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Importing food to Canada: best practices
Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.
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Keeping food safe
The following principles are considered international best practices in making sure food is safe before it enters the market.
Know Your Foreign Supplier:
- Knowledgeable: Are their employees experienced in food safety?
- Hazards: How are hazards identified and controlled in their establishment?
- Preventive Controls: Do you have proof that preventive controls are in place?
- Communication: Have you told them what Canadian requirements apply?
Know Your Food:
- Basics: Can you describe the food you import (e.g. name, quantity, lot code, packaging)?
- Hazards: Have you identified potential risks (biological, chemical and physical)? How are these risks controlled?
- Traceability: Who manufactured/ processed your food, and to whom did you sell it (e.g. name, address)?
- Verify: Do you verify the shipment once it arrives in Canada (e.g. correct product is received)? Do you make sure the food is in good condition?
Have A Plan:
- Requirements: Can you demonstrate how your food meets safety, grading, standards, labelling and net quantity?
- Documents: Do you keep up-to-date documents demonstrating how your food meets regulatory requirements?
- Complaints and Recalls: Have you established procedures for handling complaints and recalls?
- Monitor & verify: Is your plan working as expected?
Your Preventive Control Plan:
A Preventive Control Plan (PCP) describes these elements in a written document.
Tip: Check out the guide for preparing a preventive control plan - For importers.
Did you know?
As a regulated party, you are responsible for ensuring that foods imported into Canada meet the requirements of the applicable Canadian law.
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