The Safe Food for Canadians Act changes will be implemented soon, and all food importers, exporters, and handlers need to be aware of the new legislation.
A little back story: In 2012, the Canadian federal government began modernizing the country’s food inspection system, to ensure the food on Canadian shelves will be safe (regardless of origin), and to include criminal charges for tampering or non-compliance.
Currently, Canada has eight inspection programs; the goal is to replace those with one comprehensive system – the Safe Foods for Canada Act – which will align with trading partners’ systems, such as the United States’ Food Safety Modernization Act (currently scheduled for implementation in April 2018).
Canada’s new legislation has three main components:
- Preventative Control Plan (PCP)
- Recall Traceability
- Licensing Requirements.
A PCP is a written document that outlines how food safety would be achieved and how regulatory requirements would be met. It details all aspects of an operation – equipment, food preparation, hygiene practices, transportation, and storage. Any importer or food preparer would be required to develop, document, maintain, and implement a PCP.
Recall traceability is a records-keeping system that includes a product’s origin, shipping and receiving dates, and contact information throughout the entire product cycle. companies will be required to have a plan that is available electronically, accessible in Canada (in English or French), and allows products to be traced backwards and forwards.
Under new regulations, all parties who slaughter food animals or prepare food for import/export /interprovincial trade will be required to have a license. Said license could be obtained online, would be valid for two years, and cost approximately CAD$250. (Note that license applicants must have a registered fixed place of business in Canada or in a country with a similar food safety system, must be importing food directly to Canada, and must already have a PCP and traceability/recall plans in place.)
To prepare for these changes, food importers, exporters, and handlers are advised to:
- Sign up for a secure MY CFIA account
- Ask the CFIA for guidance
- Develop best practices
- Apply for a license
- Stay connected for more information.
Contact us if you’d like a copy of our Safe Foods data sheet.