It’s a good time to remind those serving the food sector in Canada that the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) is, in fact, enforced.

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 would be safe (regardless of origin) and would include criminal charges for tampering on non-compliance. Canada’s eight inspection programs were replaced with one comprehensive system – the SFCR – which aligns with Canada’s trading partners’ systems. The SFCR came into effect January 15, 2019.

The SFCR contains three main pillars.

Licensing Requirements

Under the new regulations, all parties who slaughter food animals or prepare food for import/export/interprovincial trade (including U.S. and international exporters) are required to have a license. Said license can be obtained online, is valid for two years, and costs approximately $250 CAD. The speed at which the license is approved and received depends largely on the product in question, so it is recommended that food producers begin the application process as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Preventative Control Plan

A Preventative Control Plan (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 is required to develop, document, maintain, and implement a PCP.

Recall Traceability

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 are 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.

There are three things your food business can do to stay compliant:

  • Apply for a license (more),
  • Sign up for a secure MY CFIA account (more),
  • Develop best practices (more),
  • Stay connected (more), and
  • Check our blog for updates on these regulations (more).

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