New Canadian Food Safety Regulations Effective January 15, 2019

On January 15, 2019, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Government of Canada will implement new food safety regulations that affect parties processing, importing and/or handling food and related products for human consumption. The Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) are intended to modernize food safety in Canada, consolidate various existing statutes and better protect consumers.

There are three major areas of focus under the SFCA. They are:

License Requirements:

In general, licenses will be required for importers of food along with persons (e.g. food businesses) engaged in the processing for export or interprovincial trade and for persons slaughtering food animals from which meat products for export or interprovincial trade may take place. Limited exceptions exist.

Applicants need to provide specific information on themselves and their business which will support risk-based oversight. The license will be valid for two years. A licence may be suspended or cancelled in cases of non-compliance. Parties will be able to apply for multiple licenses.

Traceability Standards:

Traceability standards established by Codex will apply to persons importing, exporting and interprovincially trading food, as well as to other persons holding a license issued under the SFCA, and to growers and harvesters of fresh fruits or vegetables that are to be exported or traded interprovincially. Electronic or paper records will need to be prepared and tracked both food forward to the immediate customer (e.g. a retailer or another food business) and backwards to the immediate supplier (i.e. one step forward, one step back along the supply chain). Consumer sales will not have a forward tracking requirement.

Traceability information will be required, upon request, within 24 hours, or some shorter period, if the information is needed to identify or respond to a risk of injury to human health. A longer period may be made available if the information is not considered material to a recall that is or may be ordered. This information must be maintained in Canada.

Preventive Controls and Preventive Control Plan (PCP):

Activities covered by the legislation (e.g. importing, preparing meat products for export or interprovincial trade) must meet designated food safety requirements. Such activities must be documented and conducted in a manner that is consistent with internationally recognized agricultural and manufacturing practices (i.e. GAPs, GMPs and HACCP).

Please contact your local Delmar International representative or our North American Customs Advisory Services Group at for additional information and assistance.

Additional references:

SFCA Handbook

SFCA Timelines and Tools



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