Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

CPG Sec. 562.450 Identity of Foods - Use of Terms Such as Fresh, Frozen, Dried, Canned, Etc.


In TC-258, issued April 25, 1940a, we stated, "If the product is in fact frozen fillets, we believe the fact that the article is frozen should be stated on the wrapper, since the wrapped fillet may be sold to the consumer after thawing, when its physical condition no longer apprises the purchaser that it has been subject to a freezing process." We have consistently held to this view in advising inquirers about any food which might be thawed and sold as "fresh" food.

*In the past,* we have sanctioned the use of the term "frozen fresh" as applied to packaged frozen foods, provided they are actually fresh when frozen.

Generally, our standards of identity for foods prescribe names which include appropriate descriptive terms such as pasteurized, canned, frozen, or dried. We have insisted on the use of the term "canned" when it is obvious that the article is canned.

Certain packers of grapefruit juice have asked us to sanction use of the designation "grapefruit juice" without modifying terms, irrespective of whether the juice was pasteurized, canned, or otherwise processed. Investigation indicated that "canned" grapefruit juice, packed in glass, was being refrigerated and displayed under conditions which implied it was fresh. We advised the packers that to avoid deception, the name should include the word "canned" when the product was so packed, stored, and displayed (particularly if displayed under refrigeration) as to imply or suggest that it was fresh juice.

On the other hand, frozen foods packed in sealed metal cans like those used for similar articles so processed by heat as to prevent spoilage, unless adequately labeled, may be stored without proper refrigeration. We have received consumer complaints about foods which had spoiled because the label did not clearly state that they should be kept frozen.


The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that food labels bear the common or usual name of the food. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requires that a statement of identity appear prominently on the principal display panel. To avoid misrepresentation and provide information needed to assure proper storage, food labels should include in the name or statement of identity appropriate descriptive terms such as pasteurized, canned, frozen, or dried.

Fresh: The term fresh should not be applied to foods which have been subjected to any form of heat or chemical processing.

Frozen: Frozen foods should be prominently labeled as "frozen." This deters deceptive practices such as thawing frozen foods and offering them as "fresh." It also serves to "flag" goods as requiring freezer storage.

Frozen Fresh: Foods which were quickly frozen while still fresh may be labeled "frozen fresh" or "fresh frozen."

Canned: A food is considered "canned," if it has been hermetically sealed and so processed by heat as to prevent spoilage. Foods which are in metal containers of the types normally used for canning, and are stored and displayed under conditions which do not suggest or imply that the article is other than a canned food need not be labeled "canned." If packed in glass or plastic bottles or jars and stored or displayed under refrigeration which might cause consumers to believe it is fresh, the label designation should include the word "canned," or "pasteurized," as the case may be.

Dried or dehydrated: A food which is dried or dehydrated should be labeled with a designation which includes one of these words, unless the name is one like "raisins" which consumers recognize as indicating a dried product.

Freeze dried: A food which has been freeze dried may be designated as either "dried" or "freeze dried," though we believe "freeze dried" is more informative.

a Revoked: 5/20/69

*Material between asterisks is new or revised.*

Issued: 6/20/69
Revised: 10/1/80

Page Last Updated: 03/20/2015
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