Last week, the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) went into effect with an official announcement from the Honorable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s Minister of Health.

The new food safety regulations, which Canadian Food Inspection Agency says are consistent with international standards, focus on prevention, along with speedy removal of unsafe food products from the marketplace. The regulations also grant Canada more opportunities to export their food products abroad. Finally, the new regulations will aim to diminish unnecessary administrative burden by replacing 14 previous sets of laws into just one.

Now, under SFCR, Canadian food companies that either import or prepare food for export to food that is sent across provincial/territorial boundaries must have a license to do so. In order to continue trading with the U.S., SFCR does allow businesses to provide proof--via a license--that they meet requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program. Another requirement under SFCR is that food businesses must have preventive controls in place that clearly identify steps that address potential food safety risks, and controls that can trace food products anywhere along the food supply chain.

Parts of SFCR got into effect immediately, while others will take anywhere from 12 to 30 months to implement. Canadian food companies can consult the SFCR timeline to determine if the regulations apply to them, and when they must be in compliance. 

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