Marketing Foods of Plant Origin in Ontario: A Guide to Legislative Requirements

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is committed to fostering and promoting a healthy, safe, and successful food sector.

Marketing foods of plant origin that are grown in Ontario is a regulated activity. This means that when you prepare, advertise, distribute, transport, purchase, sell or offer for sale (whether for profit or not) or otherwise make these foods available for consumption or use by consumers, either directly or indirectly, you must do so in accordance with certain legal requirements. These requirements are set by federal, provincial and municipal governments.

OMAFRA has developed a tool to help you find the legal requirements you need to know to market your foods of plant origin that are grown in Ontario. Links to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are provided so you can access information regarding federal requirements for imported foods of plant origin.

The requirements identified in this tool will apply to foods of plant origin regardless of whether the foods are produced conventionally or organically. More information on organic production and organic certification can be found on the OMAFRA website as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

This tool is a guide only. Links to applicable requirements have been provided for your information and review. Given the broad scope of the requirements, the variety of foods of plant origin grown in Ontario and the variety of roles in marketing those foods, it is not possible for OMAFRA to provide information about every requirement that may apply to your particular situation. 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.

For more information or to comment on this tool please contact: Foods of Plant Origin Program


The information in this tool is provided as a public service. Although we try to ensure that the information is as current, accurate and complete as possible, errors do occasionally occur. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information. Readers should verify the information before acting on it. Although the information has been carefully prepared, the Ministry does not accept any legal responsibility for the contents or for any consequences, including direct or indirect liability, arising from its use.

There may be websites linked to and from this site that are operated or created by or for organizations outside of the Government of Ontario. Those organizations are solely responsible for the operation and information (including the right to display such information) found on their websites. These linked websites may or may not be available in French. The Government of Ontario does not endorse or guarantee any of the organizations or information found on linked websites.

The Government of Ontario does not assume and is not responsible for any liability for the linking of any of these linked websites, the operation or content of any of the linked websites, or for any of the information, interpretation, comments or opinions expressed in any of the linked websites. Any inquiries regarding the linked websites should be directed to the organization for which the website is being operated.

What do we mean by Foods of Plant Origin?

In this tool, "foods of plant origin" means:

  • produce (fruit and vegetables, sprouts, culinary herbs, nuts, edible fungi) that is fresh, minimally processed or processed;
  • honey; and
  • maple products.

Which foods of plant origin are you interested in marketing?

  • Fresh Produce

    Fresh produce means produce (which includes fruit and vegetables, sprouts, culinary herbs, in-shell nuts (including peanuts) and edible fungi whether or not the produce is wrapped or packaged. Fresh produce includes any of the produce listed above that are cut into pieces for the purpose of selling the pieces individually (e.g. ½ melon), but does not include any produce that is:

    • minimally processed (see below);
    • processed (see below); or
    • used in the manufacture of other foods (e.g. blueberry muffins, pies).
  • Minimally Processed Produce (This section is under development)
    Minimally processed produce means produce that is peeled, cut, sliced or shredded in order to prepare and package it for sale as ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook (e.g. package of sliced mushrooms, package of ready-to-eat baby carrots, fruit tray)
  • Processed Produce (This section is under development)
    Processed produce means produce that is canned, cooked, frozen, concentrated, pickled or otherwise prepared to preserve it in transport, distribution and storage (e.g. jam, frozen fruit, canned vegetables). It does not include the final cooking or preparation of the produce. Processed produce can be used as a meal (e.g. frozen stew) or part of a meal (e.g. canned corn, canned peas, frozen vegetables).
  • Maple Products (This section is under development)
    Maple product means any product, including maple syrup, maple sugar and maple taffy, that is obtained exclusively from the concentration of maple sap or, in the case of maple syrup, by the dilution of other maple products in potable water.
  • Honey (This section is under development)
    Honey means the food derived from the nectar of blossoms or from secretions of or on the living parts of plants by the work of honey bees, and includes comb honey.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: Suzete Moniz, Regulatory and Standards Coordinator/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 7 June 2013
Last Reviewed: 4 June 2015