Requirements for Craft Show / Distributor / Fundraiser / Off-Farm Stand / On-Farm Retail Store / On-Farm Stand / Retail Store / Wholesaler


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 key requirements that I need to know about?

The following requirements apply to fresh produce that is grown and marketed in Ontario at or through an on-farm stand, off-farm stand, on-farm retail store, retail store, or marketed through wholesale, distribution, fundraiser or craft show, fair or other similar event. 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.

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.
      • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations
        The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations made under the Canada Agricultural Proucts Act regulate grading, packing and marking of fresh fruit and vegetables used in import, export and interprovincial trade and include grades and standards for specified commodities.

        To enhance marketing opportunities, producers who are not federally registered may voluntarily choose to use the national grades and standards for the commodities listed in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations. In some circumstances, persons who buy fresh produce from producers may require that the producer comply with these national grades and standards as part of their agreement with the producer.

      • Organic Products Regulations, 2009
        The Organic Products Regulations, 2009 made under the Canada Agricultural Products Act contain requirements for organic certification and labelling.

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

    • 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 regulation applies to produce that:

        • can be grown or harvested for commercial purposes in Canada
        • is imported into Ontario and repacked at a non-federally registered establishment in Ontario
        • is grown conventionally or organically

        Certain produce is exempt or excluded from the regulation such as produce that:

        • is not commercially grown or harvested anywhere in Canada e.g. pineapple;
        • is imported in bulk into Ontario and repacked at a federally registered establishment in Ontario;
        • is imported prepackaged into Ontario according to federal requirements under the Canada Agricultural Products Act;
        • is grown or harvested for a person's own use or the use of their household;
        • is grown for the sole purpose of producing seed; or
        • are nuts not intended for human consumption.

        Note that despite the exemption for produce that is produced in Ontario and packed at a federally registered establishment and the exemption for produce that is imported into Ontario and repacked at a federally registered establishment, 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. Farms selling only their own farm products in the form of honey, maple syrup, or unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains may be 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?

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 the OMAFRA is not required for marketing fresh produce to or through an on-farm stand, off-farm stand, on-farm retail store, retail store, or through wholesale, distribution, fundraiser, or at a craft show, fair or other similar event. However, some municipalities may have local by-laws requiring 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/OMAF and MRA
Creation Date: 7 June 2013
Last Reviewed: 15 Mars 2016