Federally Registered Establishment

What are the relevant laws that I should be aware of?

  1. The following federal legislation:
    • Food and Drugs Act
      • Food and Drug Regulations
    • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act
      • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations
    • Canada Agricultural Products Act and:
      • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations
      • Organic Products Regulations, 2009
  2. The following provincial legislation:
    • Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001
      • Ontario Regulation 119/11 - Produce, Honey and Maple Products
    • Health Protection and Promotion Act
      • Regulation 562 - Food Premises
  3. Local municipal by-laws

What are the requirements that I need to know about?

"Federally registered establishment" refers to an establishment that is registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in accordance with the Canada Agricultural Products Act and its regulations. Where an establishment meets the conditions for registration set out in the regulations and pays the applicable fee, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will assign the establishment a registration number and issue the operator of the establishment a certificate of registration.

The following requirements apply to fresh produce that is grown and marketed in Ontario by a federally registered establishment. This tool does not include requirements that apply to fresh produce that is brought into Ontario by a federally registered establishment either by import or through interprovincial trade, repacked and sold in Ontario. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of and comply with all legal requirements (federal, provincial or municipal) that apply to your situation. If you have questions about registering or operating a federally registered establishment, contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for more information.

Federal

Regulatory Oversight - Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the:

  • Food and Drugs Act,
    • Food and Drug Regulations
  • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act
    • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations
  • Canada Agricultural Products Act
    • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations
    • Organic Products Regulations, 2009

and the only government organization that can issue a food recall.

  • Food and Drugs Act
    All food sold in Canada must meet the requirements in the Food and Drugs Act regardless of where the food is produced or sold. The Act covers food, drugs, cosmetics and therapeutic devices. Sections 3 to 7 of the Act set out the key requirements related to food and address the following topics: advertising (Section 3), food safety (Section 4), misrepresentation (Section 5), standards (Section 6) and sanitation (Section 7).
  • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act
    The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act sets out a scheme for labelling and packaging of prepackaged products. Under the Act, a prepackaged product means "any product 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 re-packaged".

    Where you sell fresh produce that meets the definition of a prepackaged product, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act will apply. Key sections to note include: application of the Act (Section 3), labelling (Sections 4 and 10), advertising (Section 5), packaging (Section 11) and misrepresentation (Section 7).

    • Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations
      Fresh produce that meets the definition of a prepackaged product will also be subject to the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations. Note that under these regulations, certain fresh fruits or vegetables may be exempt from certain parts of the Act. In particular, see Section 4 and Section 32.
  • Canada Agricultural Products Act
    The Canada Agricultural Products Act regulates agricultural products including fresh produce that are marketed in import, export and interprovincial trade. The Act provides for national standards and grades of agricultural products including standards and grades for specified fruits and vegetables under the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations. It also provides for inspection and grading of these products and registration requirements and standards for federally registered establishments.

More information on federal legislation and other resources e.g. the Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising can be found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

Provincial - Ontario

Regulatory Oversight - Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of

Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001

Ontario Regulation 119/11 Produce, Honey and Maple Products

  • Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001

The purposes of the Food Safety and Quality Act are to provide for:

      • the quality and safety of food, agricultural or aquatic commodities and agricultural inputs;
      • the management of food safety risks; and
      • the control and regulation of activities determined by the Act and its regulations such as the growing of fresh fruits and vegetables.
    • Ontario Regulation 119/11 Produce, Honey and Maple Products
      O. Reg. 119/11 covers food safety matters, grading, packaging, labelling, transporting, advertising and sale for fresh produce whether the produce is produced in Ontario or produced outside Ontario and imported into Ontario.

      In the regulation, produce means:

          • fruits and vegetables
          • sprouts
          • culinary herbs
          • in-shell nuts (including peanuts)
          • edible fungi

      Produce includes:

        • the above listed foods whether or not the produce is wrapped or packaged; and
        • the above listed foods where they are cut into pieces for the purpose of selling the pieces individually (e.g. ½ melon).

      The same rules apply whether the produce is grown conventionally or organically. Ontario does not have separate legislation to regulate organic produce.

      Produce that is produced in Ontario and packed at a place in Ontario that is a federally registered establishment; and/or produce that is imported into Ontario and repacked at a federally registered establishment is exempt from O. Reg. 119/11 (see section 2). Despite these exemptions, this produce is still subject to the advertising and retail display sign requirements in O. Reg. 119/11.

More detailed information, tools and resources can be found on the Foods of Plant Origin website.

Regulatory Oversight - Public Health Units
A Public Health Unit is an official health agency established by a group of municipalities to provide a community health program, carried out by full-time, specially qualified staff. Health units administer several health promotion and disease prevention programs including food premises inspection.

Each health unit is governed by a board of health, which is an autonomous corporation under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and is administered by the medical officer of health.

  • Health Protection and Promotion Act
    One of the purposes of the Health Protection and Promotion Act is to promote and protect the health of the people of Ontario. Section 17 of the Act prohibits any person from selling any food that is unfit for human consumption by reason of disease, adulteration, impurity or other cause.
    • Regulation 562 Food Premises

      Regulation 562 sets out requirements for the operation of a food premise and the safe handling of food. "Food premise" is defined broadly in the Act to mean a premises where food or milk is manufactured, processed, prepared, stored, handled, displayed, distributed, transported, sold, or offered for sale, but does not include a private residence.

      Regulation 562 contains specific requirements for building maintenance, equipment, food handling, maintenance and sanitation in relation to food premises. Farmers' market food vendors are excluded from the application of the regulation (Section. 2(1)(d)) and farms selling only their own farm products in the form of honey, maple syrup, or unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains are exempt from certain requirements under this regulation (Section 3(1) paragraph 4).

    More specific information can be obtained by contacting your local health unit or the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Municipal

Municipal governments are responsible for local services and each municipality has by-laws specific to the services offered within their area. Check with your municipality for specifics on by-laws that may affect the marketing of fresh produce in your area.

Do I need a permit or licence to market my fresh produce?

Federally registered establishments must meet requirements under the Canada Agricultural Products Act and its regulations. You can find out more information about registering or operating a federally registered establishment through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

Produce grown in Ontario may be marketed through a provincial marketing board or an association e.g. Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers or Ontario Tender Fruit Producers' Marketing Board. Marketing boards and associations represent producers in the coordination of marketing and selling commodities. Some marketing boards or associations may require a licence or fees to cover the cost of activities such as research and promotion. More information can be obtained through the marketing board or association for the applicable commodity.

A licence from OMAFRA is not required.

Some municipalities may have local by-laws for business permits. More information can be obtained from your municipality.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Suzete Moniz, Regulatory and Standards Coordinator/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 7 June 2013
Last Reviewed: 15 Mars 2016