New food safety regulations to start in new year
The new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) are coming into force starting January 15, 2019, and some businesses will need licences for the regulations’ debut.
According to the release, food business owners can now apply for a ‘Safe Food for Canadians’ licence through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The two-year licence costs $250 and can be obtained through the CFIA’s online portal My CFIA. Emailed and faxed applications will not be accepted.
The CFIA has also created an online tool to help businesses determine if they need a licence.
For fruit and vegetable businesses, a licence is not needed if they:
• Grow or harvest only for interprovincial trade or export
• Sell at the consumer retail level
A licence is needed if they:
• Package and label in field for interprovincial trade or export
• Manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package or label for import or export
• Export food that requires an export certificate or certificate of free sale; note that the manufacturers’ declaration will no longer be used (effective January 15)
For businesses with a registration or licence issued under the Canada Agricultural Products Act, it “will remain valid until it expires, even once the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) comes into force, as long as there is a statement on it that it is also a licence issued under the SFCA. Once expired, food businesses will need to apply for a licence under the SFCR.” (Fact sheet)
In addition to licensing, the new regulations also require a preventative control plan, preventative controls and/or traceability depending on the food, activity and gross annual food sales. Some requirements will be needed for January 15, while others will be phased in over the next 12 to 30 months. Timelines available here.
Canadian businesses shipping food to the United States will also need to meet their new food safety standards. According to the release, “the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations will permit Canadian food businesses to acquire a licence that demonstrates that they meet the requirements under the U.S. Foreign Supplier Verification Program so that they can continue trading with the U.S.”
The new SFCR will be replacing 14 sets of regulations with one, reducing administrative time for businesses while addressing food safety issues and speeding up the removal process of unsafe food.
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