Public consultation for amendments to the Canadian Feeds Regulations has been extended until October 15, 20211. The proposed amendments would repeal and replace the existing regulations, marking the first comprehensive overhaul of Canada's feeds framework since 1983.
What you need to know
- The proposed amendments to the Feeds Regulations are not law and may be subject to further change. Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback until October 15, 2021. The CFIA has also published proposed guidance documents to aid in the interpretation of the proposed amendments2.
- Proposed new safety standards and requirements for hazard prevention, labelling, and traceability are intended to increase international and domestic regulatory alignment.
- Proposed amendments would create a new licensing regime for individuals conducting certain feed-related activities. Conversely, product registration requirements would be relaxed such that fewer feeds would require product registration.
- Several stakeholders are expected to be affected, including commercial feed manufacturers, ingredient manufacturers, retailers, importers, and exporters.
- To provide industry stakeholders with time to adjust to the new regulations, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has proposed a delayed coming into force for some provisions, and transitional provisions for others.
The proposed amendments are designed to safeguard the feeds system, maintain a fair and competitive market, and minimize regulatory burdens where possible3. The following amendments may be of particular interest to industry.
Licensing, registration, and control plans for hazard prevention
The proposed amendments create a new licensing regime for individuals conducting certain feed-related activities, such as manufacturing, storing, processing, packaging, labelling or selling an unregistered feed that is to be conveyed interprovincially, imported for sale, or exported from Canada. A license will not be required in certain circumstances, such as if the feed is registered4. The CFIA will have powers to suspend or cancel such licenses on certain grounds.
Conversely, product registration requirements would be relaxed such that fewer feeds would require mandatory product registration. For example, most imported mixed feeds (those containing two or more single ingredients) would no longer need to be registered if they are imported by a license-holder. Certain feeds will continue to require product approval or registration, such as feeds that contain a novel trait or an ingredient not listed in the Canadian Feed Ingredients Table.
Individuals would be required to prepare and implement preventive control plans, so that increased responsibility is put on individuals for the safety of their products5. Preventive control plans demonstrate how precautions for minimizing biological, chemical, or physical hazards will be implemented. The CFIA notes that the control plan requirement is consistent with "internationally recognized standards and management-based requirements" in the United States and the European Union6. Certain activities are exempt from this requirement (e.g., feeds that are made on-farm by livestock producers and are not sold off the farm or medicated are exempt from the Feeds Act and proposed Feeds Regulations).
A mechanism for incorporating updated regulatory requirements by reference
In order to keep pace with international safety standards and technological innovation, the proposed amendments include a mechanism for incorporating updated regulatory requirements by reference7. The reference procedure allows future changes to CFIA documents to be incorporated into the regulatory scheme quickly, without redrafting the regulations. Documents to be incorporated by reference into the new Feeds Regulations include those concerning ingredients tables, labelling requirements, and permissible contaminant levels for feeds.
New labelling requirements are intended to be more flexible than the current regime8. Currently, labels must contain the information prescribed by section 26 of the Feeds Regulations9 and additional label information, such as claims and guarantees, will trigger mandatory product registration10. Under the proposed amendments, manufacturers of mixed feeds could choose to provide additional label information, including permissible claims and guarantees, without the need for registration. This approach is intended to allow manufacturers to differentiate their feeds in a competitive market. In addition, the proposed amendments require health and safety information to be printed in both English and French. The additional language requirements would ensure feed labelling is consistent with the Official Languages Act11.
Record-keeping for traceability
The proposed amendments would require all feeds to be labelled with a lot number/identification code and the associated stakeholders to develop a traceability template to facilitate record keeping12. Under the proposed amendments, stakeholders would have to keep the following traceability information for each feed supplied to them or by them: the product name, identification code, business name and address, date of purchase or sale, and contact person. The requirements would apply the international standard for traceability established by the Codex Alimentarius. While further guidance will be published, the CFIA notes that a traceability template could be as simple as a table with the necessary information. The CFIA anticipates that the majority of industry stakeholders have already developed traceability templates pursuant to the Health of Animals Regulations13.
Definition of livestock
The proposed amendments would also expand the definition of livestock to include game birds, ratites, bison, water buffalo, cervids, llamas, alpacas, molluscs, crustaceans and bees.
Coming into force
If enacted, the proposed regulations will come into force on the day on which they are registered in the Canada Gazette, Part II. However, to provide the industry with time to adjust to the proposed regulations, the CFIA has proposed a delay of twelve to eighteen months for the coming into force of certain regulatory requirements concerning licensing, preventive control plans, and traceability14. Other aspects of the regulations will be accommodated through transitional provisions, which will allow feeds to meet the current regulatory standards for up to one year after the amendments come into force. Updated guidance documents are expected to aid in the transition.
The proposed amendments are not law and may be further amended before they become law. The next step in the regulatory amendment process is for the CFIA to collect and review comments. Interested persons may make representations until October 15, 202115. Following that, the CFIA may request further feedback or publish the amendments (as previously published or with further revisions) in Part II of the Canada Gazette. Any amendments will only come into force after the final version has been published in Part II of the Canada Gazette. Stakeholders looking for additional information may consult the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement and draft regulations in the Canada Gazette Part I16, as well as fact sheets and guidance documents pertaining to the proposed regulations on the CFIA website17.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.