Do you have a small food business? New regulations could apply to you

October 11, 2018 - Tags: Regulations

This guest blog post is provided by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), as part of a series about the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). The CFIA is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy.

Regardless of their size, food businesses have an important role to play in maintaining Canada's reputation as a world leader in food safety, trusted both at home and abroad.

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) introduce consistent standards across the food industry in Canada, which will help ensure food safety along the entire supply chain.

The new consolidated regulations will now require food businesses that import, or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial borders to have licences, as well as preventive control plans that outline potential risks to food safety and steps to control them.

The new consolidated regulations will also help reduce the time it takes to remove unsafe food from store shelves, by requiring businesses to trace their food back to their supplier and forward to whom they sold their products. Retailers will only be required to trace their food back to their supplier, not forward to consumers to whom they sold their products.

By developing the preventive controls and improved traceability required under the new consolidated regulations, small food businesses will be better placed to produce or import safe products that their customers can trust. Their traceability records will also mean more efficient and effective recalls, and minimize economic losses in the event of a recall.

Support for small businesses

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recognizes that some small food businesses may need more time and support to understand and prepare to meet the new requirements.

The SFCR will come into force on January 15, 2019. Some requirements will have to be met immediately upon coming into force, while other requirements will be phased in over a period of 12-30 months based on food commodity, type of activity and business size.

Small businesses that make $100K or less in gross annual food sales will have to have preventive controls in place (such as sanitation and pest control), but will not be required to have a written preventive control plan. This exception will not apply to ‎businesses that conduct any activity in respect to food animals, meat products, dairy products, fish, eggs, processed egg products, or processed fruits and vegetables.

Find out how the new requirements apply to your business by visiting CFIA's interactive tools and timelines.

Sign up for My CFIA to apply for a licence once it becomes available.

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