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New regulations on food safety come into force in Canada

17 January 2019, at 12:00am

CANADA - Canadians want to know that the food on their table is safe to eat

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into effect today, ushering in a new era of food safety for Canadians.

The regulations are consistent with international standards and make Canada's food safety system even stronger by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace.

These new rules also mean greater market access opportunities for Canadian food products exported abroad. In addition, they will reduce the unnecessary administrative burden placed on businesses by replacing 14 sets of regulations with one.

Under the SFCR, food businesses that import or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial boundaries must have a licence.

Businesses are also required to have preventive controls that outline steps to address potential risks to food safety, and to trace their food back to their supplier and forward to businesses who bought their products.

While some requirements enter into force immediately, others will be phased in over the following 12-30 months, depending on the food commodity, type of activity and business size. Business owners are encouraged to consult the sector-specific timelines on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website to determine if and when new requirements apply to them.

The United States has recently made it a requirement for all Canadian businesses that export food to meet their new food safety standards. The SFCR will permit Canadian food businesses to acquire a licence that demonstrates that they meet the requirements under the US Foreign Supplier Verification Program so that they can continue trading with the United States.

"By emphasizing prevention and faster removal of unsafe foods from the marketplace, the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations will build on Canada's world-class food safety system and go even further to protect Canadians," said Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor.

"The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations are consistent with international food safety standards, and position Canadian food businesses to be more innovative and competitive, both at home and abroad. They represent a vital step towards achieving our Government's trade target of growing agriculture and food exports to $75 billion by 2025," added Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay.

Quick facts

  • If a business currently has a previous registration or licence with the CFIA, it will remain valid under the SFCR until it expires, even if the date of expiry of the renewed registration or licence occurs after 15 January 2019 (provided there is a statement on it indicating that it is also a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Act).
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency consulted extensively on the proposed regulations, starting in 2013. Canadians were invited to provide comments via the Canada Gazette in January 2017.
  • Businesses need to sign up for My CFIA to apply for a Safe Food for Canadians licence. My CFIA is a convenient and secure way to do business with the CFIA 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2007-2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in the global poultry industry and agri-food chain.

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