The countdown is on for …. Halloween? Thanksgiving? Yes, but also for January 15, 2019, the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and Safe Food for Canadians Regulations’ (SFCR) effective date.
The SFCA 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 legislation’s into one.
The 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”.
Firstly, 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. The food businesses with existing GFSI and CFIA FSEP have a strong foundation but will need to adjust their programs as necessary for compliance.
Secondly, 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 time frame.
Thirdly, 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 immediately upon coming into force, 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.
Do you want help interpreting the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations? Are you unsure how to implement the requirements? Contact our regulatory team today!