Get your Safe Food license ahead of 2019 regulation change

If you export or import food products across federal or provincial boundaries you’ll need to obtain a Safe Food for Canadians license soon. New regulations governing food exports come into effect as early as January 15, 2019, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has opened up the application process for the required license just ahead of implementation.

The new license replaces the manufacturers’ declaration; this declaration will no longer be used for exports as of January 15, 2019. Food businesses must obtain a licence and certificate of free sale through My CFIA. Part of the regulatory change also replaces 14 sets of regulations with one to help “smooth out” the administrative process, the government says.

The license will set a business owner back $250 and is valid for two years. According to a news release, the new set of regulations are designed to protect Canadian families by maintaining safety by focusing on prevention and allowing for faster removal of unsafe food from the marketplace.

Food business may need to comply with new rules as early as January 15, or may have the next two to three years to meet the rules, depending on what you sell, how you sell it, identified risks and business size. Food exporters and importers should familiarize themselves with the rules as they apply to their sector.

“These regulations will simplify and strengthen rules for food in Canada, whether produced here or imported into the country,” says Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, in a release. “By putting the emphasis on prevention and faster removal of unsafe foods from the marketplace, the new rules will build on Canada’s world-class food safety system and go even further to protect Canadian families.”

If a business currently has a registration or licence with the CFIA, the registration or licence will remain valid under the Safe Food for Canadians license until it expires — even if the date of expiry of the renewed registration or licence occurs after January 15, 2019, provided there is a statement on it indicating that it is also a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

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