Importing food into Canada

Attention foreign suppliers

You must export food to Canada through a licenced Canadian importer. If you are a foreign business that prepares foods for export to Canada, you cannot apply for a licence under the SFCR unless you qualify as a non-resident importer. To determine this, refer to non-resident importers.

Attention importers

If you import food into Canada, you need a licence under the SFCR.

The Government of Canada will apply standard enforcement measures, including risk-based inspections, in the following situations:

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements are being phased in over the following 12 to 30 months. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

Know your food importing requirements. Explore the topics below to learn what is required to import food into Canada.

Services and information

Step-by-step guide

Steps you must follow to import food into Canada.

General requirements

Requirements for importers and imported food.

Importing specific foods

Requirements for importing specific foods into Canada.

Importing food from specific countries

Requirements for importing food from specific countries with CFIA-recognized food safety systems.

Non-resident importers

Requirements for non-resident importers importing food into Canada.

Recognition of foreign food safety systems

Foreign food safety systems that are recognized by CFIA.

Food import notices

New information and important reminders for importing into Canada.

Other Canadian government departments

It is important that you are aware of all government specific requirements for importing food into Canada.

National Import Service Centre (NISC)

Submit import documentation and ask questions about import requirements for CFIA-regulated commodities.

Automated Import Reference System (AIRS)

Search for and find import requirements for specific foods and other CFIA regulated commodities.


Video – Importing Food to Canada
screen capture of Video – Video – Importing Food to Canada

All food imported into Canada is subject to the SFCR. Learn more about the requirements to import food.

Video - Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) Tutorial
screen capture of Video – Video - Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) Tutorial.

This tutorial will show you how to use the AIRS database to determine the requirements for importing a regulated commodity into Canada.

Video - Requesting a Safe Food For Canadian Licence
screen capture of Video – Video - Requesting a Safe Food For Canadian Licence.

Learn how to request a Safe Food for Canadians Licence using My CFIA.

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