Guide to Importing Food Products Commercially
Section A - Canadian Food Legislation
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The Food and Drugs Act and Regulations is the primary legislation that applies to all food sold in Canada, whether imported or domestic. This legislation sets out minimum health and safety requirements, as well as provisions preventing fraud or deception (labelling, composition, packaging, treatment, processing, sale and advertising).
Various statutes contain standards or specifications that complement or further define the food standards set out in the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations. The Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations, for example, establish labelling and net quantity requirements for consumer packaged goods for sale in Canada. The Canada Agricultural Products Act and associated Regulations, the Fish Inspection Act and Regulations and the Meat Inspection Act and Regulations also contain food standards. However, these statutes are primarily intended to ensure the marketability of food products traded internationally and interprovincially, through a combination of safety, quality and grading standards.
Several federal statutes are designed to protect Canadian agriculture, fish stocks, forestry, industry and wildlife from the introduction of animal and plant diseases and pests: the Health of Animals Act and Regulations, the Plant Protection Act and Regulations, and the Fish Health Protection Regulations of the Fisheries Act. These statutes restrict the importation of certain foods from specific areas of concern or require phytosanitary certificates, permits or other documentation.
To permit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to take effective enforcement action against importers and domestic companies marketing products that do not meet Canadian regulatory standards, the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act will allow regional CFIA officials to issue monetary penalties for non-compliance with provisions of the seven agri-food Acts to which this legislation applies.
Appendix I of this Guide provides brief descriptions of these and other federal statutes relevant to the importation of food. The list, however, is not exhaustive. There may be health and safety requirements in other federal or provincial acts.
Key Federal Legislation
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