D-Day for Canada’s Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) is just one week away. Long in the works, the new Safe Food law and regulations will replace 14 sets of regulations on Jan. 15, 2019.

Canada’s food safety focus will shift to prevention of foodborne illnesses “by focusing on prevention through more rigorous risk management and increasing the focus on traceability,” according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The federal food safety agency says while Canada is already credited with having “one of the strongest food safety systems in the world,” the speed, volume, and complexity of modern food production mean “significant new risks and challenges” must be met by regulators.

CFIA says the new regulations “will provide clear and consistent rules for food commodities so consumers can be confident that food on grocery shelves is safer to eat, whether it is produced in Canada or abroad.”

In the new law, Canada is recognizing “new threats to food safety, changing consumer preferences and prevention-focused international standards.

“Responding to these challenges is critical to maintaining Canada’s reputation as a world leader in food safety and to help Canada’s food businesses remain trusted both at home and abroad,” CFIA adds.

The agency says the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations “will make our food system even safer by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace.”

The Safe Food law will reduce the unnecessary administrative burden on businesses by replacing 14 sets of regulations with one and will help maintain and grow market access for Canada’s agri-food and agricultural sector.

The new consolidated regulations will require food businesses that import or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial borders to have licenses, as well as preventive controls that outline steps to address potential risks to food safety. The new law is also expected to reduce the time it takes to remove unsafe food from the marketplace by requiring businesses to trace their food back to their supplier and forward to whom they sold their products.

CFIA has an instructional section on its website, providing specific information on the license application a Getting Started Toolkit for businesses, and a host of interactive tools and resources on the new requirements for businesses.

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