Health Canada Finalizes Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

Health Canada Finalizes Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

June 26, 2018 By

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations under SFCA comes into force on January 15, 2019. Are you ready?


On June 13, 2018, the Minister of Health announced the publication of the final Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. These regulations have been in the development stages since November 2012, following the enactment of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA).


The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations is the biggest change in food regulations for Canada in the last 25 years. The Safe Food for Canadians Act applies to food, consolidating 14 different food regulations into one. Under these regulations new licensing, preventive control and traceability requirements apply to food businesses that import or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial boundaries.


The new requirements for food companies include:

  • Companies that manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package and label food for interprovincial trade and export; import food; store or handle meat products that need CFIA inspection; or slaughter food animals are required to hold a CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) licence
  • Companies are required to have a written and implemented food safety preventive control plan
  • Companies are required to have processes in place for tracking and tracing food one-back and one-forward
  • (retailers only) are required to maintain one-back traceability records and, depending on other activities routinely performed, requiring meeting additional standards


The regulations come into force on January 15, 2019. This allows enough time for both industry and government to better adapt to the changes and to create a smoother transition.


Safe Food for Canadians Regulations versus GFSI & Other Food Safety Certifications


Facilities that already have a food safety program rooted in GFSI, CFIA Food Safety Enhancement Program, and the Quality Management Program for Seafood, should review and adjust their plans as needed to meet all the applicable preventive control requirements of the new regulations. Any food safety plan that is based on Codex principles are as acceptable as types of Preventative Control Plans, which are now required.


Foods previously regulated solely under the Food and Drug Regulations that were not eligible to receive export certificates from the CFIA may now be eligible for certification under the SFCR. If you need an export certificate from the CFIA, you will need to have a licence and a written preventive control plan even if the food you are exporting is exempt from these requirements.


You can find timelines for implementation of the various food product groups here. In addition, CFIA has published numerous guidance documents to facilitate industry understanding and compliance which can be found here.


We encourage anyone having difficulties with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations or in the general area of food safety to contact us for further discussions and assistance.


dicentra provides sought-after guidance on product and marketing compliance, quality assurance and safety standards, research and development, new ingredient assessments and overall regulatory strategies for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. We can be reached at 1-866-647-3279 or