Labelling Requirements for Honey Products

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Table of Contents

Overview

The labelling requirements of the Honey Regulations (HR) that are summarized in this section apply to pure honey (creamed or liquid) produced in federally registered establishments, as well as to imported honey. When sold in Canada, these honey products are also subject to the labelling requirements under the Food and Drugs Act (FDA) and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (CPLA).

Other honey products such as flavoured honey or honey destined for intraprovincial trade is subject to the labelling requirements under the FDA and the CPLA. These are summarized in the core labelling, claims and statements, and food-specific labelling requirement pages of the Industry Labelling Tool. Provincial regulations may also apply to products sold within that province.

The requirements detailed in the following sections are specific to honey products. They are in addition to the core labelling and other requirements that apply to all prepackaged foods.

Common Name – Honey Products

Prepackaged honey for the consumer and honey packed in bulk must declare the common name of the food, as outlined below. See the Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey and Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Packages and Bulk Containers of Honey for details on language, legibility and location of this declaration.

Honey Covered by the Honey Regulations

Acceptable common names include "honeydew honey", "Lavender honey", "Rubinia honey", "alfalfa honey", "Banksia menziesii honey", or the name "honey" either alone or accompanied by the name of the blossom (e.g. clover honey), whichever is applicable [35(1), 36(1), 47(1)(c)(i), 47(1)(d)(i), Schedule I Table IV, HR]. The composition standards for each of the variety honeys is found in Table IV, Schedule I of the Honey Regulations.

Honey and Honey Products Not Covered by the Honey Regulations

The common name for honey is prescribed in Sections B.18.025-B.18.027 of the Food and Drug Regulations. Products described as honey must meet these standards of identity.

If a honey is combined with another ingredient, such as a flavour, royal jelly, or other, the common name must describe how the product deviates from the standard (i.e. strawberry flavoured honey, honey with royal jelly, etc. ). For all other products, such as Royal Jelly, the common name must be descriptive of the product.

Refer to Common Name for more information.

Brand or Trade Name – Honey Products

The brand or trade name (if any) must be shown on the label of prepackaged honey for the consumer. See the Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey for details on language, legibility and location of this declaration [35(1)(b)(ii), 35(2), 35(3), HR].

List of Ingredients – Honey Products

For single ingredient foods such as pure honey, the common name of the product is considered to be the list of ingredients. For more information, refer to List of Ingredients.

Net Quantity Declaration – Honey Products

The net quantity of prepackaged honey for the consumer and honey packaged in bulk must be declared in metric units of weight (grams "g" or kilograms "kg") [35(1)(a)(IV), 36(1)(d), 36(1)(e)(I), 47(1)(c)(IV), 47(1)(d)(IV), HR].

For prepackaged honey for the consumer, the minimum type height for the numerical portion of the net quantity declaration is outlined in the table Type Height for Net Quantity, Grade and Colour Declarations. See the Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey and Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Packages and Bulk Containers of Honey for additional details on language, legibility and location of this declaration.

For more information, refer to Net Quantity.

For honey graded under the Honey Regulations, there are standard container sizes which are listed below.

Standard Container Sizes for Honey

The following standard container sizes are applicable for prepackaged honey for the consumer that has been graded according to the Honey Regulations or that is marketed by a registered establishment - any weight up to and including 150 g, 250 g, 375 g, 500 g, 750 g, 1 kg, 1.5 kg, 2 kg, 3 kg or 5 kg.

The standardized container sizes for honey packaged in bulk are 7 kg, 15 kg, 30 kg, or in containers larger than 30 kg that are a multiple of 1 kg [30(2), 47(1)(b), HR].

The Minister may authorize for experimental use the sale of honey packed in containers not set out in sections 29 and 30 [29(4), 31, HR].

Applications for an exemption should be made in writing, prior to any sale or importation of honey, to:

National Manager, Standards of Identity, Composition and Grades
Floor 6, Room 123
1400 Merivale Road, Tower 2
Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9

Identity and Principal Place of Business – Honey Products

Domestic – prepackaged honey for the consumer

For domestic honey covered by the Honey Regulations, the following must appear on any panel of the label other than a panel located on the bottom of the container [35(1)(b)(I), 47(2), HR; 13, CPLR]:

  • identity and principal place of business of the packer, or
  • the identity and principal place of business of the first dealer and the registration number of the packer.

