted by the Fish, Seafood and Production Division. The exemption may be granted if the exporter supplies the Division with appropriate documentation from the regulatory authorities of the importing country that the label is acceptable in their country. In cases where the Division is already aware of the requirements, the exporter need not acquire the noted documentation.

Master cartons containing containers of fish products with exempted labels must bear the statement "For export to (a name of the country)".

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