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Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program manual
Section C – Shellfish processing

10. CFIA licensing and export lists

10.1. Licensing of operators of establishments

For any shellfish that is manufactured, processed, treated, preserved, graded, packaged or labelled in Canada and is sent or conveyed from one province to another or exported, those activities must be conducted by a licenced operator.

Each operator shall be licensed in accordance with the requirements of the CFIA. For additional information please see the CFIA Centre of Administration for Permissions website.

The issuance of a licence under the SFCR does not relieve the licence holder of the obligation to comply with any other relevant federal, provincial, territorial or municipal legislation or requirements. It is the licence holder's responsibility to inquire about these obligations.

10.2 Export lists and export certification

Licensed operators that export shellfish may need to be listed on foreign country approved or certified lists prior to being eligible to export. In addition to being on an approved or a certified list, some countries require each shipment of shellfish to be accompanied by an export certificate. Information on export lists and export certification can be found on the CFIA Food exports website.

11. Preventive control plans

11.1 General

CFIA licensed operators are to develop, maintain and implement a preventive control plan (PCP) that meets the applicable sections of part 4 of the SFCR. Guidance on preparing a preventive control plan is available on the CFIA website. Information on shellfish hazards can be found in Identification, analysis and control of hazards that present a risk of contamination of live shellfish.

In addition to the basic requirements that are in noted above, licensed operators of shellfish establishments need to develop and implement preventive controls for the items listed below as applicable for their operation.

11.2 Shellfish specific controls

11.2.1 Master harvesters

The use of master harvesters by licensed operators can be an effective part of preventive control measures when shellfish are sourced from multiple harvesters and areas. Master harvesters can complement other control measures used for demonstrating that shellfish are harvested from appropriate areas in open status.

If master harvesters are used, they are to be identified in the preventive control plan where applicable, along with the duties that they are responsible for implementing. This may include training harvesters, monitoring, verification, corrective action and record keeping.

11.2.2 Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Licensed operators that produce shellfish for raw consumption are to include validated control measures for Vibrio parahaemolyticus in their preventive control plan. Additional information on Vibrio controls can be found in measures to control the risk of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in live oysters and validation of preventive controls for Vibrio parahaemolyticus.

11.2.3 Wet storage

Licensed operators may wet store shellfish for reasons such as inventory control, maintaining product freshness or de-sanding. There are potential food safety risks that may be introduced to the shellfish during wet storage. Depending on the type of wet storage system and the use of treatment and/or filtration systems, it may be necessary to validate control measures. Preventive control considerations for wet storage can be found in Wet storage of bivalve shellfish.

11.2.4 Relay and depuration

A CFIA licensed operator may also be licensed under the Management of Contaminated Fisheries Regulations to harvest shellfish from areas under prohibition order and decontaminate them. Decontamination may be achieved by relaying shellfish to approved areas or by depuration in an establishment. Decontamination control measures must be incorporated in preventive control plans. Validation of depuration and short term relay control measures is required. For additional information on relay and depuration requirements please refer to section 9.4.2 and Depuration of bivalve shellfish.

11.3 Labelling and traceability

11.3.1 Commingling policy

Shipping containers should be filled with shellfish that represents the same harvest lot. It is permissible to include more than one lot if the shellfish are labelled as such and appropriate records are kept.

Commingling by a licensed operator is to be accounted for in a preventive control plan.

11.3.2 Labelling – Prepackaged shellfish for sale in Canada

Please refer to the Food Labelling for Industry webpage.

11.3.3 Labelling – Shellfish for export

Shellfish destined for export is not subject to labelling requirements under the SFCR, provided such shellfish are identified with a label that bears the word "export" or "exportation." Licensed operators should consult the destination country for any specific labelling requirements.

11.3.4 Traceability

Licensed operators are responsible for ensuring shellfish are traceable one step forward to the immediate customer, and one step back to the immediate supplier. Traceability requirements apply to the common name of the shellfish, shellfish harvest area, harvester, lot codes, harvest and shipping dates, addresses and contact information of suppliers and clients.

Further information on traceability can be found on the traceability fact sheet and by using the traceability interactive tool. Interpretive guidance on traceability requirements is also available on the CFIA website.

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