Domestic – honey packaged in bulk

The following must be indicated on the container [36(1)(c), HR]:

  • identity, principal place of business, and registration number of the packer, or
  • the identity and principal place of business of the first dealer and the registration number of the packer.

Imported honey

For imported honey (both prepackaged for the consumer and packaged in bulk) covered by the Honey Regulations, the identity and principal place of business in full of the packer or importer must be indicated on the label [47(1)(c)(vi), 47(1)(d)(vi) HR].

See the Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey and Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Packages and Bulk Containers of Honey for details on language, legibility and location of the above declarations.

For honey and honey products not covered by the Honey Regulations, the identity and principal place of business must be shown as for all other prepackaged products. For more information refer to Identity and Principal Place of Business.

Country of Origin – Honey Products

For products not covered by the Honey Regulations, refer to Identity and Principal Place of Business for requirements related to imported foods.

For honey covered by the Honey Regulations, see the requirements indicated below:

Domestic Honey

Where honey produced in Canada is graded under the Honey Regulations, the container shall be marked with the words "Product of Canada" / "Produit du Canada" or "Canadian Honey" / "Miel canadien" [37(1), HR].

Imported Honey

Where imported honey is repacked (unblended) as prepackaged honey for the consumer and graded under the Honey Regulations, the containers shall be marked with the name of the country of origin preceded by the words "Product of".

The name of the country of origin preceded by the words "Product of" or "Produit de" on imported honey must be clearly marked on the label of prepackaged imported honey for the consumer and imported honey packaged in bulk [47(1)(c)(v), 47(1)(d)(v), HR].

Blend of Domestic and Imported Honey

Where imported honey is blended with Canadian honey and is graded under the Honey Regulations, the container must be marked with the words "A Blend of Canadian and (naming the source or sources) Honey" or "mélange de miel canadien et de miel (naming the source or sources)" or "A blend (naming the source or sources) Honey and Canadian Honey" or "mélange de miel (naming the source or sources) et de miel canadien". The sources must be named in descending order of their proportion [37(3), 52(1), HR].

See Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey and Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Packages and Bulk Containers of Honey for details on language, legibility and location of country of origin declarations.

Grade Designation for Honey Products

The grade or grade designation is required on the label of all honey (prepackaged honey for the consumer and honey packaged from bulk) that is subject to the Honey Regulations.

Honey to which the Honey Regulations apply, that is sound, wholesome and fit for human consumption but does not meet the requirements of Canada No. 1, Canada No. 2 or Canada No. 3 grade, shall be marked "substandard". Substandard grades are not permitted for imported products.

Grades (domestic product or repackaged imported product) or Grade designations are used in the following cases:

  • Where regulations require the grade designation to be declared on the label;
  • When the product has been manufactured, graded and repackaged in a registered establishment [5.1(a) & (b), HR]; or the product was imported and sold in its original container [47(1)(c)(ii), 47(1)(d)(ii), HR].

A grade declaration on a product for which a grade standard is prescribed cannot be used unless the honey establishment is registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Canadian Honey or repackaged and graded Imported Honey:

  • Canada No. 1
  • Canada No. 2
  • Canada No. 3
  • substandard / sous-régulière (see above)

Imported Honey in original containers

  • Grade No. 1 / Catégorie No. 1
  • Grade No. 2 / Catégorie No. 2
  • Grade No. 3 / Catégorie No. 3

[5.(1), 5.1(a) & (b), 7, 35(1)(a)(ii), 36(1)(b), 47(1)(c), 47(1)(d)(ii), Schedule 1, Table III, HR]

Note: Combining declarations of country of origin and grade is not permitted, e.g. "Product of / Produit du Canada No. 1" is not a permitted statement.

For prepackaged honey for the consumer, the grade or grade designation must appear in English and French on the principal display surface of the label, in a type height specified in the table Type Height for Net Quantity, Grade and Colour Declarations [35(1)(a)(ii), 47(1)(c), 47(2), 47(4), HR].

