Is the use of PLU labels a Canadian regulatory requirement?

No, PLU (Price Look-up) is a voluntary labelling system for bulk fresh fruits and vegetables. There are no Canadian federal regulations specific to PLU stickers or what constitutes one. No regulatory body requires a PLU sticker on loose/variable measure produce, but most medium to large retailers expect a PLU as part of their business model.

Note: Any information, on any product sold in Canada, must be truthful and not misleading ( Food and Drugs Act, section 5(1) and Safe Food for Canadians Act, section 6(1) ).

Do I need to include English & French on my PLU labels?

There are no language requirements for PLU labels at a Canadian federal level, but should your product be destined for the Quebec marketplace, it is expected to meet the French language legislation of that province. This means that all printed consumer product information must be in both official languages and that the French text be of at least the same prominence as the English (e.g. same font size, bolding or shading, etc.). Any information not exempted under the Quebec Charter of the French Language will require translation into French.

What information is exempt under the Quebec Charter of the French Language?

This language legislation (Division I, Exceptions to Section 51 of the Charter of the French Language, number 7) exempts only the following information on a product from translation into French:

  1. the firm name of a firm established exclusively outside Québec;
  2. name of origin, the denomination of an exotic product or foreign specialty, a heraldic motto or any other non-commercial motto;
  3. place name designating a place situated outside Québec or a place name in such other language as officialized by the Commission de toponymie du Québec, a family name, a given name or the name of a personality or character or a distinctive name of a cultural nature; and
  4. a recognized trade mark within the meaning of the Trade Marks Act (R.S.C. (1985). c. T-13), unless a French version has been registered.

Additional Information2015 CPMA Member Advisory re PLU Language

I would like to indicate on my label that the product is organic. Is this allowed?

Yes, but any information related to organic status of a fruit or vegetable included on a PLU for use in Canada, must satisfy Canadian requirements for organic produce marketed in Canada, as well as applicable provincial requirements. If the product is to enter the Quebec marketplace, the information must satisfy the Quebec organic regulations, as well as the language legislation referred to above. The approved certifying body for your organic product should be aware of legislation applicable to organic product sold in Canada.

For more information regarding organic PLU labelling, please visit FAQ: Organic PLU stickers on bulk fresh fruits and vegetables.

My product is a source of potassium – can I say this on my PLU label?

Any health or nutrient content claim on a PLU sticker must be permitted and accurate. See the CFIA Labelling for Industry tool for information on permitted health and nutrient content claims and conditions for their use.

Under Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations, there is an exemption for the requirement for any nutrition information on fresh fruits and vegetables when permitted health and nutrient content claims are made.

Do I need to include the country of origin on my PLU label?

There is no Canadian regulatory requirement to put country of origin information on a PLU label used on bulk unpackaged fresh fruits and vegetable products. In general, Canadian labeling regulations require a country of origin declaration (and other labeling in accordance with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations [SFCR] and Food and Drug Regulations [FDR]) on pre-packaged product and shipping containers, unless an exception exists. (See exceptions for fresh fruits and vegetables - SFCR 213,  SFCR 268 and 269).

Is it acceptable to add our company’s website on the PLU label?

This is a marketing decision each company makes, but be aware that the URL will be subject to same regulatory requirements as other printed information and claims (i.e. language and nutritional claims requirements noted above).

Where can I find additional information about PLUs and GS1 Data Bars?

Additional Sources of Information for both PLUs and GS1 DataBarTM are available at the following sites:

CPMA makes every effort to ensure that accurate information is provided but does not accept any responsibility for errors or omissions. Acts and regulations are evolutionary and this document will be updated should any changes occur which impact information included above.