Canada: Food Businesses Face Extensive New Requirements For Food Safety In Canada

Contributions from student Eric Saragosa

In her report on the 2008 Canadian listeriosis outbreak, Independent Investigator Sheila Weatherill highlighted the need for "substantial consolidation and modernization" of the legislative and regulatory framework governing food safety. The report cited the increase in Canada-wide and globalized production and distribution of food as challenges facing the country's food safety system. The federal government responded with the adoption of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (the Act) in 2012 and opened consultation with industry stakeholders beginning in 2013. Along the way, Canadian food businesses have been given glimpses of what the new regime would entail in the form of draft regulations and action plans.

Last month, the details of the regulatory requirements finally came into focus with the release of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (the Regulations), along with an order fixing January 15, 2019, as the coming into effect date for both the Act and Regulations. These requirements are built around three key elements of the Safe Food for Canadians framework:

  • Licensing;
  • Preventive controls; and
  • Traceability.

Timelines for compliance with each of these requirements vary based on a business's size and activities and the types of food at issue.

While some aspects of the regulatory framework are entirely new, others will be familiar to certain sectors of the food industry. This is because the Act and Regulations constitute, in part, a consolidation of the responsibilities previously delegated to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (Minister) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) under the Fish Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act, the Canadian Agricultural Products Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. However, businesses should be aware that many of these requirements now apply to a wider range of food products and trade activities.

In addition to enhancing the safety of food in Canada, the CFIA intends to maintain a list of businesses that are in good standing, to facilitate U.S.-based food importers meeting the requirements of their Food Safety Modernization Act without having to conduct a full verification of Canadian businesses.

1. Licensing

The Regulations mandate licences for businesses conducting any of the following activities:

  • Manufacturing, processing, treating, preserving, grading, packaging or labelling food to be exported or sent across provincial or territorial borders;
  • Exporting food, even if not preparing the food, where an export certificate is required;
  • Importing food;
  • Slaughtering food animals for meat products to be exported or sent across provincial or territorial borders; and
  • Storing and handling an imported meat product for inspection by the CFIA.

Notable activities that are exempt from the licensing requirement include retailing, storing and transporting, as well as activities associated with food additives, alcoholic beverages and the growing and harvesting of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Licences under the outgoing regimes will continue to be valid if they expire after January 15, 2019, provided that the licences indicate that they were issued under the Act. These licences can be renewed until the new regime licences become available. The online application process for Safe Food for Canadians licences will open before January 15, 2019, though the CFIA has yet to establish a launch date.

2. Preventive controls

The preventive control requirements detailed in the Regulations apply to:

  • Businesses licensed to manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package or label food;
  • Businesses licensed to store and handle imported meat for inspection;
  • Businesses licensed to slaughter animals;
  • Businesses that grow or harvest fresh fruits or vegetables; and
  • Businesses that handle fish in a conveyance.

The preventive control requirements target a range of risk factors, from biological, chemical and physical hazards, to the condition of establishments and equipment, to employee competence and hygiene.

Businesses licensed to import food are not themselves subject to the full range of preventive controls, but must ensure that the food they import has been subject to at least the same level of protection mandated by the Regulations.

Businesses must develop a preventive control plan – a written document that identifies risk factors, describes critical control points and critical limits for these factors, and outlines procedures for monitoring critical control points and taking corrective action. Preventive control plans also extend to measures for ensuring that prepackaged products are appropriately labelled and graded, and that the packages display, for example, the nutritional information content mandated by the Food and Drug Regulations.

Very significantly, the Regulations also impose new investigation, notification, complaint and recall requirements. For instance, businesses must immediately investigate suspected risks of injury to human health and, where the investigation substantiates these risks, immediately notify the Minister and take action to mitigate. Businesses must also conduct a recall simulation at least annually and immediately notify the Minister in the event of a recall.

3. Traceability

The traceability requirements introduced by the Regulations apply to all businesses that are subject to licensing, as well as retailers, businesses sending or transporting food across provincial and territorial borders, and businesses growing fresh fruits or vegetables.

Businesses providing food to another person must label it with the food's common name, a lot code or other unique identifier, and the provider's name and principal place of business. Businesses must also keep records tracking from whom it receives food products and to whom it supplies food products. Finally, the documents must specify any food commodity the business may have incorporated into the food and, if applicable, information as to who provided the food commodity.

Certain exceptions apply to retailers, including that retailers do not need to document the details of their transactions with consumers.

4. Timelines for compliance

The dates by which a business must comply with the requirements depend on the type of food, the size of the business and whether the business is engaged in interprovincial trade, import, export or retail.

The types of food are broken down into several groupings:

  • Dairy products, eggs, processed egg products, and processed fruit or vegetable products;
  • Fish;
  • Meat products and food animals;
  • Fresh fruit or vegetables;
  • Honey and maple products;
  • Unprocessed food used as grain, oil, pulse, sugar or beverages;
  • Food additives and alcoholic beverages; and
  • All other food.

The dates for compliance are as early as the coming into effect of the Act and Regulations on January 15, 2019, and as late as July 16, 2021. Further details are available on the CFIA's website.

5. Implications for U.S. importers of Canadian food

Under the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, importers of food to the U.S. are required to implement a Foreign Supplier Verification Program, to ensure that imported food is subject to the same level of protection as domestic food. Notably, U.S. importers must ensure that their foreign suppliers have procedures in place that are similar to preventive control regulations in the U.S.

As part of the implementation of the Regulations, the CFIA will maintain a list of businesses it considers to be in good standing. In order to be included on the list, a business must be licensed, must have a preventive control plan in place and must keep traceability documents. The list will be publicly available, including to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. importers.

In light of the 2016 Food Safety Systems Recognition Arrangement between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the CFIA and Health Canada, in which the participants determined that the food safety systems in Canada and the U.S. provided similar protection, this list is intended to provide U.S. importers with assurances that a Canadian food business is conducting its activities according to appropriate safety standards. For products within the scope of the Arrangement, this means U.S. importers may be able to refer to the list instead of independently verifying that Canadian food businesses meet certain standards, which will be an incentive for Canadian businesses who export to the U.S. to be licensed under the Safe Food for Canadians Act even before legally required.

With the introduction of new and widely applicable licensing, preventive control and traceability requirements, the Canadian government has set out to improve food safety by focusing both on risk prevention and faster removal of unsafe food when corrective action is required. In addition to protecting Canadian consumers, these new requirements should help align the domestic food industry with international safety standards, increasing trade opportunities.

Smart & Biggar will be closely monitoring the implementation of the new regulatory framework, and will provide timely updates as this matter unfolds. If you have any questions about the above, please contact Alice Tseng.

The preceding is intended as a timely update on Canadian intellectual property and technology law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please communicate with our offices directly.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions