Have Your Say on Federal Food Regulatory Change: Consultation Open On Draft Safe Food For Canadians Regulations

In January 2017, draft regulations under the Safe Food For Canadians Act (which was passed in November 2012) were published.  The draft Regulations can be found here.

While much of the content of the proposed Safe Food For Canadian Regulations consolidates rules and requirements from other regulations, they do provide for the implementation of a number of significant new measures.  These include:

1. Licensure – the proposed regulations would impose licensing requirements for food importers, those who prepare food for export or interprovincial trade and persons slaughtering food animals from which meat products for export or interprovincial trade may be derived.  It is proposed that licenses will be valid for two years and cost approximately $250.

2. Traceability – the proposed regulations would impose record keeping requirements in accordance with the international standard for traceability established by Codex.   Various records would need to be maintained (and retained for two years) including with respect to where the regulated food was obtained from and to whom it was provided.  These traceability requirements would apply to most businesses that:

  • import food
  • manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, store, package or label food to be exported or sold interprovincially
  • grow and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables to be exported or sold interprovincially
  • slaughter food animals where the meat product is exported or sold interprovincially
  • store and handle a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Retailers selling food would be subject to traceability requirements only “backward” in the supply chain (i.e. with respect to the person from whom they obtained the food) and not “forward” (i.e. with respect to the person to whom they provide the food).  Restaurants would not be subject to the traceability requirements at all. 

3. Preventive Control Plans – Regulated parties would be required to maintain a written preventive control plan (“PCP”) which would outline how the entity would meet food safety requirements and applicable manufacturing practices (i.e. GMPs and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point principles).  They should address:

  • Sanitation, pest control
  • Unloading, loading and storing
  • Maintenance and operation of establishments
  • Staff competency
  • Hygiene and communicable diseases,
  • Investigation and notification
  • Complaints and recalls.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency consultation on the draft regulations is open until April 21, 2017.  If you have concerns or comments on the implications of the regulations you may wish to consider taking advantage of this opportunity to voice those to the CFIA, whether through an industry association or directly.  Details on the Consultation Process can be found here.

We will continue to follow the development of this regulatory scheme.