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.
If you import food into Canada, you need a licence under the SFCR.
- For now, shipments of imported food without a valid licence (or pre-existing registration/licence number) will be accepted at the border, as long as they are safe and otherwise compliant with Canadian requirements.
- However, if you need a licence, we advise that you apply for one as soon as possible.
The Government of Canada will apply standard enforcement measures, including risk-based inspections, in the following situations:
- if there is a risk to food safety
- if a company disregards the new regulations (such as failing to get a licence or implement a preventive control plan after being advised to do so)
Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, other requirements will be introduced in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. 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
Steps you must follow to import food into Canada.
Requirements for importers and imported food.
Requirements for importing specific foods into Canada.
Requirements for importing food from specific countries with CFIA-recognized food safety systems.
Requirements for non-resident importers importing food into Canada.
Foreign food safety systems that are recognized by CFIA.
New information and important reminders for importing into Canada.
It is important that you are aware of all government specific requirements for importing food into Canada.
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