On May 1, 2013 the CFIA announced that they will no longer be conducting food label reviews, as part of their mandatory pre-market registration, for certain meat and processed products. This regulatory change is effective immediately, and the onus is on the company to ensure their labels are in compliance with the Regulations.
CFIA has recently announced (May 1, 2013) that they will be repealing the mandatory food label review requirement for labels and recipes for certain meat and processed products. This statement was published in the Canada Gazette II on May 8, 2013 and is effective immediately, and applies to Sections 110 of the Meat Inspection Regulations and Section 25(1) of the Processed Product Regulations. The repeal of mandatory label reviews has been instituted in order to reduce the ‘red-tape’, and thus the administrative burden on the industry. However, there have been no changes to labelling acts and regulations as they pertain to food safety and consumer protection. The CFIA has indicated that any label reviews in progress prior to the repeal of the legislation will be completed, but any labels received after this time will not be reviewed as they will no longer have the regulatory authority to do so.
Although, we applaud Health Canada for assisting industry with a less burdensome path to market, this announcement is a double edged sword. It is important for industry to be aware that although food label reviews of certain meat and processed products is no longer required, the onus is on the company to ensure that their label is in compliance with the Regulations. Furthermore, CFIA will continue to conduct inspection activities to ensure label compliance through a risk-based approach. If the CFIA discovers non-compliance (e.g. issues with allergens, nutrition, and compositional standards) they will take action according to their compliance and enforcement policy with actions ranging from issuing warning letters, suspension or cancellation of licenses, or if necessary product recalls.
However, for companies selling products other than those that required mandatory label review, this will create a level playing field as all companies will be required to ensure label compliance on their own. At dicentra we understand the importance of ensuring that your labels are accurate and in compliance. We have a team of scientific and regulatory staff that can assist you completing your food label review to ensure your label meets the requirements of the Regulations, while also being ‘shelf-friendly’. Please contact us at 1-866-647-3279 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the food label review services that we offer.