See the Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey and Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Packages and Bulk Containers of Honey for further details on language, legibility and location of grade declarations.

Colour Class Designation for Honey Products

The colour class designation is required immediately following the Grade designation on the label of all honey that is subject to the Honey Regulations. The colour class designation differs for prepackaged honey for the consumer and honey packaged in bulk – separate tables are included below.

Colour Class Designation for Prepackaged Honey for the Consumer
Class Designation on Honey Classifier Reading on Pfund Honey Grader
White not darker than White not more than 30 mm
Golden darker than White, but not darker than Golden more than 30 mm but not more than 50 mm
Amber darker than Golden, but not darker than Amber more than 50 mm but not more than 85 mm
Dark darker than Amber more than 85 mm

[35(1)(a)(ii), 47(1)(c)(ii), Schedule I, Table I, HR]

Colour class designations for prepackaged honey for the consumer must in the size specified in the table Type Height for Net Quantity, Grade and Colour Declarations.

Colour Class Designation for Honey Packed in Bulk Containers Consumer
Class Designation on Honey Classifier Reading on Pfund Honey Grader
Extra White not darker than Extra White not more than 13 mm
White darker than Extra White but not darker than White more than 13 mm but not more than 30 mm
Golden darker than White but not darker than Golden more than 30 mm but not more than 50 mm
Light Amber darker than Golden but not darker than Amber more than 50 mm but not more than 85 mm
Dark Amber darker than Amber but not darker than Dark more than 85 mm but not more than 114 mm
Dark darker than Dark more than 114 mm

[36(1)(b), 47(1)(d)(ii), Schedule I, Table II, HR]

See the Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey and Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Packages and Bulk Containers of Honey for further details on language, legibility and location of colour class declarations.

Type Height for Net Quantity, Grade and Colour Declarations

The table below applies to prepackaged honey for the consumer:
Column I
Area of Principal Display Surface
Column II
Minimum Height of Letters
In Inches
Column II
Minimum Height of Letters
In Millimetres
1. Not more than 5 in2 (32 cm2) 1/16 1.6
2. More than 5 in2 (32 cm2) but not more than 40 in2 (258 cm2) 3.2
3. More than 40 in2 (258 cm2) but not more than 100 in2 (645 cm2) ¼ 6.4
4. More than 100 in2 (645 cm2) but not more than 400 in2 (25.8 dm2) 9.5
5. More than 400 in2 (25.8 dm2) ½ 12.7

Other Required Markings

The labels of prepackaged honey for the consumer and honey packaged from bulk that is subject to the Honey Regulations must carry the following information, where applicable:

  • the word "liquid" (liquide)
  • the word "creamed" (en crème) or any other word indicating that the contents are granulated
  • the word "pasteurized" (pasteurisé) (Domestic only) if treated in a registered pasteurizing establishment
  • the word "pressed" (de presse)

[35(1)(a)(v), 47(1)(c)(vii), HR [36(1)(g), 47(1)(d)(vii), HR]

See the Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey and Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Packages and Bulk Containers of Honey for details on language, legibility and location of these markings.

Number of Containers within Bulk Container

The number of containers within a bulk container of honey must be indicated on the label [36(1)(d), 47(1)(d)(iv), HR].

Lot Number

A lot number is required on domestic honey subject to the Honey Regulations that is packed in a bulk container. This information must appear with a minimum type size height of 9.5 mm on at least one end or side of the container [36(1)(f), HR].

Exemptions for Products for Export

Section 54 of the Honey Regulations permits the exportation of honey which does not meet the provisions of the Regulations if [54, HR]:

  • the registration number of the establishment in which the honey was packed is marked on the label of the container;
  • the lot number of the code of the shipment is marked on the label or embossed on the container;
  • the markings on the label or the container do not misrepresent the quality, quantity, colour class, composition, characteristics, origin, safety or value of the honey;
  • the shipper provides to the inspector a signed statement certifying that the container and labelling meet the requirements of the importing country; and if
  • the signed statement is included in the export documentation.

