The holiday season is upon us and so are the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) coming into force January 15, 2019. The Safe Food for Canadians Act was finalized in 2012 and awaited the publishing of the SFCR in 2018 prior to implementation. The SFCA is the biggest change in the Canadian Food Industry in 25 years by streamlining fourteen legislations into one.
Canadian food businesses that import, export, manufacture and store food are subject to the SFCA and SFCR. The regulations are based on three main components-Preventive Controls, Traceability and Licensing. As per the CFIA, the SFCR will make the Canadian Food System “safer by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace”.
businesses are to create and implement a Preventive Control Plan (PCP). The PCP is a written assessment program based on Codex and HACCP principles defining hazards, risks and Preventive Controls as mitigation measures. The food businesses with existing Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification and CFIA FSEP have a strong foundation but will need to adjust their programs as necessary for compliance.
and consistent with best practices, accurate Traceability of food products within the Canadian supply chain is key to remove unsafe food products from the marketplace quickly. Importers and exporters will be required to trace their product one step forward and one step backward as well as maintaining their traceability records in a clear, readable and accessible manner for a two-year timeframe.
Canadian businesses importing food will require a Licence for all food and food ingredients brought into Canada. Exported foods to foreign countries are to comply with the country of destination regulations, when none exist they must meet the food safety requirements of the SFCR.
Some requirements will have to be met by mid January, while others will be phased in over a period of 12-30 months based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. Exemptions to the requirements do exist. The SFCR objective is to make Canada’s food system safer by focusing on prevention and on a faster investigation process for any food product that may need to be removed from the marketplace.