To ensure product quality and safety, compliance with regulatory requirements and LCBO chemical and labelling standards, every product sold by the LCBO must undergo laboratory testing in accordance with the LCBO Quality Assurance protocols. 

New products are tested upon receipt and annually the LCBO will select samples for testing which, includes chemical analysis and label compliance reviews.

Other components embedded into LCBO's Quality Assurance programs include sensory analysis and packaging compliance reviews.  

The LCBO Quality Assurance Laboratory will conduct the chemical analysis and process a debit chargeback to the vendor. A Certificate of Analysis will be issued to the vendor after completion of the testing.

Vendors may supply their own Certificate of Analysis provided it is produced by an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory that is accredited in the analysis of alcoholic beverages for all the analyses required by the LCBO as per the LCBO Product Packaging Standards and Guidelines for Chemical Analysis.

The Certificate of Analysis should reference the laboratory's ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation, and the name of the laboratory's accreditation registrar. If this information is not on the certificate, it must accompany the certificate. The LCBO Quality Assurance Department will use this information to verify the laboratory's accreditation.

Chemical Analysis

The components of interest are primarily for regulatory purposes. The scope of analyses depends on the product type and may change from time to time; other tests may be added or removed as changes in regulatory and industry requirements occur. 

Summary by product types

Wine, Cider

Beer, Sake

Spirits (standardized)

Non-standardized Products

 

Wine, Cider

Alcohol/Ethanol
Free SO2
Total SO2
Sugars
Sorbic Acid
Volatile Acidity
Ethyl Carbamate
Arsenic
Lead
Copper (for Wine)
Pesticides*

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Beer, Sake

Alcohol/Ethanol
Ethyl Carbamate
Arsenic
Lead
Pesticides*
Caffeine (for products containing caffeine ingredients)

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Spirits (Standardized)

Alcohol/Ethanol
Sugars (for Liqueurs, Vodka, Fruit Spirit, Dry Gin)
Ethyl Carbamate
Arsenic
Lead
Synthetic Dyes** (for all coloured products)
Methanol

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Non-standardized Products

Alcohol/Ethanol
Total SO2 (for Coolers, RTD)
Sugars (for Coolers, RTD)
Sorbic Acid (for Coolers, RTD)
Ethyl Carbamate (for Dairy-based coolers)
Arsenic
Lead
Pesticides* (for Wine & beer-based coolers)
Synthetic Dyes** (for All coloured products)
Methanol (for Distillate based products)
Caffeine (for products containing caffeine ingredients)
Thujone (for products containing wormwood ingredients-absinthe)

Back to summary

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Footnote

* Pesticide Residues (standard panel): iprodione, carbaryl, myclobutanil, procymidone, azinphos-methyl (guthion), chlorpyrifos-methyl, diazinon, dichlofluanid,dichloran, dimethoate, fenarimol, imidan, methiocarb, parathion-ethyl, phosalone, triademefon, vinclozolin. Scope of pesticides may change from time to time.

** Synthetic Dyes (standard panel; permitted in Canada): Allura Red, Amaranth, Brilliant Blue, Erythrosine, Fast Green, Indigotine, Sunset Yellow, Tartrazine. Scope of the synthetic dyes may change from time to time.

 

Packaging & Labelling Compliance Review

The Quality Assurance department reviews cartons and consumer units to ensure they are compliant with Canadian regulations and LCBO standards.

Shipping Container Examinations: Cartons and trays are evaluated for structural design and integrity, as well as, printed case markings to ensure compliance with the LCBO Product Packaging Standards and Guidelines for Chemical Analysis and Canadian Association of Liquor Jurisdictions (CALJ) standards.

Burst Strength: Packaging materials are subjected to a Mullen test to ensure compliance with LCBO packaging standards..

Consumer Unit Label Reviews: Labels are reviewed to ensure compliance with federal and provincial label regulations, and LCBO requirements.

Corrective Actions

Products that are found not to comply with LCBO chemical analysis or sensory assessment, packaging/labelling, or CALJ Product Identification Standards for Use in the Distribution of Beverage requirements, at any time, will be treated by the LCBO in a manner appropriate to the type of defect or non-compliance, at the discretion of the LCBO but subject to the paramount consideration of public safety.

This may require one or more of the following actions:

  • - Warehouse stock will be placed on hold
  • - Retail stock may be withdrawn from sale
  • - Wholesale Customers may be advised to withdraw the affected stock from sale
  • - A public recall of the Product may have to be issued
  • - Corrective action may have to be taken to rectify the deficiency by the Supplier.

 

If it is determined that the Supplier is responsible for the defect, or non-compliance, the Supplier will be responsible for all costs to remove or dispose of the Product or to rectify the deficiency. These costs may include:

  • - Charges to correct packaging or labelling deficiencies
  • - Destruction of warehouse and/or store stock at Supplier's expense
  • - Return of warehouse stock to the Supplier at the Supplier's expense

 

LCBO Quality Service Fees

Corrective action service fees can be found in the LCBO Quality Service Fee Summary Schedule pdf below.

For any additional information on product testing or Quality Assurance programs, contact us at AskQA.

LCBO Quality Service Fee Summary Schedule