Exemptions for Interprovincial Trade

Section 54(2) of the Honey Regulations exempt honey, packed in bulk containers and marketed in interprovincial trade, from labelling and grade requirements if the following conditions are met [54.2(2), HR]:

  • the honey is packed in bulk containers;
  • the containers are labelled with the name and address of the producer or packer;
  • the honey is being conveyed to a registered establishment for the purpose of classification, grading, repacking or reprocessing.

The labelling requirements under the Food and Drugs Act and Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act continue to apply to these products.

Voluntary Claims and Statements

Manuka Honey

Some manuka honey is sold with statements such as: 15+ NPA (Non-Peroxide Activity), UMF 20+ (Unique Manuka Factor activity) or Bioactive 100+

The health claims presented on honey in this example when used on their own refer to antibacterial properties and are considered as implied health claims suggesting disease risk reduction benefit, and in some cases, as therapeutic claims. For more information, refer to Health Claims.

However, with accompanying information, certain claims may be acceptable. For example, the word bioactive 100+ in conjunction with a quantitative statement about methylglyoxal could be acceptable.

Quantitative Statements on Non-Nutrients

Quantitative statements on non-nutrients such as hydrogen peroxide are allowed on food labels or in advertising.

Refer to Quantitative Statements for additional information.

Raw Honey

Honey can be considered as "raw" when it has not undergone any treatment or process such as heat treatment (other than minimal heating used for the purpose of extraction) or filtering.

To avoid being misleading, specific information which clarifies the meaning of the term "raw" may accompany the claim, such as "unfiltered."

Label Example

Label for Honey

Label for Honey. Description follows.
Description for Label for Honey

A - Brand Name

A brand name is not required but frequently used by a manufacturer to identify its products distinctively from others of the same type. Brand names are subject to all labelling requirements, including compliance with provisions regarding claims.

B - Common Name

The common name is the name of the food printed in boldface type in the Food and Drug Regulations, the name prescribed by the Honey Regulations or by any other regulation, or the name by which the food is generally known. It must be present on the principal display panel in both English and French. Note: In the case of honey, the common name of the product is also considered to be the list of ingredients as it is a single ingredient food.

C - Grade

The grades or grade designation is used to classify honey. Grade designations differ for imported and domestic products. The grade or grade designation must appear on the principal display panel in both English and French.

D - Colour

Colour class designations are used to classify honey. The colour must be printed immediately following the grade designation on the principal display panel in both English and French.

E - Net Quantity

The net quantity is the amount of food in the package. It must be present in metric units of weight on the principal display panel in a minimum type height.

F - The Words Liquid, Creamed, Pressed or Pasteurized

The words liquid, creamed, pressed or pasteurized may be required under certain conditions. If applicable, the term must appear on the principal display panel in both English and French.

G – Identity and Principal Place of Business

The identity and principal place of business identifies the responsible party and provides the location where a company can be contacted. It must be declared on any part of the food container except the bottom, in either French or English.

H - Country of Origin

For imported honey, the country of origin is required on the label, preceded by the words "Product of". For domestic honey, the country of origin is required on the label declarations by declaring "Product of Canada" / "Produit du Canada" or "Canadian Honey" / "Miel canadien". The country of origin declaration must be immediately adjacent to the dealer identity and principal place of business in both English and French.

Where imported honey is blended with Canadian honey, the container shall be marked with the words "A Blend of Canadian and (naming the source or sources) Honey" or "mélange de miel canadien et de miel (naming the source or sources)" or "A Blend (naming the source or sources) Honey and Canadian Honey" or "mélange de miel (naming the source or sources) et de miel canadien". The sources shall be named in descending order of their proportions.

I - Nutrition Facts Table

The Nutrition Facts table (NFT) provides information about the nutrient content of a food (including energy (Calories) and 13 core nutrients) in a standardized format, allowing for comparison among foods at the point of purchase. The NFT must be displayed on the package in both English and French. The Simplified Standard Format may be used when seven or more items (i.e., the energy value and/or quantities of nutrients in the core information list) are permitted to be expressed as zero.

