Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

The new Safe Food For Canadians Regulations (SFCR) take effect January 15, 2019. If you are in the food business – manufacturing, packaging, importing or exporting – the legislation may have a major impact on your business. The objective is to improve the safety of the Canadian food supply. The primary components are licensing, preventive controls and traceability.

Do brand owners need to be licensed?

Yes, if they “prepare” food, which is defined by Health Canada as “manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package and label”, for inter-provincial trade (for sale between provinces), import or export.

Brands that use co-packers

Brand owners using co-packers to manufacture their products should ensure the co-packers are licensed and in compliance with the regulations. Understanding the regulations is the key to developing an effective supplier verification process. Conducting due diligence is necessary to protect the brand reputation and mitigate risks.

Support for Small Business

Understandably small business owners dread more legislation in an already heavily regulated industry. On a positive note, the CFIA has made provisions to help small businesses understand regulatory requirements. Also, a staged implementation allows businesses that are not federally registered extra time to comply with certain requirements of the legislation.

Protecting your Brand

The SFCR will help businesses protect and strengthen their brand through risk assessments, preventive control measures and traceability. Food safety may not be sexy like product development and packaging design, but it is a necessary part of a healthy food supply chain. Building a sustainable food business requires ongoing investment in food safety and every employee has a role to play.

Check out these resources to understand the impact on your business…

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

CFIA Toolkit for Businesses

OMAF guide to preparing for traceability requirements

As packaged food specialists, Birgit Blain and her team transform food into retail-ready products. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw Brands and President’s Choice®. Contact her at and subscribe to her Food Biz Blog for valuable advice.

© Birgit Blain

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