Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The regulations take effect in April 2018, and cover licensing, preventative control and traceability.

The Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates food provisions now administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) under four statutes to strengthen oversight of food commodities being traded inter-provincially or internationally. The legislation provides clear and consistent rules for food commodity importers so that consumers can be confident that all food on grocery store shelves is safe. Compliance by all food manufacturers exporting to Canada is mandatory by April 2018.

There are three main components to the Act: licensing, preventative control plan (PCP), and recall and traceability plan.

  1. Licensing requirements will apply to the importers of record for food and food commodities, Canadian food exporters, all domestic manufacturers, provincial manufacturers that sell to distributors, manufacturers of food for online sale, and warehouses and cold storage for meat. Manufacturers can apply for a license through CFIA, but must have a PCP in place to apply. The cost of the license is $250 Canadian and valid for a period of two years.
  2. It is proposed that every company that deals with food have a PCP in place that documents all aspects of the operation, including equipment, food preparation, hygiene, transportation and storage. This is a food safety plan that will seek to identify all hazards and critical control points, as well as procedures related to monitoring, corrective action, verification and record keeping. A PCP is a written document that sets out how food safety and other regulatory requirements will be achieved. Preventive control requirements are a combination of control measures that provide for a science-based approach to managing risks posed by hazards and contribute to achieving compliance with other regulatory requirements.
  3. To ensure efficient response to food safety incidents and recalls, companies will be required to have (but not limited to) a recall traceability plan that is accessible in Canada, data that can be provided to the CFIA electronically, and the ability to trace the food forward and backward, with records kept in Canada.

While the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations are not yet in force, there are steps that can be taken now to get ready. The key elements of the proposed regulations are based on international food safety best practices. The links below provide reference information on these concepts so you can plan ahead and even start implementing them in your business processes. Final versions of these documents, as well as additional resources, will be shared once the regulations are published.

  • Sign up for a secure My CFIA account to access online services as they become available. When the new regulations take effect, you will be able to access information and complete many business transactions through My CFIA, including applying for a license.
  • Guidance on regulations is helpful to food businesses. Ask CFIA is your single point of entry to ask questions to help you understand and comply with current regulatory requirements. This service is available to many sectors today and will continue to expand.
  • Stay connected to receive the latest news and updates on this initiative. Sign up for email notifications and subscribe to the CFIA Chronicle, a quarterly newsletter. You can also follow CFIA on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.