Fact sheet: Preventive food safety controls

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements are being phased in over the following 12 to 30 months. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

Under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), most businesses need to put in place preventive food safety controls to:

  • manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package or label food to be exported or sent across provincial or territorial borders
  • grow or harvest fresh fruits or vegetables to be exported or sent across provincial or territorial borders
  • handle fish on a conveyance to be exported or sent across provincial or territorial borders
  • slaughter food animals from which meat products are derived to be exported or sent across provincial or territorial borders
  • store and handle a meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
  • import food

Also, most businesses need to document their food safety controls in a preventive control plan (PCP). Exceptions to this requirement are:

  • exporters of food (other than meat products or fish) who do not need an export certificate
  • businesses with $100,000 or less in gross annual food sales. This exception will not apply to businesses that conduct any activity in respect to food animals, meat products, dairy products, fish, eggs, processed egg products, or processed fruits and vegetables
  • Businesses that do not require a written preventive control plan still need to have preventive controls in place such as sanitation and pest control

Find out if and when you need a PCP by using our preventive control plan interactive tool. It only takes 5 minutes.

Preventive food safety controls

Preventive controls help to prevent food safety hazards and reduce the likelihood of contaminated food entering the market, whether they are prepared within or outside of Canada.

Preventive food safety controls address hazards and risks in such areas as:

  • sanitation and pest control
  • treatments and processes
  • equipment
  • maintenance and operation of establishments
  • unloading, loading and storing food
  • employee competence
  • employee hygiene
  • employee health
  • complaints and recalls

What is a PCP?

A PCP is a written document that demonstrates how risks to food and food animals are identified and controlled. The controls are based on internationally recognized Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. The PCP also includes a description of measures taken related to packaging, labelling, grades and standards of identity.

For importers, a PCP describes how the importer and its foreign suppliers are meeting preventive food safety control requirements.

Why it matters

Industry is responsible for preparing, exporting and importing safe food. Preventive food safety controls help businesses to identify and correct issues early in the production process.

While many food businesses already have preventive controls in place, applying food safety requirements more broadly further enhances the safety of food across sectors. This better protects Canadians, helps avoid costly recalls, and ensures continued market access with countries that require similar food safety measures and mandatory control systems.

Learn more at www.inspection.gc.ca/safefood.

You may also be interested in:

Date modified: