safe food for canadians regulations sfcrCFIA Announces Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Update January 9, 2019: CFIA Notice to Industry on New Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Last week the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced the release of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), to come into effect on January 15, 2019.

The purpose of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations is to make food as safe as possible for Canadians by focusing on prevention and faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace.

CFIA Video: Importing Food into Canada | Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Built on three key elements – Licensing, Preventative Controls, and Traceability – the SFCR will have a major impact on importers and exporters of food products.


Businesses importing food or preparing food for export internationally (or across provincial or territorial borders) will require a licence from CFIA in order to import/export food products into/out of Canada. Your Customs Broker is to report the license number on each Canada Customs Clearance to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and CFIA.

Consistent with international food and safety standards, Canadian businesses exporting foods regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be able to leverage their licence under the SFCR to meet requirements under the U.S. Foreign Supplier Verification Program.

Preventative Controls

Importers/exporters of food products will be required to develop, implement, and maintain a Preventative Control Plan to ensure food they are importing/exporting is safe for Canadians or international consumers. The Preventative Control Plan should describe the food being imported/exported, any hazards that pose a risk of contaminating the food, methods to control risk, foreign supplier control procedures, and consumer protection requirements (e.g. labelling, grade standards, packaging, etc.).

Businesses will also be required to maintain procedures for handling complaints and recalls for their imported/exported food. This requirement will also apply to food produced in Canada, whether for export markets or consumption domestically across provincial or territorial borders.


Importers/exporters will be required to maintain traceability records to track and document where food products were purchased and sold. For additional information on traceability, requirements, including an interactive tool, please refer to the following sites from CFIA:

Other Considerations

Other Government Departments regulate the import of food in addition to the CFIA.  It is important that importers review all specific food groups to ensure compliance and regulatory requirements.

For more information the SFCR or any other questions, please contact our Customs Consulting Department or your local PF Collins office. We offer a full range of Customs Brokerage  and Customs Consulting services to assist with all your importing and exporting needs.