AQIS Meat Notice 1988/14 - New Canadian Meat Labelling, Stamping And Documentation Requirements

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Date of effect

4 November 1988

Date of expiry

Until further notice

Contact officer

Piang Loh, Labelling Sub–Section AQIS Phone:(06)2725512

Other data

  • NFS:16
  • CO File No:T88/1182
  • Central & Regional Office Last Notice 88/13
  • OIC Inspection Staff
  • Meat Establishments Last Notice 88/13
  • Meat Inspection Staff Last Notice 88/12
  • Managers, Export Meat
  • Establishments Last Notice 88/12
  • Licensed Meat Exporters Last Notice 88/12
  • Managers, ExportSlaughtering Establishments Last Notice 88/13


This Notice consolidates the information conveyed by DPIE interim circular dated 18.8.1988 entitled "New Agriculture Canada Meat Labelling/Stamping Requirements", with further new Canadian requirements relating to:

  • Canned meat labelling
  • Lot identification/shipping marks



The new requirements advised in the 18.8.1988 interim circular and the further new requirements contained in this Notice are the result of an effort being made by Agriculture Canada to increase uniformity and efficiency in the Canadian meat import control system.

New Canadian requirements

  1. Change of Label Approval Procedure

    Prior Agriculture Canada label approval (through Form AGRl419)

    1. Now not required for
      • shipping carton/stockinette

        exporter responsible for complying with Canadian labelling requirements (as well as Australian labelling requirements)

      Note: Use of existing prior–approved labels is still permitted although the Agriculture Canada label approval number need not be shown on the ‘Notice of Intention to Export" (Form EX28) and health certificate.

    2. Still required for
      • Immediate inner retail pack label or immediate bulk shipping carton label for prepared/processed meat products (hamburger patties, cooked meat etc)
      • Immediate inner retail pack label for chilled/frozen unprocessed product (primal cuts offal, etc).
  2. Stamping of Meat

    There are 2 options now permitted for the non–stamping of meat (trimmings, manufacturing meat or cuts):

    1. Stamping now not required for product in DPIE–sealed (one–seal) container system unit intended for further processing in Canadian registered establishments
      • product description on "Notice of Intention to Export" and health certificate must be preceded by the word "UNMARKED" (e.g., "UNMARKED BONELESS BEEF‘)
    2. Stamping now not required for product in tamper–evident sealed shipping cartons validated by the "AI" stamp.
      • Note 1: This option is not available until the Australian export meat industry has adopted (and accepted by Agriculture Canada) a single uniform tamper–evident system for Australia. The relevant industry organisations are pursuing this matter and the outcome will be the subject of a further AQIS Notice.
      • Note 2: Regardless of the tamper–evident system eventually adopted, this option may not be available for product destined for the province of Quebec – this is importer‘s and exporter’s responsibility.
      • The above 2 options are in addition to the following existing 2 options for stamping the meat:
    3. Where cartons are not tamper–evident sealed
      • all trimmings and manufacturing meat must be block–stamped, i.e., at least one impression of the "AI" stamp must be visible on opening of the shipping carton
      • all cuts must carry a legible impression of the "AI" stamp (unless as in (iv) below – sealed bags)
    4. Cuts in fully labelled (this includes the "AI" stamp) sealed bags not intended for retail sale may be stamped or unstamped (no Agriculture Canada prior label approval needed)
      • must be packed in fully labelled/stamped shipping carton (no Agriculture Canada prior–label approval needed)
        • Tamper–evident sealing not required.
  3. Information on Export Documents

    Both "Notice of Intention to Export" and health certificate must have

    • Agriculture Canada label approval number immediately following the product description when option (ii) of A above is used
    • Product description preceded by the word "UNMARKED" when option (i) of B above is used.
  4. Canadian Refrigerated Meat Labelling Requirements for Shipping Cartons/Stockinettes

    In the case of shipping cartons the required information is to be shown on the "main panel", which is the single un–split top, side or end panel that has all the information (including the "AI" stamp) required by Agriculture Canada:

    1. Product name, pre–printed, stencilled, stamped or applied by pressure–sensitive self–destructing label, consisting of
      • In–clear generic name, e.g. "Boneless Beef”,” Bone–In Lamb", etc
      • to meet Australian end panel requirements, the cut or item cipher must be included

      In–clear generic and cut or item name, e.g. "Boneless Beef Sirloin Tip", "Lamb Liver", etc

      • Only AUS–MEAT approved cut or item descriptions and ciphers to be used.
    2. "PRODUCT OF AUSTRALIA" in close proximity to product name.
    3. NET WEIGHT STATEMENT with lower case letters for unit symbols, e.g. "kg", "lb", with no full stops
      • –. Weight numeral may be handwritten.
    4. "KEEP REFRIGERATED" or "KEEP FROZEN" as appropriate.
      • – EXPORTER or IMPORTER with either preceded by "PREPARED FOR".
      • Multi–establishment firms may show head office address as registered with AQIS.
    6. "AI" STAMP.
      • Note 1: Because of the need to comply with Australian end panel labelling requirements as well, AQIS strongly recommends that the Canadian "main panel" be the end panel to avoid confusion.
      • Note 2: A tick–off/check–box system is permitted for the product name and the refrigeration statement.
  5. Canadian Canned Meat Labelling Requirements

    As noted in A (ii) above canned meat labels are still subject to Agriculture Canada prior approval. The following new requirements must also be complied with for all canned meat arriving in Canada from 1 January 1989.

    1. In the case of canned meat with lithographed labels where
      1. a) The country and the establishment number appear on the label
        • The code for production date must be permanently marked on the body of the can;
      2. b) The country appears on the label but the establishment number does not also appear on the label
        • The establishment number and the code for production date must be permanently marked on the body of the can.
    2. In the case of canned meat with removable labels, the following information must be permanently marked on the body of the can
      1. (a) "AUSTRALIA" or "AUS"
      2. (b) The establishment number
      3. (c) The code for production date
      4. (d) The type of product.

        Note: the type of product may be shown in code, and individual canner’s in–house codes for both type of product and production date may be used.

  6. Lot Identification/Shipping Marks

    For unique identification of shipments, product for Canada shall carry lot identification/shipping marks as follows:

    1. The marks to consist of no more than 12 numeric or alpha–numeric characters
      • In the case of shipping cartons, the marks to be shown on the end panel
    2. The marks to be recorded on the relevant "Notice of
      Intention to Export" and the health certificate
    3. The exporter to ensure that the marks are not repeated for other shipments within 12 months
    4. The exporter to ensure that, if the lot identification/shipping mark is used for the same order packed by more than one establishment, a sub–mark (numeric or alphabetic) is incorporated to reflect the different establishment of origin.

Implementation date

Implementation date will be 1 January 1989 in that health certificates for Canada issued as of that date will be in a new format and must show markings of this new system.

To ensure compliance as of that date, it is strongly recommended that exporters mark their shipping cartons/stockinettes accordingly as soon as possible prior to 1 January 1989.

AQIS inspection

AQIS inspection for compliance with the labelling, documentation and stamping requirements as set out in this Notice are now subject to the ancillary operations inspection, meat transfer (including load–out/load–in) procedures and "Notice of Intention to Export" requirements specified in the Australian Export Meat Manual, Volume 3.

In carrying out such inspection, inspection staff shall assess compliance using, as appropriate, the required Agriculture Canada prior–approved labels (see A above), and/or referring to the requirements set out in this Notice. (Inspection staff shall at the same time ensure relevant Australian requirements are also complied with.)

JF Landos
A/g Deputy Director
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service