Reference Information

Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Prepackaged Honey

Import (47, HR)
Export (34, 53, HR) ~ Interprovincial: Section (53, 54.2, HR)
Requirements Type Height Location on Label Language References
(HR)

Common Name: "Honey"

"Honey" only or accompanied with the name of the blossom

1.6 mm principal display panel English and French 35(1)(a)(I), 35(2), 35(3), 47(1)(c)(I) 47(2), 47(4), Schedule I, Table IV;

mandatory

Net quantity: g or kg

Standard containers are prescribed for prepacked honey [29(2), HR]

any size up to and including 150g; 250g; 375g; 500g; 750g; 1kg; 1.5kg; 2kg; 3kg; 5kg;

The Minister may permit the sale of novelty containers of non-standard sizes or experimental use sizes.

minimum 1.6 mm
(Numeric portion – see Type Height for Net Quantity, Grade and Colour Declarations)
principal display panel English and French, unless bilingual symbols are used 29(2), 29(4) 31, 35(1)(a)(iv), 35(2), 35(3), 35(4), 47(1)(b), 47(1)(c)(IV), 47(2), 47(3), 47(4);

mandatory

Grade

Packed in Canada:
Canada no. 1; Canada no. 2; Canada no. 3; sous-régulière/substandard

If imported, the grade designation is as follows:
"Grade no. X" or "No. 1", "No. 2", "No. 3"

Note: There is no "substandard" grade designation for imported products.

minimum 1.6 mm
(see Type Height for Net Quantity, Grade and Colour Declarations)
principal display panel English and French 5(1), 7, 35(1)(a)(ii), 35(2), 35(3), 47(1)(c)(ii), 47(2), 47(4), Schedule I, Table III;

mandatory

Colour
- white; golden; amber; dark

minimum 1.6 mm
(see Type Height for Net Quantity, Grade and Colour Declarations)
principal display panel English and French 35(1)(a)(ii), 35(2), 35(3), 47(1)(c)(ii) 47(2), 47(4), Schedule 1, Table I;

mandatory

Additional Requirements

"liquid" as applicable - Only if the honey has been heat-treated to avoid rapid crystallisation.

"creamed" as applicable - or any other word(s) indicating that the contents are granulated.

"Pressed" when applicable

"Pasteurized"/"Pasteurisé" - Only if the honey has been heat-treated by a registered pasteurizing plant so that the honey is free of viable sugar-tolerant yeasts. - Not applicable to prepackaged imported product

minimum 1.6 mm principal display panel English and French 35(1)(a)(v), 35(2), 35(3), 47(1)(c)(vii), 47(2), 47(4);

mandatory

Identity and Principal Place of Business

domestic product:
Name and address of the packer or Name and address of the first dealer and the registration number of the packer

imported product: Name and address of the packer or the importer

minimum 1.6 mm any surface except bottom English and French 35(1)(b)(i), 35(2), 35(3), 47(1)(c)(vi), 47(2), 47(4);

6(2), CPLR;

mandatory

Country of Origin

Canadian honey
"Product of Canada" or "Canadian honey"

Imported honey
"Product of …"

Blended from different countries
A blend of Canadian and … honey" or "A blend of … honey and Canadian honey"

minimum 1.6 mm any surface except bottom English and French 35(2), 37(1)(2)(3), 47(1)(c)(v), 47(2), 47(4), 52(1), 52(2);

mandatory

Brand or Trade-name

(product packaged in Canada)

minimum 1.6 mm any surface except bottom English and French 35(1)(b)(ii), 35(2), 35(3);

when applicable

Summary Table of Labelling Requirements for Packages and Bulk Containers of Honey

Import (47, HR)
Export (34, 53, HR) ~ Interprovincial (53, 54.2, HR)
Requirements Type Height Location on Label Language References
(HR, FDR)
Common Name: "Honey"

"Honey" only or accompanied with the name of the blossom

minimum 9.5 mm in distinctly legible block letters on at least one side or one end of the container English or French (domestic)

English and French (imported)

36(1)(a), 36(2), 47(1)(d)(i), 47(4), Schedule i, Table IV, HR;

B.01.012(11), FDR;

mandatory

Net Quantity in kg

standardized container sizes:
7kg; 15kg; 30kg or in containers larger than 30kg which are a multiple of 1kg

