Foods of Plant Origin
Frequently Asked Questions (For non-federally registered Ontario operations)

Ontario Regulation 119/11 (Produce, Honey and Maple Products):

  1. What is Ontario Regulation 119/11 (Produce, Honey and Maple Products)?
  2. Does O. Reg. 119/11 apply to federally registered establishments?
  3. Which products are covered by the regulation?
  4. What products are not covered by the regulation?
  5. Do I require a licence to operate a roadside stand to sell fresh fruits or vegetables, honey or maple products?
  6. Labels:

  7. What is the minimum font size for mandatory information on product labels?
  8. Do product labels need to be bilingual?
  9. Produce:

  10. What produce is not covered by the regulation?
  11. Are processed and minimally processed fruit or vegetable products covered under O. Reg. 119/11?
  12. What information is required on retail display signs for produce?
  13. What are the mandatory text or print size requirements for produce retail display signs?
  14. Can a bin contain fruit or vegetables from more than one country? If so, what should the retail sign indicate?
  15. Some products already bear the country of origin, grade, weight and variety on the label - why do we also need a retail display sign with the same information (e.g., clamshell packages)?
  16. Is produce offered for sale on discount counters or carts required to follow retail display sign requirements?
  17. Can Foodland Ontario symbols be used to indicate produce origin?
  18. Is the wording "Product of the Tropics" acceptable for retail display signage above products that cannot be grown in Canada, such as bananas or mangoes?
  19. Can country of origin labelling reflect the country where the produce was packaged?
  20. Are there advertising requirements in O. Reg. 119/11?
  21. Since Ontario no longer has grade standards for produce can producers use federal standards?
  22. Where a grade standard for a fruit or vegetable does not exist, does O. Reg. 119/11 still apply?
  23. Honey:

  24. Does the regulation apply to honey sold directly to consumers from the farm?
  25. What are the requirements regarding honey containers?
  26. What are the grade and class standards for honey?
  27. What information must be included on honey labels?
  28. Maple Products:

  29. What maple products are covered by O. Reg. 119/11?
  30. What are the requirements regarding maple product containers?
  31. What are the grade standards for maple syrup?
  32. What information must be included on the label?
  33. Misrepresentation:

  34. What does the regulation say about misrepresentation for produce, honey and maple products?
  35. Penalties:

  36. What are the fines for violations under the Regulation?

Ontario Regulation 119/11 (Produce, Honey and Maple Products):

1. What is Ontario Regulation 119/11 (Produce, Honey and Maple Products)?

Ontario Regulation (O. Reg.) 119/11 under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 outlines requirements for food safety, labelling, packing, transportation, and sale of produce, honey and maple products. The regulation also sets out requirements for advertising and retail display signs for produce regardless of its origin. False or misleading information for any product regulated by O. Reg. 119/11 is prohibited. The regulation also establishes grades and colour classifications for honey and maple syrup.

In addition to this regulation, all food produced in Canada falls under the Food and Drugs Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and their respective regulations. Both of these acts are administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

2. Does O. Reg. 119/11 apply to federally registered establishments?

"Federally registered" refers to an establishment that is registered with CFIA in accordance with the meaning of either the Honey Regulations, the Maple Products Regulations or the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations under the Canada Agricultural Products Act. A registration fee is required and a registration number and certificate is issued by CFIA. O. Reg. 119/11 does not apply to foods produced and packed by a federally registered establishment in Ontario.

3. Which products are covered by the regulation?

O. Reg. 119/11 applies to the following foods whether produced in Ontario or produced outside Ontario and imported into Ontario:

  • Any of the following produce that is grown or harvested for commercial purposes:
    • fruit and vegetables
    • sprouted seeds
    • culinary herbs
    • in-shell nuts and peanuts
    • whole edible fungi (e.g. mushrooms)
  • Honey, including comb honey
  • Maple products

when those foods are packed or repacked in Ontario in a non-federally registered establishment and are offered for sale in Ontario.

