Importing Food – Transcript
Every day, thousands of metric tons of food and beverages arrive in Canada by sea, land and air. Thanks to food importers, Canadians enjoy a variety of foods year round.
Even with one of the best food safety systems in the world, we must continue to evolve to meet the challenges of a dynamic global food system.
That's why the Government of Canada is proposing the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, which would apply to all foods, whether imported, exported or manufactured in Canada for trade across provincial borders.
These regulations are built on three key elements that would bring Canada's food safety requirements in line with international standards:
Licensing, preventive controls, and traceability.
Licencing – the first element – means that as an importer, you would need a licence from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to import food into Canada. Secondly, you would need preventive controls in place to make sure your food is safe when you import it into Canada. The third element – traceability – means you would be able to trace where you bought your food and to whom you sold it.
Let's look more closely at preventive controls and what this means.
As an importer, you would need to understand the risks associated with the food you import and work with your foreign supplier to control those risks.
How would you do that?
The first step would be to know your food. This means being aware of any biological, chemical, and physical hazards that pose a risk of contamination to the food.
You would need to describe the food you import, clearly identify those potential risks, and outline steps to control them.
The next step would be to know your foreign supplier. As an importer, you would need to be sure that your suppliers are using safe conditions to prepare, store and transport your product.
For example, do you know how your suppliers control hazards such as pests in their food establishments?
Do they know what ingredients are allergens in Canada, and have they properly identified these allergens?
Have they taken precautions to protect food from contamination like E-coli?
And are their employees qualified to do their job?
You would need to show that your foreign suppliers meet the same food safety standards required of our domestic manufacturers.
The last step would be to clearly outline those steps in a written plan and keep it up to date.
Preventive controls will go a long way toward protecting consumers from unsafe foods, and reducing the chances of costly food recalls.
Keeping clear records is also important when it comes to traceability – the third key element.
You would need to document where you bought your food and to whom you sold it. These records become especially important if there is reason to believe a product is not safe for consumers or if it must be recalled.
Before the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations become law, we would like to hear from you.
Visit our website and stay connected to learn more about the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations and how you can provide feedback.