The Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) was created to consolidate and modernize previous food related acts under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). These include the Canadian Agricultural Products Act, the Fish Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.
By consolidating these acts, the CFIA hopes to provide consumers with a safer food supply. This will require hard work from organizations, as the CFIA is introducing new regulations for any company that imports food into Canada.
The proposed SFCA regulations will also apply to foods not currently regulated by the CFIA. These include bakery products, snack foods, fats and oils, coffee and tea, and meal replacements to name a few.
Food Safety Requirements
The SFCA will establish new baseline requirements for anyone who imports, prepares, grows, or harvests food for interprovincial trade or export. Some areas that these requirements will address include sanitation, hygiene, equipment, receiving, transportation, and storage.
Traceability and Record Keeping
Current legislation does not require companies to mandatorily have traceability systems in place. However, this is set to change with proposed requirements for maintaining traceability records of all food products, including perishables, for a prescribed period. Records are expected to include the product’s specific supply chain information.
Preventative Control Plan
The CFIA’s new regulations now require any company that deals with food or food products to have a Preventive Control Plan in place. This plan must document how you are ensuring that your foreign supply chain is meeting all SFCA requirements, and must be updated frequently, particularly when you obtain new equipment or new food is being produced at your facility.
To learn about the proposed labelling changes under the SFCA, you can read our article dedicated to food labelling here.
U.S. Food Modernization
The U.S. FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the most sweeping reform of American food safety laws in over 70 years. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. FSMA also brings new requirements that will affect Canadian exporters of FDA controlled food products into the U.S.
The major elements of FSMA include:
- Preventive Controls
- Inspection and Compliance
- Imported Food Safety
- Enhanced Partnerships
These are just a few items covered under the SFCA. Other areas that will be impacted include licensing standards, foreign supplier verifications, and the sanitary transportation of food for both humans and animals.