Don’t launch your packaging without CFIA food labeling rules

Packaging design CFIA and FDA Labeling Rules

Imagine you are a product manufacturer or a business owner scouting for a competent packaging designer. You’ve developed a new product and it’s time to make a splash in the market. You’ve worked hard to perfect your product and now, you need to wrap it up in an appealing and suitable package. But here’s the catch – it’s not just about creating an attractive package, it’s about a package that complies with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA guidelines. This isn’t just a matter of ticking off a regulatory box – it’s about ensuring the safety and legality of your product, while also effectively communicating key information to your consumers.

Understanding and following the CFIA guidelines can seem like a daunting task. However, they are designed to ensure the integrity of food products in the market and protect consumers. This is why it is paramount to design packaging that adheres to these rules. And one of the critical aspects these guidelines emphasize is the ‘Common Name’.

The ‘Common Name’ is the name that is most commonly used to identify the food. It’s not about creating a catchy brand name or slogan but about correctly identifying the product in clear, readable, and consumer-friendly language. The rules surrounding ‘Common Name’ are quite specific and must be meticulously followed.

The 'Common Name' and its Importance

The labels in a grocery store on packaging are CFIA compliant

Ensuring Compliance with CFIA Guidelines:

  • Check if a common name is on your packaging; it’s mandatory for most food products and should accurately describe the product.
  • Missing a common name can lead to compliance issues, confusion for consumers, and potential health risks.
  • Some products are exempt, mainly if widely recognized by their brand name or trademark; verify with CFIA or a legal expert.
  • Position the common name on the ‘Principal Display Panel’ (PDP) as per CFIA guidelines for easy visibility and informed consumer decisions, avoiding confusion and potential violations.

Meeting the Minimum Letter Size Requirements

CFIA guidelines also specify the minimum letter size for the common name displayed on the packaging. This is to ensure that the common name is clearly visible and readable to consumers. The general rule is that the common name must be in letters of 1.6 mm or greater. However, if the area of the Principal Display Surface (PDS) is 10 cm2 (1.55 inches2) or less, the common name should be displayed in characters with a minimum type height of 0.8 mm (1/32 inch).

These precise guidelines may seem overly meticulous, but they are designed with the consumer’s best interests at heart. They ensure that essential product information is not only present but also easily readable for all consumers, regardless of their visual capabilities.

Remember, designing product packaging is not just an exercise in creativity. It is also about responsibility – towards your consumers, your brand, and the regulatory authorities. By ensuring that your packaging complies with CFIA guidelines on common names, you are taking a significant step towards creating a product that is attractive, trustworthy, and legally compliant.

Key Points:

  • Minimum letter size ensures common name visibility and readability for consumers.
  • General rule: common name must be in letters of 1.6 mm or greater.
  • Exception for smaller packaging: common name should be at least 0.8 mm in type height for areas 10 cm2 or less.
  • These guidelines prioritize consumer information accessibility regardless of visual capabilities.
  • Compliance with CFIA guidelines is essential for responsible packaging design, ensuring trustworthiness, attractiveness, and legal compliance.

Designing Responsibly

Designing packaging that adheres to CFIA guidelines, particularly regarding the ‘common name’ requirement, is an essential aspect of product development. It is not just about regulatory compliance but also about ensuring consumer safety and making information readily accessible. So, as you work on your packaging design, keep these guidelines in mind. They may seem complex, but they are the guiding stars that will lead you to design a packaging that’s not just visually appealing but also consumer-friendly and legally sound.

And if you’re hiring a packaging designer or team, make sure they are well-versed in these guidelines. Their knowledge and understanding of these rules will be a crucial factor in the success of your product in the market. After all, good packaging design is not just about aesthetics – it’s about communication, safety, and compliance.

So, let’s design responsibly, and remember – it’s all in the name!

I’m Elwira Wozniak, the owner and founder of Wozcreative. I work closely with small to medium-sized businesses, guiding them through the journey of branding, packaging, website design, and print collateral. With over 16 years of running my business and a total of over 20 years of experience, I offer personalized attention, creative freedom, and cost-effective solutions. I believe in direct communication, attention to detail, and building long-term relationships with my clients. If you have a project in mind or need assistance in freeing up some time, I’d love to hear from you!

: : : : : : :

Other Blog Posts