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What You Need to Know About The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

By Jake Nordquist   |    December 13, 2018   |    7:00 PM

Canadian Food Businesses Will Have to Meet New Regulations in 2019

On January 15, 2019 the most recent set of Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) will come into full effect. These new rules are seen as the most important updates to food safety regulations in more than two decades, but what do they mean for your small business?

If you own a small business in Canada that deals with food, you’ll need to learn how to remain compliant. Your business might need a new license, for example (more on that in a moment).

While the information in this article can’t replace the advice of a licensed legal professional, it will help you prepare your business for 2019 and beyond.

What are the new SFCR regulatory requirements?

The SFCR will replace and/or consolidate 14 existing food regulations. The goal is to improve consistency across various food types and business types, which will hopefully reduce administrative burdens, among other benefits.

As a small business owner in the food space, these are the three main provisions you need to know about:

  • Licensing: Food businesses will need a license to conduct certain activities, including to import, export, manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package, and label most foods.
  • Preventive Controls: Businesses must implement preventive controls to reduce risks to food and ensure humane treatment of food animals during slaughter activities. They must also provide a written preventive control plan. These controls apply to both license holders and non-licensed enterprises — even if you aren’t required to get a license, you must still comply with the preventive control rules.
  • Traceability: Food businesses must maintain records tracing food, both forward one step (i.e. to the immediate customer) and backward one step (i.e. to the immediate supplier). This is intended to reduce the time it takes to remove unsafe food from store shelves.

Where do I learn about my business’s exact obligations under the new SFCR rules?

The Canada Food Inspection agency maintains a comprehensive website with information about licensing requirements, guidance on food-specific requirements, rules for importers, and more. You’ll find virtually anything you need on the website, but these resources will be particularly helpful:

  • General Food Requirements and Guidance: This page is a great spot to begin your research, and it includes helpful overviews of the most common areas of concern.
  • Licensing Interactive Tool: Use this tool to see if you need a license and to confirm licensing deadlines.
  • Exporting to the U.S.: Many Canadian food businesses export to the United States, and in some cases an SFCR licence can help businesses comply with the requirements of U.S. importers.
  • Contact Us: If you still have questions, simply use this form to submit them.

If you have a food business, don’t wait until mid-January to become compliant with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Proactive preparedness will save you time, money, and headache as we enter 2019, and you can use those extra resources to continue growing your food business.

To save yourself even more time, check out the virtual space and service solutions we have here at Intelligent Office. Whether you need a quiet office to work from, extra administrative support, an address, or something else, we have a solution that suits your business.