Food changes are afoot – Canadian food companies take note

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Recent years have seen significant changes in the global food environment. An increasingly global marketplace for food means more opportunities for the introduction and spread of contaminants. At the same time, the food industry is pioneering new approaches to traceability, third party certification, and other ways to make food safer.

With the passage of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA); CFIA is actively updating/modernizing the legislation and related procedures that control the safety of Canada’s food. As a result, it’s imperative that all companies who are concerned with food products follow the fluid developments in this area to avoid being caught short. The SFCA merges all current CFIA regulations under the same roof, regardless of whether the food is imported, exported or traded inter-provincially; the key changes include:

Licensing Requirements

Presently there are food sectors (i.e. dairy, fish, meat) that require licences under CFIA regulations. Under the proposed rules, licences will be mandatory for all food types regardless of import, export or trading across provincial boundaries. Licences will be renewable every two years and cost approximately $250. To obtain a licence you will need to share key information on the foodstuffs you deal in such as:

  • COO (Country of origin)
  • Establishment location/address
  • Product type & intended end use
  • Processing/production details
  • Annual volume of imported products or production


Depending on the potential product risk profile, coupled with your own historic compliance patterns, CFIA inspections may be required prior to issuance of licences. Exemptions from these statutes include alcoholic beverages and food additives.

Recall Traceability Plan

To ensure a swift response to food safety incidents, companies will be required to have a recall traceability plan that is accessible in Canada, provided to the CFIA electronically and in one of both official languages; French or English. The plan must be kept retained/active for a minimum of three years and provide complete supply chain visibility.

Preventative Control Plan

Food companies will require having in place a preventative control plan (PCP); documenting all operational aspects; details such as processing equipment, food prep hygiene, storage, transportation and related controls through the supply chain. The PCP will seek to highlight areas of risk; hazards/critical control points and include procedures related to monitoring, corrective action, verification, and record keeping. The PCP will have a term and on-going expiry/renewal process.


The regulations, originally planned for 2015 implementation, will soon be published in Canada Gazette Part I. After that, a 75 day formal consultation period will follow, before the regulations are published in Canada Gazette Part II and take effect.

More information on the Safe Food for Canadians Act:

A New Regulatory Framework for Federal Food Inspection: Overview of Proposed Regulations

These regulations represent significant changes to the application of preventive control plans for food safety in Canada – Food companies take note!


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