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Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

Introduction

Having a Supplier Food Safety Assurance Program (SFSAP) is one type of control measure that can help ensure that the ingredients, materials and non-food chemicals you receive as part of your food business are safe and suitable for use.

A SFSAP could enable you to:

Purpose

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) created this document as guidance to help regulated parties comply with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

It's your choice

You may use other guidance documents that have been developed by provincial governments, industry associations, international partners or academic bodies, as long as they can achieve the same outcome. Always ensure that the document you choose is relevant for your particular business, product or products, and market requirements.

What's included

This guidance document outlines the recommended elements of a SFSAP:

Refer to the Tell me more! section for additional sources of information that may help you develop your SFSAP.

What's not included

While this guidance document provides information that can help you develop a SFSAP, it is not exhaustive—the specifications of a SFSAP will be unique for each business.

The criteria and requirements of a Supplier agreement will depend on the size and complexity of the food business and the hazards that present a risk of contamination of a food.

Roles and responsibilities

Food businesses are responsible for complying with the law. Compliance is demonstrated by ensuring that the commodities and processes for which they are responsible meet regulatory requirements. If a written preventive control plan (PCP) is required, the food business develops a PCP with supporting documents, monitors and maintains evidence of its implementation, and verifies that all control measures are effective.

CFIA verifies the compliance of a food business by conducting activities that include inspection, and surveillance. When non-compliance is identified, the CFIA takes appropriate compliance and enforcement actions.

Supplier Food safety assurance program

With a SFSAP you can:

A SFSAP should include the following six elements.

1. Product specifications

For each product you are sourcing, determine and outline the specifications (criteria, requirements and guidelines) that apply. For example:

2. Supplier Selection

Select your suppliers on their ability and willingness to provide products that comply with your specifications. A questionnaire can be used to gather the information needed to better understand a supplier, their products and the food safety controls in place. It can help you obtain information on whether the company has adequate controls to ensure the safety and suitability of the products supplied and whether they are subject to oversight by a recognized body.

3. Supplier agreement

The agreement you establish with a supplier states the terms they are expected to meet. For example, the agreement could define:

Each supplier agreement should be signed and dated by you and the supplier.

4. List of suppliers

It is important to maintain a list of the suppliers that you have established an agreement with, and to refer to this list when receiving products - to verify that they are from one of your suppliers.

A list of suppliers could describe:

The supplier list should be up-to-date and amended any time a new supplier is chosen, or an existing agreement with a supplier is terminated.

5. Verification of the SFSAP

The SFSAP should be verified at least annually to determine how well your supplier controls are working. Establish verification procedures that outline:

6. Maintenance of the SFSAP and supplier agreements

Ensure that your SFSAP, including your supplier agreements are amended when there is:

When a supplier fails to take corrective actions, or does not provide evidence showing corrective actions were taken to address an issue with their product, the supplier agreement should be terminated.

Tell me more! Further reading

The following references contain information that helps explain food safety controls, demonstrates how to develop them, and provides examples. CFIA is not responsible for the content of documents that are created by other government agencies or international sources.

CFIA references

Other references

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