Canadian importers adjust to new food safety laws

More stringent food safety protocols are incurring more cost as well, as both Canada and the United States institute new rules.

After five years of engagement and consultation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency revised its regulations. Effective January 15, 2019, the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) affect licensing, preventive controls, traceability, and importing and exporting food.

Lyzette Lamondin, CFIA’s executive director, said “all food businesses operating in the Canadian market will be affected.”

Lamondin indicates SFCR replaced 14 sets of old regulations and is designed to give Canadians more confidence in imported foods, including fresh produce. She recommends all food businesses visit the government website to familiarize themselves with the new protocols and sign up to receive notifications and updates.

Like those implemented in the United States, the new regulations are focused on prevention—through better traceability and risk management principles—rather geared toward action after a food safety event.

Canadian importers are expected to understand the supply chain for any items they bring into the country and be able to demonstrate that the product is manufactured, prepared, stored, packaged, and labelled under conditions meeting the level of protection required by SFCR.

In addition, importers must also have procedures for investigating complaints about the food they import.