The Minister may authorize for experimental use containers

Number of containers therein - marked on shipping containers containing prepackaged product (domestic)

minimum 9.5 mm in distinctly legible block letters on at least one side or one end of the container English or French (domestic)

English and French unless bilingual symbols used (imported)

30(2), 31, 36(1)(d), 36(1)(e.1), 36(2) 47(1)(b), 47(1)(d)(IV), 47(4), HR;

B.01.012(11), FDR;

mandatory

Grade

Packed in Canada:
Canada no. 1; Canada no. 2; Canada no. 3; substandard

If imported, the grade designation is as follows:
"Grade no. X" or "No. 1", "No. 2" , "No. 3"
There is no "substandard" grade designation for imported products

minimum 9.5 mm in distinctly legible block letters on at least one side or one end of the container

English or French (domestic)

English and French (imported)

5(1), 7, 36(1)(b), 36(2), 47(1)(d), 47(1)(d)(ii), 47(4), Schedule i Table III, HR;

B.01.012(11), FDR;

mandatory

Colour

extra white; white; golden; light amber; dark amber; dark

minimum 9.5 mm in distinctly legible block letters on at least one side or one end of the container English or French (domestic)

English and French (imported)

36(1)(b), 36(2), 47(1)(d), 47(1)(d)(ii), 47(4), Schedule 1, Table ii, HR;

B.01.012(11), FDR;

mandatory

Other Requirements:

"liquid" as applicable - Only if the honey has been heat-treated to avoid rapid crystallisation.

"creamed" as applicable - or any other word(s) indicating that the contents are granulated.

"pressed" when applicable

"pasteurized" - Only if the honey has been heat-treated by a registered pasteurizing plant so that the honey is free of viable sugar-tolerant yeasts. (Domestic product only)

minimum 9.5 mm in distinctly legible block letters on at least one side or one end of the container English or French (domestic)

English and French (imported)

36(1)(g), 47(1)(d)(viii), 47(4), HR;

B.01.012(11), FDR;

mandatory

Lot Number (product packed in Canada) minimum 9.5 mm in distinctly legible block letters on at least one side or one end of the container n/a 36(1)(f), 36(2), HR; mandatory
Identity and Principal Place of Business

Domestic Product:
Name, address and registration number of the packer
or
Name and address of the first dealer and the registration number of the packer

Imported Product:
Name and address of the packer or the importer

minimum 9.5 mm in distinctly legible block letters on at least one side or one end of the box

English or French (domestic)

English and French (imported)

36(1)(c), 36(2), 47(1)(d), 47(1)(d)(vi), 47(4), HR;

B.01.012(11), FDR;

mandatory

Country of Origin

Canadian honey
"Product of Canada" or "Canadian honey"

Imported honey
"Product of …"

Blended from different countries
"A blend of Canadian and … honey" or "A blend of … honey and Canadian honey"

minimum 9.5 mm in distinctly legible block letters (for imported) on at least one side or one end of the container English or French (domestic)

English and French (imported)

37(1)(2)(3), 47(1)(d)(v), 52(1), 52(2), HR;

B.01.005, FDR;

mandatory

Definitions

Bulk Container

A container that has a weight capacity of more than 5 kg [2, HR].

Grade

A grade established for honey pursuant to Part I [2, HR].

Grade Designation

"No. 1", "No. 2", or "No. 3" [2, HR].

Lot

A uniform blend of honey in a batch or in a storage tank from which honey is drawn for processing or grading [2, HR].

Liquid Honey

Extracted honey that has been treated to make it completely liquid and is packed in a container marked "liquid" [2, HR].

Package

Any box, carton, crate or case, or any outer covering or wrapper, in which prepackaged honey or bulk containers of honey are packed [2, HR].

Pasteurized

In relation to honey, means treated in a registered pasteurizing establishment by the controlled application of heat so that the honey is free of viable sugar-tolerant yeasts [2, HR].

Prepackaged Honey

Extracted honey that is packaged in a container in such a manner that it is ordinarily sold to or used or purchased by a consumer without being repackaged [2, HR].

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