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Canadian food safety standards get an update


Canada is already known for having one of the strongest food safety systems in the world. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has rolled out new regulations that will raise the standard even higher – while also streamlining the regulatory system and aligning Canadian businesses with existing requirements in other countries.

Safe Food for Canadians 

On January 15, 2019, the Safe Food for Canadians Act and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations came into effect. The new regulations will take the place of 14 existing sets of regulations (Dairy Products Regulations, Egg Regulations, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations, Honey Regulations, Ice Wine Regulations, etc.) and impacts food producers, consumers and businesses that deal in foods.
Two key components of the new regime are stronger prevention requirements and mandatory licensing.

Prevention Requirements

Preventive controls that reduce the likelihood of contaminated products entering the market are mandatory and touch on areas such as sanitation, pest control and food storage – to name a few. The mandatory preventive controls protect food safety, help avoid costly recalls, and ensure continued market access with countries with similar food safety measures and mandatory control systems.


Under the new regulations, licences are required for businesses that import or prepare food for export or for transit across provincial or territorial borders.
Food businesses that do any of the following are required to obtain a licence:
  • Import food or food products
  • Manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package, or label food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial borders
  • Export food (where an export certificate is requested)
  • Slaughter food animals from which meat products are derived for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial borders
  • Store and handle a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the CFIA


Once the regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, businesses had the time to familiarize themselves with the regulations and prepare to meet the new requirements before they came into force on January 15, 2019. Some requirements had to be met immediately, while others – including licensing – were phased in over a period of 12-30 months based on food commodity, type of activity and business size.
The CFIA has a comprehensive website that explains the changes, the requirements and the timing. In addition, our customs consultants can help you understand the changes and how they may affect your business. 
Contact us today!
Information provided by: Canadian Customs Dept. - Cole International
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