Video - Importing Food to Canada

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.

The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) make our food system even safer by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace. All food imported into Canada is now subject to the SFCR. Learn more about the requirements to import food.

Importing Food to Canada – Transcript

[Text on screen: CFIA Safeguarding with Science]

[Text on screen: Safe Food for Canadians Importing Food]

[Cargo ship on the water. Video then moves to port where airplanes and trucks are transporting food products.]

Every day, thousands of metric tons of food and beverage arrive in Canada by sea, land and air.

[Family at kitchen table eating breakfast.]

Thanks to food importers, Canadians enjoy a variety of foods year round.

[An airplane, warehouse and market are displayed on a map. A dotted line is drawn showing the connection between the three.]

Even with one of the best food safety systems in the world,

[A man is on his laptop in a warehouse.]

we must continue to evolve to meet the challenges of a dynamic global food system.

That's why the Government of Canada has implemented the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, which applies to food businesses that import or prepare food for export or interprovincial trade.

[Text on screen: Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, Food Businesses.]

[Copies of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations appear.]

[Text on screen: Key elements, Licensing, Preventive controls, Traceability]

These regulations are built on three key elements that bring Canada's food safety requirements in line with international standards: Licensing, preventive controls, and traceability.

[Screen zooms into a computer screen. Text on computer screen reads [SFC Licence LIC #123AB]]

Licensing – the first element – means that as an importer, you need a Safe Food for Canadians licence from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to import food into Canada.

[Screen changes to a binder with [Preventive Control Plan] written on a paper.]

Secondly, you need preventive controls in place to make sure your food is safe when you import it into Canada.

[Binder flips pages and zooms into a page with [Traceability] written across it.]

The third element – traceability – means you are able to trace where you bought your food and to whom you sold it.

[Goes back to Preventive Control Plan Binder.]

Let's look more closely at preventive controls and what this means.

[Zooms into Importer Preventive Control Plan page. Scrolls down to show [Description of risks] and [Actions taken to control risks] section]

As an importer, you need to understand the risks associated with the food you import and work with your foreign supplier to control those risks.

[Text on screen: How do you do that?]

How do you do that?

[Zooms into Imported food Page in binder. Focuses on arrangement of food products.]

The first step is to know your food.

[Three sections of hazards appear on the screen.]

[Text on screen: Biological, chemical, physical]

This means being aware of any biological, chemical, and physical hazards that pose a risk of contamination to the food.

[Shows Imported Food Page, and scrolls down to Preventive Control Measure checklist. A checklist appears beside each category.]

You need to describe the food you import, clearly identify those potential risks, and outline steps to control them.

[Page turns to Foreign supplier page. Page zooms to staff using safety measure in their production zone.]

[Text on screen: Safe conditions, prepare, store, transport]

The next step is to know your foreign supplier. As an importer, you need to be sure that your suppliers are using safe conditions to prepare, store and transport your product.

[Zooms into image of warning label with a rat inside.]

[Text on screen: Control hazards such as pests]

For example, do you know how your suppliers control hazards such as pests in their food establishments?

[Zooms into image of warning label with peanuts inside.]

[Text on screen: Know allergens in Canada, identify allergens]

Do they know what ingredients are allergens in Canada, and have they properly identified these allergens?

[Zooms into image of warning label with bacteria inside.]

[Text on screen: Take precautions, protect food from contamination]

Have they taken precautions to protect food from contamination like E. coli?

[Zooms into employee washing his hands.]

[Text on screen: Qualified employees]

And are their employees qualified to do their job?

[Zooms out to show all of the employees and warning labels in the factory.]

You need to show that your foreign suppliers meet the same food safety standards required of our domestic manufacturers.

[Goes back to Foreign supplier checklist. Checkmarks appear beside each category in the Preventive Control Measure checklist.]

The last step is to clearly outline those steps in a written plan and keep it up to date.

[Binder flips to Importer preventive controls page. Zooms into page and checkmarks appear beside each category of objectives.]

Preventive controls go a long way toward protecting consumers from unsafe foods, and reducing the chances of costly food recalls.

[Binder flips to Traceability page.]

Keeping clear records is also important when it comes to traceability – the third key element.

[Zooms into Traceability page, checkmarks appear beside each category.]

You need to document where you bought your food and to whom you sold it.

[An airplane, warehouse and market are displayed on a map. A dotted line is drawn showing the connection between the three. A computer screen is displayed with a CFIA Recall warning on display.]

These records become especially important if there is reason to believe a product is not safe for consumers or if it must be recalled.

[Business owner in the warehouse.]

Is your business ready for the regulations?

[Text on screen: Is your business ready for the regulations?]

Find out if and when the regulations apply to your business.

[Computer screen appears.]

Sign up for My CFIA today to access a growing number of online services including, licences, export certificates, as well as electronic payment options.

[Text on screen: Sign up for My CFIA today to access a growing number of online services including, licences, export certificates, as well as electronic payment options.]

[Text on screen: inspection.gc.ca/SafeFood | @CFIA_Food | #SafeFoodCan]

Visit our website and stay connected to learn more about the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

Remember that safe food is your responsibility and good business.

[Text on screen: Safe food is your responsibility and good business.]

[Canada logo]

[Text on screen: © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), 2018.]

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