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Food inspection, packaging, labels and transportation

If you are unsure whether a food item is safe, do not purchase it.

Carefully examine the items you put in your cart before you purchase them. Make sure that the packaging is intact and that it looks normal.

Containers or wrappers that come into direct contact with the food—in other words, the packaging—serve several purposes. They:

  • Provide additional protection against food contamination
  • Increase the storage life of food products
  • Limit loss related to torn packaging or deterioration of more fragile foods during transportation and handling 

Some retailers may choose to add additional packaging (overwrap) for aesthetic or logistical reasons.

Information on the packaging 

All prepackaged products must be labelled with the:

  • Product name and type
  • Expiry date or best before date
  • List of ingredients, in descending order by weight
  • Quantity
  • Product origin
  • Manufacturer name and address
  • Product state. For example, defrosted meat and seafood products must be labelled as “previously frozen.”  

Some labels may also include the packaging date, storage method, lot number and nutrition facts.

All of this information is useful when it comes to choosing food. Much of the information is also useful in the event of a food recall.


The labels of the products you purchase are also useful when one of your loved ones or guests has a food allergy.

Carefully review the list of ingredients. Learn more about allergens and the various terms used to refer to them (French only).

From store to home

Food should be kept at an appropriate temperature at all times. Here are some tips:

At the grocery store, put frozen or refrigerated foods in your cart last.  

Put cooked or ready-to-eat foods on top of raw foods.

If you expect that some time will pass before you return home, put perishable foods in a cooler with ice or ice packs. 


Frequently asked questions

  1. What happens if there is a difference between the price on the shelf and the price at the cash register?
    To know your rights, read the Office de la protection du consommateur’s Price Accuracy Policy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
  2. What are the codes printed on the top or bottom of cans for?  
    These codes help manufacturers distinguish between product lots. They provide a variety of information including production date, production line or factory, the source of the raw materials and the sterilization batch.

    They are essential for product recalls. 
  3. What is UHT milk?
    UHT (ultra-high temperature) means that the milk has been heated to a very high temperature to destroy disease-causing bacteria and their spores. This process prevents the milk from spoiling and allows it to be stored for longer.

    Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how and how long to store the product.

See also

Last update: March 26, 2024


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