4. What products are not covered by the regulation?

The regulation does not apply to foods that are imported to Ontario from other jurisdictions in Canada or from another country if they are subject to the Canada Agricultural Products Act. The Regulation does not apply to:

  • produce that is grown or harvested for personal use, (e.g. home gardens, pick-your-own)
  • produce that is imported or is of a type not grown or harvested for commercial purposes in Canada (e.g. bananas)
  • produce that is grown for the sole purpose of producing seed
  • nuts that are not intended for human consumption.

The regulation does not apply to processed or minimally processed produce. Processed refers to produce that is canned or preserved. Minimally processed refers to produce that has been peeled, cut, sliced or shredded in order to prepare and package it for sale as ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook product.

However, O. Reg. 119/11 does apply to produce that is cut into pieces for the purpose of selling the pieces individually. For example, if watermelons or cantaloupes are cut in half to reduce portion size and wrapped (with no further processing), the regulation does apply.

5. Do I require a licence to operate a roadside stand to sell fresh fruits or vegetables, honey or maple products?

No, a licence from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is not required. However, some municipalities may have local by-laws that would apply. If you are selling value-added products, such as jams and preserves you should contact your municipal health unit for advice regarding regulations for the production of processed products.

Labels:

6. What is the minimum font size for mandatory information on product labels?

Print size requirements are not regulated under O. Reg. 119/11. These requirements are covered by the federal Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and its respective regulations.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) administers federal legislation. More information can be obtained from the CFIA website or by calling the CFIA at 1-800-667-2657.

7. Do product labels need to be bilingual?

Bilingual requirements are not regulated under O. Reg. 119/11. These requirements are covered by the federal Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and its regulations.

The CFIA administers federal legislation. More information can be obtained from the CFIA website or by calling the CFIA at 1-800-667-2657

Produce:

8. What produce is not covered by the regulation?

See question #3 above.

9. Is processed or minimally processed produce covered under O. Reg. 119/11?

The regulation does not apply to processed or minimally processed produce (see question 4 above)

10. What information is required on retail display signs for produce?

Signs must have the following information:

  • The country or province in which the produce was grown or harvested.
      1. If the produce is grown or harvested in a country other than Canada, use the words "Product of", "Produce of", "Grown in" or "Country of Origin" followed by the name of the country in which the produce was grown or harvested, or
      2. if the produce is grown or harvested in Canada, use the words "Product of", "Produce of", "Grown in" or "Country of Origin" or "Province of Origin" followed by the word "Canada" or the name of the province in which the produce was grown or harvested.
  • In the case of peppers, the word "sweet" or "hot" as appropriate.
  • If the produce is sold by weight, the price per unit of weight (in metric).

For more information on retail display sign requirements refer to Advertising and Retail Display Signs for Produce in Ontario or Retail Sign and Label Toolkit.

11. What are the mandatory text or print size requirements for produce retail display signs?

The text or print size on a retail display sign must be easy to read and sized in reasonable proportion to the sign.

12. Can a bin contain fruit or vegetables from more than one country? If so, what should the retail sign indicate?

A bin may contain fruit or vegetables from more than one country if the the countries of origin are clearly labelled. For example, if a bin contains one type of apple sourced from both Ontario and the United States, the retail display sign is required to indicate the apples are product of Ontario and the United States. Please see question 8 above for more details on the retail display sign requirements.

13. Some products already bear the country of origin, grade, weight and variety (e.g. labels on clamshell packaging).Why do we also need a retail display sign with the same information (e.g., clamshell packages)?

Retail signs provide consumers with easy to read information so that they can make informed purchasing choices.

Section 24 (1) of O. Reg. 119/11 requires that any produce for retail sale must have a display sign. Please see question 8 above for more details on the retail display sign requirements.

14. Is produce offered for sale on discount counters or carts required to follow retail display sign requirements?

Yes. Discounted produce offered for sale must comply with O. Reg. 119/11.

15. Can Foodland Ontario symbols be used to indicate produce origin?

No. Foodland Ontario symbols are not considered an acceptable replacement for the place of origin, but may be used in addition to proper retail display signage if the produce has agreed to terms required for use of the Foodland Ontario logo.

16. Is the wording "Product of the Tropics" acceptable for retail display signage above products that cannot be grown in Canada, such as bananas or mangoes?

