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Customs &
Trade News


October 18, 2018

New regulations for food importers and exporters

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) will come into force on January 15, 2019.

Businesses that import food or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial borders will now need to have licences as well as preventive controls that address potential risks to food safety.

The new consolidated regulations align Canada's model with internationally accepted best practices for food safety and the globally recognized international food standards.

For instance, once the SFCR are fully in force, Canadian food businesses exporting foods that are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be able to cite their SFCR licence to demonstrate that their food safety controls meet their U.S. importers' requirements under the U.S. Foreign Supplier Verification Program.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued the following notice to help business comply with the new regulations:

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Three months until your food business may need a licence

In three months, many businesses will require a licence when the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) come into force. In order to apply for a SFCR licence, businesses will need to attest that they have preventive controls in place.

Food businesses can enrol now in My CFIA to apply for a licence, once licence applications are available. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will not accept SFCR licence applications sent by email or fax.

Find out if your business will need a licence or be required to meet other SFCR requirements by January 15, 2019 by visiting the CFIA's interactive tools and timelines. The CFIA has also created a new advanced search tool called the Guidance Finder, which lets users find information about SFCR requirements by specifying activity type, food commodity, method of production and document type.

If you currently hold a registration or licence issued under the Canada Agricultural Products Act, Fish Inspection Act, and Meat Inspection Act and it is expiring soon, continue your normal process to renew your registration, as needed. It will remain valid until it expires, provided there is a statement on it that it is also a licence issued under the Safe Food for Canadians Act. Once expired, you will be required to apply for a licence under the SFCR.

The CFIA has proposed a $250 fee for the SFCR licence. The fee amount will be confirmed prior to coming into force on January 15, 2019.

For more information about the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, visit inspection.gc.ca/safefood.

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Transport &
Trade News