Understanding the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: A handbook for food businesses
Key changes between the pre-published and final versions of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

90. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency examined and analyzed over 1717 written submissions received by various stakeholders during the consultation on the pre-publication of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). A summary of the key messages from these written submissions can be found in the What We Heard Report.

91. Some of the key changes that resulted from the comments received on the pre-publication of the SFCR are highlighted below. As this list is not exhaustive, it is important for food businesses to review the final regulatory text and associated guidance to understand the requirements that will apply to them.

  • Application of the SFCR requirements
    • Introduced a 6 month transitional coming into force period
    • Raised the threshold for PCP exemption from $30, 000 to $100, 000 in gross annual sales derived from food
  • Clarification of definitions (SFCR Part 1)

    Some definitions were changed to reflect industry practices, for example

    • "contaminated": edited to expand the scope to anything that may cause injury to human health
    • "commercial sterility": changed to align with the definition in the Food and Drug Regulations
    • "game animal": reduced the scope to include only ruminants, pigs, and birds; edited to reflect issuance of hunting licences by competent authorities
    • moved the definitions of "meat", "meat by-product", and "mechanically separated meat" to a document incorporated by reference
  • Preventive controls and Preventive Control Plans (PCPs) (SFCR Part 4)
    • Improved clarity and increased use of outcome-based language in the preventive controls provisions
    • Revised text relating to food safety hazards from "prevent or eliminate" hazards to "prevent, eliminate, or reduce to an acceptable level". This aligns with Codex Alimentarius.
    • Existing animal welfare control program requirements from the Meat Inspection Regulations were incorporated into the SFCR requirements for PCPs
    • Modified provisions to support improved humane treatment
    • Included a requirement for operators and importers to document and keep results of recall simulations for two years
  • Traceability (SFCR Part 5)
    • Included a new definition of "unique identifier"
  • Organic products (SFCR Part 13)
    • Limited the scope of oversight required for organic products to only certifying labelling and packaging
  • Other
    • Included a provision to provide CFIA the authority to suspend the recognition of the foreign state's inspection system for meat that are serially non-compliant (SFCR Part 7, Recognition of Foreign Systems)
    • Introduced a Ministerial Exemption that may permit a licence holder to refrigerate a carcass or carcass side before the application of the inspection legend (SFCR Part 8, Ministerial Exemptions)
    • Introduced the Post-mortem Defect Management Program for hogs (SFCR Part 6, Division 7, Meat Products and Food Animals)
    • Included an additional Incorporation by reference document covering Common Names for Prepackaged Fish (IBR)
    • Included additional provisions to maintain the Destination Inspection Service (DIS) (SFCR Part 6, Division, 6)
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