Produce that cannot be grown in Canada, such as bananas or mangoes, is not regulated under O. Reg. 119/11. However, using "Product of the Tropics" on signs may contravene federal legislation.

Country of origin labelling requirements for commodities that cannot be grown in Canada are regulated by the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations under the Canada Agricultural Products Act. This legislation is administered by the CFIA. More information is available on CFIA's website.

17. Can country of origin labelling reflect the country where the produce was packaged?

Labels for produce covered by O. Reg. 119/11 must declare the country where the produce was grown or harvested, regardless of where it was packed into retail packages. The CFIA regulates produce that is imported or sold inter-provincially.

18. Are there advertising requirements in O. Reg. 119/11?

Yes, Section 23 of O. Reg. 119/11 requires produce advertising, either written or otherwise, to include the country or Canadian province in which the produce was grown or harvested.

  • If the produce is grown or harvested in a country other than Canada, use the words "Product of", "Produce of", "Grown in" or "Country of Origin" followed by the name of the country in which the produce was grown or harvested, or
  • if the produce is grown or harvested in Canada, use the words "Product of", "Produce of", "Grown in" or "Country of Origin" or "Province of Origin" followed by the word "Canada" or the name of the province in which the produce was grown or harvested.

Misleading claims of origin in an advertisement are prohibited. If the produce is packaged, the advertisement must declare the net quantity of the produce.

19. Since Ontario no longer has grade standards for produce, can producers use federal standards?

Yes, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations under the Canada Agricultural Products Act has 30 commodities where grade names and standards have been established. This legislation falls under the jurisdiction of CFIA. If a producer chooses to use a federal grade standard, he/she must ensure the commodity meets the standards set out in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations.

20. Where a grade standard for a fruit or vegetable does not exist, does O. Reg. 119/11 still apply?

Yes. Where no grade standards have been set for a particular fruit or vegetable (e.g. watermelons), all other requirements still apply as long as the fruit or vegetable can be grown or harvested for commercial purposes in Canada.

Honey:

21. Does the regulation apply to honey sold directly to consumers from the farm?

The regulation does not apply to honey sold by the producer if the honey was produced in the producer's apiary, sold from the producer's premises directly to the consumer and provided the containers of honey are labelled with:

  • the producer's name and full address, and
  • the word "honey/miel" or where applicable, "comb honey/miel en rayon".

22. What are the requirements regarding honey containers?

Honey, other than comb honey, must be packed in a 330 g container or any container size permitted for honey under the federal Honey Regulations of Canada Agricultural Products Act. The federal Honey Regulations permit consumer container sizes of any net 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.Consumer containers must be new and securely closed. All containers are required to be clean and sound.

Bulk containers for honey must have a weight capacity of more than 5 kg.

23. What are the grade and class standards for honey?

Honey (other than comb honey) must be sold by grade and colour class. There are three "Ontario" grade standards:

  • Ontario No. 1
  • Ontario No. 2
  • Ontario No. 3

The colour class standards for honey are:

  • White
  • Golden
  • Amber
  • Dark

24. What information must be included on honey labels?

Honey container labels must include the following information:

  • Name and full address of the packer or the person for whom the honey is packed
  • The word "honey/miel" or, where applicable, "comb honey/miel en rayon".
  • Place of origin if bulk honey is brought into Ontario and repackaged for sale within Ontario.
  • "Contains pollen cells" if comb honey contains pollen cells.

For containers more than 150 grams:

  • The grade and colour class on consumer containers.
  • The grade and colour class on bulk containers when sold or transported directly to a consumer or a retail outlet.
  • The net weight.

For containers 150 grams or less:

  • The grade, colour class or net weight are not required.

If honey is sold at retail from a dispenser, the dispenser is not required to display the net weight of the honey in the dispenser.

Honey container labels are not required to indicate floral source or indicate if the honey is pasteurized, creamed or liquid, but if:

  • the floral source of the honey is identified on the label, the honey must meet the composition requirements set out in the federal honey regulations; or
  • honey is identified as being pasteurized, creamed or liquid, it must meet the applicable grade requirements in the federal honey regulations.

Maple Products:

25. What maple products are covered by O. Reg. 119/11?

The regulation applies to maple syrup and all other maple products such as maple sugar and maple taffy.

