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Canada: New regulations on food safety come into force today

Staff Writer |
Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into effect today.

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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 U.S. Foreign Supplier Verification Program so that they can continue trading with the United States.

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 January 15, 2019 (provided there is a statement on it indicating that it is also a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Act).

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