Safe Food For Canadians Regulations (SFCR) License

Do you manufacture, import, export, and trade food products? Get help from former Health Canada Officials to apply for Safe Food For Canadians Regulations (SFCR) License and let your business comply with Health Canada regulations. The SFCR is a comprehensive regulatory framework that covers various aspects of food safety, labeling, traceability, and licensing. 

SFCR Licensing

SFCR Licensing applies to food for human consumption that is imported, exported, or inter-provincially traded for commercial purposes. According to Part 3, Division 1 of the SFCR, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issues a license to businesses that are engaged in conducting food-related activities that include:

  • Importing and exporting food
  • Slaughter of food animals
  • Exporting food commodities
  • Storage and handling for CFIA inspection
  • Storage of food for shipping to another province or out of Canada
  • Various activities to handle such as manufacturing, treating, processing, grading, preserving, packaging or labelling

Who needs a SFCR License?

Those individuals that import food in Canada need a licence to import under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). They are solely responsible for meeting other requirements of SFCR. The importer could be located in Canada.

The license application is an online portal with a fee associated with the respective activity.  Licenses are valid for a particular time period and will be subject to renewal.  As well, any changes to the food license (eg. activities, site location, etc.) will require an amendment to the SFCR License.

safe food for Canadians regulations SFCR License

What are the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)?

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) is a set of regulations introduced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to ensure that all food products produced, imported, or sold in Canada meet the safety and quality standards set by the government. The SFCR applies to all food businesses, including those that produce, process, manufacture, package, label, import, export, or transport food products.

The SFCR was introduced to replace several existing regulations, including the Meat Inspection Act, the Fish Inspection Act, and the Canada Agricultural Products Act, among others. The SFCR aims to provide a streamlined regulatory framework that can ensure the safety of food products and protect the health of Canadians.

 

What is needed to get an SFCR license?

  1. Determine Eligibility: Check if your business falls under the scope of the SFCR. The regulations apply to businesses involved in activities such as manufacturing, processing, importing, exporting, packaging, labeling, and storing food products for interprovincial trade or export.

  2. Register with My CFIA: Create an account on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) online portal, My CFIA. This portal is used for various activities related to SFCR compliance, including license applications.

  3. Identify Licensing Requirements: Determine the specific requirements for your type of food business. The requirements vary based on the size of your business, the type of activities you conduct, and the products you handle.

  4. Develop a Preventive Control Plan (PCP): Most businesses need to develop a Preventive Control Plan (PCP) that outlines how they will manage food safety hazards. The PCP should cover areas such as hazard identification, preventive controls, monitoring, corrective actions, and verification.

  5. Meet Labelling Requirements: Ensure your food labels comply with the SFCR’s labeling requirements. This includes providing accurate and clear information about the product’s identity, ingredients, allergens, nutritional information, and contact information.

  6. Implement Traceability Systems: Establish traceability systems that allow you to quickly identify and trace the movement of your products throughout the supply chain. This is essential for product recalls and investigations.

  7. Submit Licensing Application: Complete and submit your license application through the My CFIA portal. Provide accurate information about your business activities, products, and facilities. You may need to pay a fee, depending on your business size and activities.

  8. Inspection and Compliance Verification: CFIA may conduct inspections to verify your compliance with SFCR requirements. This can involve reviewing your PCP, records, and facilities. Address any issues identified during inspections promptly.

What are the consequences of non-compliance with Safe Food Regulations?

Non-compliance with safe food regulations can have serious consequences for businesses. In addition to the potential for harm to consumers, enterprises that fail to comply with regulations can face fines, legal action, and damage to their reputation. The CFIA has the authority to issue recalls of food products that do not meet safety standards. Businesses that fail to comply with these recalls can face fines and legal action.

safe food for Canadians regulations SFCR License

Why would Health Canada deny a companies SFCR License?

  1. Incomplete Application: Failure to provide all the required information and documentation in your application can lead to denial. Make sure to fill out all sections accurately and provide supporting documents as requested.

