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Trade News

Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


2015 CFIA Rule Changes Mean Federal Licenses Required for all Canadian Food Companies (Canadian Manufacturing)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 > 09:36:37

Huge changes to Canadas food and beverage sector coming in 2015 will have the CFIA (Canada Food Inspection Agency) enforcing federal licensing for all food makers, importers and exporters in the country.

A standardized set of inspection criteria for all food products, as well as an expanded list of goods that fall under the watchful eye of inspectors, are also on the way. As part of the CFIAs efforts to modernize, many of these new regulations will replace regulations that date back to the 1940s.

Says Candace Sider, director of regulatory affairs with customs brokerage and trade consultancy Livingston International Inc.: They call it modernization, (but) its really kind of an alignment with other key government agencies to transform the way that they do business today.

Ushered in with the Safe Food for Canadians Act in 2012, the modernization program calls for all companies to develop and implement scalable preventative control plans.

In the broader sense, the key elements of that safe foods plan is the requirement for quality management, quality control programs, safety programs, prevention control plans, food traceability (and) mandatory record keeping requirements, adds Sider.

Up until now, such programs were voluntary. And while Sider does believe that many companies already have many of these requirements in place now the CFIA is going to enforce them. For everyone. Another component of modernization is increased CFIA oversight and inspection that will see a single model used across the board.

What (that) allows us to do is to bring a bit more structure and transparency to how we are determining risk and how were going to allocate our resources, explains CFIA executive director of modernization Colleen Barnes. Before, we were focused on (certain) commodities but that wasnt necessarily where the risk is, so we wanted to get to a framework approach that allows us to be more structured.

But perhaps the biggest change coming with the program is the requirement for all food makers, importers and exporters to hold a federal license. Currently, the CFIA only regulates importers of meat, fish, dairy and eggs.

The new license will apply to all other food commodities in the country, covering such items as: baked goods and snack foods; infant formula and meal replacements; and coffee and spices.

Says Barnes: We need to know who is doing what in Canada (and) having a licensing regime allows us to get a really good handle on whos importing food, whos exporting it and whos making food thats crossing provincial borders.

There will also be concerns for companies that operate multiple facilities, and how best to protect themselves.

In some cases, (a company) might have five or six different locations, notes Sider. They may not choose to have one federal license number for all locations, because the concern is, in the event of non-compliance, that would affect all locations rather than just one.
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