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November 22, 2019

New rules from “Safe Food for Canadians Regulations” start on January 15

The new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019 and some requirements had to be met immediately.

Other requirements are being phased in over a period of 12-30 months based on food commodity, type of activity and business size.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) recently sent a message, reproduce below, to remind the industry that some new will come into force on January 15, 2020:

On January 15, 2020, most businesses in the fresh fruits or vegetables (FFV) sector will become subject to new requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).

Requirements that will come into force as of this date include: preventive controls, preventive control plans and traceability, including lot code labelling of consumer-prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables. Growers and harvesters will, however, have until January 15, 2021 to use up existing packaging.

Importer licensing

As of January 15, 2019, importers of fresh fruits or vegetables were required to obtain a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence from CFIA.

Importers who require an SFC licence and who do not have a valid licence by January 15, 2020, may experience delays or refusal of entry of their shipment at the border, and may be subject to other SFCR enforcement actions.

Prepare now

FFV businesses should begin now to learn about and prepare for the new requirements. New and updated guidance documents are available on the CFIA website:

On the Food-specific requirements for import page, now find:
Overview – Importing fresh fruit or vegetables
Import requirements for leafy green vegetables from the United States’ California and Arizona

Inspection frequency

The number of times that CFIA inspects a food business depends on several factors, with risk to food safety being one of them. Using their My CFIA account, SFC-licensed businesses can provide operational and risk information that may help lower their establishment’s risk result and lower the frequency or scope of inspections.

Businesses are encouraged to log into My CFIA and add the additional establishment information to their profile. Licence holders that do not complete this information could be inspected at the same rate as an establishment that has been assigned the highest risk result for that commodity.

Visit the My CFIA webpage for more information.

Exporters soon subject to new EU requirements

If you export to the European Union (EU), watch for a separate listserv and notice to industry on new EU phytosanitary requirements for fresh fruit as well as some plants, seeds and other material. The new EU requirements come into effect December 14, 2019. Please contact your local CFIA office before exporting any plant material to the EU.

Ask the experts

In November and December 2019, CFIA will be hosting question-and-answer sessions in which industry representatives can ask SFCR experts about the new requirements coming into force for the FFV sector on January 15, 2020. Visit the CFIA website to learn more.

For more information about the SFCR, visit

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