Canada Ushers in New Food Security Laws

In mid-January, the Canadian Food Assessment Firm (CFIA) ushered in the new Safe Food for Canadians Laws( SFCR), introducing licensing, preventive control, and traceability commitments for food preparation companies and importers. Over the coming 12 to 30 months, various requirements will be phased in slowly.

Cameron Prince, VP regulative affairs for food security consultancy Acheson Group, discusses to Food Quality & & Security,”The big thing is that practically everyone doing business in food in Canada or trading in food with Canada will need a CFIA Safe Food for Canadians licence. This uses to importers, exporters, processors, and some brokers/distributors. Likewise, traceability is now obligatory– one advance and one step back– plus merchants of food will need to keep records of the foods they receive. The 3rd crucial element is that all licence holders will have to have written preventive control plans (PCPs) that are not only food security however also cover consumer protection requirements such as weights and labels.”

For Alan Grant, senior manager for consulting and technical services at Public Health/Safety Group NSF, the SFCR is a positive relocation that will level the playing field. Under the brand-new guidelines, Grant tells Food Quality & & Safety,”There are no longer federally ‘signed up’ and ‘non-registered’ sectors, but rather the majority of food businesses now require a licence (e.g. for import, interprovincial trade, export) and are required to have actually recorded food security, customer protection/market fairness, and traceability strategies in location as set out in the SFCR. The brand-new regulations more clearly recognize the responsibility of importers to ensure that the item they import in Canada meets Canadian requirements through having their own PCPs in place.”

The challenge, of course, is application, and that will differ depending on how developed any company’s food security program actually is. Prince says companies who have not been regularly examined by the CFIA and do not have a program in place will be beginning from scratch under the brand-new regs, and will likely need to hire outside support with food safety experience.

“Many importers will fall under this category [with] some products such as baked products, cereals, and confections, which are hardly ever checked by CFIA,” Prince describes. “These types of companies require to begin now to prepare yourself.”

It depends on each business to decide how it will set about being accredited, Prince states, and this enables numerous sites or operations to operate under a single license. Nevertheless, it is smarter to accredit each site/operation individually. Prince states this “decreases risk of having multiple operations suspended if CFIA suspends a licence.”

There has actually been some confusion caused by brand-new terminology presented in the SFCR, says Grant, especially around terms like “preventive controls” and “preventive control plan.”

“Industry has been more knowledgeable about the terms HACCP, HACCP-based, and Important Control Points,” he keeps in mind, including another difficulty is that, “Market is also now required to document their process for compliance with consumer protection/market fairness requirements (e.g. labelling).”

The policies will have differing impacts on business operating in the sector based upon how familiar they are with the territory.

The SFCR “will have the greatest effect on importers for whom this is new territory that they are not familiar with,” Prince states. “Some suppliers in Canada who have actually imported products themselves might pick to have brokers or the manufacturer to end up being the licenced importer in order to prevent extra expenses and documentation connected with the CFIA licence. Overall, this will not greatly impact sell food between Canada and U.S. but it might put more requirements on non-U.S. foreign suppliers.”

For Canadian companies, Grant worries, the requirement to adhere to Canadian food safety and market-fairness regulations is not something everybody will be experienced in.

“The regulatory requirement to be accredited and have a recorded PCP in location might be new to some,” Grant says, “but usually speaking market has had in location, or has actually been approaching, third-party food security certification (e.g. certification to a GFSI [Worldwide Food-Safety Effort] benchmarked plan) or company particular food security audits for several years.”

For some time, Grant states, business both inside and beyond Canada have been slowly accepting third-party certification in the type of the GFSI program.

“In Canada, for the previously federally ‘registered’ sector along with those in the formerly ‘non-registered’ sector who are accredited to GFSI benchmarked plan, there will be little modification besides the paperwork of their procedure(es) for abiding by consumer protection/market fairness requirements. Something that the bulk will have in place however may not have officially documented as part of written plan.”

These modifications, Grant says, build on an existing structure, but he keeps in mind that this procedure is continuous and continues to broaden.

“Much of Canada’s trading partners have modernized, or are in the process of improving, their regulations (e.g. U.S. FSMA),” he states. “It is anticipated that food security guidelines, both domestically and globally, will continue to evolve as brand-new science appears.”

Prince, too, is positive the SFCR will have a ripple-effect on food safety approaches worldwide.

The post Food Quality & Security.


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