What we heard and how we updated the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

January 2019

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Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

In January 2017, the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for a 90-day public comment period. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) received over 1,700 submissions from a variety of stakeholders including industry, consumers, provincial governments, and five foreign governments.

All comments received during that consultation were reviewed and considered by CFIA to help inform the development of final regulations. Overall, stakeholders were supportive of the direction as they are consistent with global approaches to food safety. However, some key improvements were made to the regulations in response to feedback received.

Delayed coming into force

While some requirements are to be met immediately upon coming into force by some businesses, others will have till 2020 or 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size.

PCP exception

The threshold at which businesses receive an exception from the requirement to maintain a written preventive control plan (PCP) has been increased from $30,000 to $100,000 in gross annual food sales. Businesses eligible for this exception are not required to have a written plan, but are still be required to have preventive controls in place, such as sanitation and pest control.

However, the meat, fish, egg, processed egg, processed fruits and vegetables, and dairy sectors are not able to claim this exception, regardless of their gross annual food sales.

Humane treatment of food animals

Humane treatment provisions for food animals contribute to improving animal welfare and food safety within Canada.

Changes were made to include additional requirements regarding necessary skills for people who are handling food animals during any activity, including slaughter.

The regulations also include new restrictions on the use of electric prods, and new rules for the segregation and isolation of injured or diseased animals.

Technical provisions and definitions

A number of adjustments were made to technical provisions and definitions featured in the new regulations. For example, CFIA modified a requirement in the Preventive Controls section of the regulations relating to food hazards to align more closely with the international approach to preventing, eliminating or reducing them to an acceptable level.

Preventive controls relating to facilities, conveyances and equipment were also modified to be more clearly outcome-based and to make it simpler for the industry to implement them.

In some cases, definitions were modified or added to better reflect industry practices.

Organic products

The CFIA removed the requirement for mandatory certification of activities across the supply chain and will continue to certify only the labelling and packaging of organic products.

The CFIA has included a requirement for certification bodies to verify that activities conform to the Canadian Organic Standards as part of the organic product certification.

Continuous improvement

The speed, volume and complexity of food production continues to increase. The CFIA recognizes that it must evolve along with the industry and is committed to keeping the regulatory framework responsive by continuously improving it. For example, we are currently reviewing and planning to update non-health and safety-related labelling requirements under the Food Labelling Modernization Initiative.

For full details on the feedback we received, consult the What We Heard Report.

To learn more about the SFCR, visit our tools, information and resources.

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