  2. Non-Compliance with Preventive Control Plan (PCP): If your Preventive Control Plan (PCP) is incomplete, inadequate, or does not effectively address food safety hazards, your application could be denied. Ensure your PCP is comprehensive and aligns with SFCR requirements.

  3. Lack of Proper Documentation: Insufficient or inaccurate records can lead to application denial. You need to maintain accurate records related to your PCP, traceability, and other relevant activities.

  4. Non-Compliance with Labelling Requirements: If your food product labels do not meet the SFCR’s labeling requirements, your application could be denied. Make sure your labels accurately and clearly display all required information.

  5. Failure to Implement Traceability Systems: If you are unable to demonstrate effective traceability systems that allow for quick identification and recall of products, your application might be denied.

  6. Incorrect Classification: Misclassifying your business or product type in the application can lead to denial. It’s important to accurately classify your business activities and products to ensure proper evaluation.

  7. Non-Compliance with Physical Facility Requirements: If your food processing or handling facilities do not meet the required standards for hygiene, sanitation, and safety, your application may be denied.

  8. Insufficient Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: Any major violations of food safety regulations, past recalls, or history of non-compliance with food safety laws can negatively impact your application.

  9. Failure to Address Previous Issues: If you have been previously issued corrective actions or non-compliance notifications by the CFIA and have not adequately addressed them, your application could be denied.

  10. Misrepresentation or Fraud: Providing false information or intentionally misleading the CFIA in your application can result in denial and legal consequences.

  11. Failure to Pay Applicable Fees: If you are required to pay licensing fees and fail to do so, your application may not be processed.

  12. Inadequate Food Safety Training: If your employees lack the necessary food safety training or certifications, it could impact your application’s approval.

safe food for Canadians regulations SFCR License

Why is SFCR compliance important for food entrepreneurs?

SFCR compliance is crucial for food entrepreneurs to ensure that their products are safe for consumption and meet the regulatory requirements set by the government. Non-compliance with SFCR can result in penalties, fines, and legal action. In addition, non-compliance can damage your brand reputation and result in a loss of consumer trust. By ensuring SFCR compliance, you can demonstrate your commitment to producing safe and high-quality food products, which can help you gain a competitive advantage in the market. SFCR compliance can also allow you access to new markets, both domestically and internationally, by meeting the regulatory requirements set by those markets.

 

How we will help you obtain a SFCR License

We review your business activities, determine the licensing scope, ascertain food category (identifying your products into the right food category), ensure how many licenses you need to apply in case of multiple activities, check documentation requirements based on Preventative Control Plan, Customer Protection Plan and Traceability. Moreover, we categorize activities as manufacturing, import and export. Based on critical activities, we develop the right set of preventative control plans that are suitable for business needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

SFCR Licensing applies to food for human consumption that is imported, exported, or inter-provincially traded for commercial purposes. According to Part 3, Division 1 of the SFCR, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issues a license to businesses that are engaged in conducting food-related activities that include:

  • Importing and exporting food
  • Slaughter of food animals
  • Exporting food commodities
  • Storage and handling for CFIA inspection
  • Storage of food for shipping to another province or out of Canada
  • Various activities to handle such as manufacturing, treating, processing, grading, preserving, packaging or labelling

Businesses or individuals that import food in Canada need a licence to import under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). They are solely responsible for meeting other requirements of SFCR. The importer must be located in Canada.

The license application is through an online portal with a fee associated with the respective activity.  Licenses are valid for a particular time period and will be subject to renewal.  As well, any changes to the food license (eg. activities, site location, etc.) will require an amendment to the SFCR License.

We review your business activities, determine the licensing scope, ascertain food category (identifying your products into the right food category), ensure how many licenses you need to apply in case of multiple activities, and check documentation requirements based on Preventative Control Plan, Customer Protection Plan and Traceability. Moreover, we categorize activities as manufacturing, import, and export. Based on critical activities, we develop the right set of preventative control plans that are suitable for business needs.

This can be accomplished by clicking the renew or amend buttons when its status is active in your CFIA account. If you need assistance with renewing your CFIA License, Quality Smart Solutions can help.

Your SFCR license number will be present on your license once it has been issued.

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