26. What are the requirements regarding maple product containers?

  • Maple products can be packed in a suitable container of any size.
  • All containers must be clean and sound. Consumer containers must be new and securely closed.
  • All containers of maple syrup are to be filled to at least 90 per cent of their capacity.

27. What are the grade standards for maple syrup?

Ontario grade standards must be used by non-federally registered packers. There are two "Ontario" grade standards:

  • Until January 1, 2018, either Ontario No. 1 or Ontario Grade A. After January 1, 2018, only Ontario Grade A is permitted.
  • Ontario Processing Grade.

When either Ontario No. 1 or Ontario Grade A is indicated as the grade, that grade must be immediately followed by a colour classification. No colour classification is required or permitted when maple syrup is graded "Ontario Processing Grade".

The colour classifications associated with Ontario No. 1 are Extra Light, Light, Medium, Amber, and Dark. Those associated with Ontario Grade A include Golden, Amber, Dark and Very Dark. Optional taste descriptors have been added and may be used in addition to the colour classes associated with Ontario Grade A.

28. What information must be included on the label?

Labels of all containers of maple products must include the following information:

  • The name and full address of the packer or the person for whom the maple product is packed.
  • The name of the maple product.
  • The place of origin when bulk maple product is brought into Ontario and repackaged for sale within Ontario.

In addition, for containers larger than 125ml:

  • Consumer containers of maple syrup: the grade and colour class on the container.
  • Bulk containers of maple syrup: the grade and colour class on the bulk containers when sold or transported directly to a consumer or retail outlet.
  • For maple syrup, the net volume and for other maple products, the net weight.

Note that:

  • If maple syrup is sold at retail from a dispenser, the dispenser is not required to display the net volume of the syrup in the dispenser.
  • Maple syrup containers of 125ml or less are not required to be labelled with the grade, colour class or net volume. Application of a production lot code to each container of maple syrup becomes mandatory for Ontario's non-federally registered maple producers on January 1, 2018.

Misrepresentation:

29. What does the regulation say about misrepresentation for produce, honey and maple products?

O. Reg. 119/11 protects farmers, packers and consumers from misrepresentation, including misleading information on labels, packages, containers and advertising of produce, honey or maple products.

In particular, the regulation prohibits the misrepresentation of the:

  • name and full address of the packer or the person for whom the product was packed
  • place where produce was grown or harvested, honey or maple product was produced
  • amount of produce, honey or maple product contained in a package or container
  • grade of potatoes or grade or colour class of honey or maple products

Any words, pictures or designs on containers of honey or maple product substitutes that may lead a consumer to confuse the substitutes as pure honey or pure maple product are prohibited. A maple product substitute containing at least 15 per cent maple product can have maple trees, maple leaves or a maple scene on the label, subject to other labelling requirements.

Persons packing substitutes are prohibited from using container shapes that give the impression that the contents of the container are of a pure honey or maple product.

There are no restrictions on where retailers may display honey or maple product substitutes.

Penalties:

30. What are the fines for violations under the Regulation?

Under the Provincial Offences Act, the maximum fine levels for non-food safety non-compliance are $500. Below are some examples of fines for offences under O. Reg. 119/11:

Misrepresentation of origin of products, or misrepresentation of honey or maple syrup substitutes as honey or maple syrup: $500

Violations that have the potential to be a human health risk (e.g. packing honey or maple products in consumer-sized containers that are not new, clean, sound or securely closed): depending upon the seriousness of the risk, fines range from $150 to $400

Violations of container size standards and labelling requirements for produce, honey and maple products: $150 to $325

Failure to comply with advertisement and retail display sign requirements that allow informed purchase decisions: $150 to $325.

Where progressive compliance tools (e.g. compliance orders, product detention, product seizure, etc.) have failed to achieve compliance to the food safety requirements of O. Reg. 119/11, producer files may be turned over to the Ministry's Regulatory Compliance Unit. Section 46 of the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 provides for penalties of up to $25,000 per day for the first offence for individuals. In addition to monetary penalties, there are also provisions for up to two years imprisonment.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 29 March 2012
Last Reviewed: 09 November 2016