Information on the requirements that apply to a person who manufactures, processes treats, preserves, grades, packages or labels a food

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.

The following is an overview of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) licensing, preventive controls and traceability requirements that apply to a person who manufactures, processes, treats, preserves, grades, packages and/or labels a food for inter-provincial trade or for export.

We encourage you to review the toolkit for food businesses for guidance to help you understand and comply with the SFCR.

Key requirements

1. Licensing

The food commodities in your operation and the type of activities you conduct on the food will determine whether you need a Safe Food for Canadians Regulations licence (SFC licence).

Manufacturing, processing, treating, preserving, grading, packaging or labelling a food

If you conduct any of these activities on a food that you, or another person, exports or sends/conveys from one province or territory to another, you generally need an SFC licence.

Find out what food business activities require a licence and when by using the licensing interactive tool.

Exporting or storing food

You do not need an SFC licence to export food or to store food for export or interprovincial trade unless you need an export certificate, or other export permission from the CFIA, to meet foreign country requirements for those activities.

Learn more about foreign country requirements and the requirements that apply to you when you need a licence to export, a certificate or other export permissions.

Sending or conveying food from one province or territory to another

You do not need an SFC licence if the sole activity you conduct is sending or conveying (such as transporting) food from one province or territory to another, regardless of whether the conveyance has temperature controls or other types of capabilities.

Applying for an SFC licence

The first step to obtaining an SFC licence is to sign up for My CFIA. Watch the video Requesting a Safe Food for Canadians Licence that's available to help you understand how to apply for a licence and find tips to ensure a smooth SFC licence application.

Be prepared before you sign up for My CFIA.

Learn more about licensing.

2. Preventive controls (Part 4 of the SFCR)

  1. The preventive controls in Divisions 1 to 5 apply to SFC licence holders, as well as a person who grows or harvests fresh fruits or vegetables or a person who handles fish on a vessel. These include requirements on:

    Learn more about regulatory requirements for preventive controls and preventive controls for food businesses.

  2. The preventive controls in Division 6 on the preventive control plan (PCP) apply to you if you require an SFC licence.

    As a licence holder, you have to keep, maintain and implement a PCP and make it available to a CFIA inspector during an inspection.

    Learn more about regulatory requirements for a PCP and how to prepare a PCP.

3. Traceability requirements (Part 5 of the SFCR)

Traceability requirements apply to most food businesses. An SFC licence holder and a person who exports food or sends or conveys food, from one province or territory to another, are required to prepare and keep traceability records and make sure that a label is applied, attached, or accompanies the food that you provide to your customers.

Find out what traceability requirements apply to you and when by using the traceability interactive tool.

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