OTTAWA, Ontario – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is encouraging companies to apply for “Safe Food for Canadians” licenses before the country’s new food safety regulations come into force on Jan. 15.

Companies that import, export, process, label or engage in other activities related to food production must be licensed. The new licenses will cost C$250 and are valid for two years.

Under the new food safety regulations, food companies are responsible for creating a written preventive control plan (PCP) that details how the business identifies and controls food safety risks to food and food animals. The controls are based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.

“These regulations will simplify and strengthen rules for food in Canada, whether produced here or imported into the country,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health. “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.”

Food companies also are required to develop traceability systems. Companies must identify the food, be able to trace the food one step back and one step forward. Ingredients and the food animals used in the products also must be traceable. Documentation of the system are to be maintained for two years, be accessible in Canada and provided to the CFIA upon request. Traceability requirements do not apply to restaurants and other similar businesses.

In regard to international trade, the license demonstrates that Canadian businesses meet the requirements under the United States’ Foreign Supplier Verification Program so that they can continue trading with the US.

Other regulations focus on labeling, standards of identity and grades; organic products, packing in food containers and other food safety standards and guidelines.

Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food said: “Maintaining and enhancing the quality of our exports is vital to achieving the government of Canada’s trade target of growing agriculture and food exports to $85 billion by 2025. The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations are consistent with international food safety standards and will further enhance Canada’s food safety system while positioning food businesses to be more innovative and competitive, both at home and abroad.”

The CFIA noted a current registrations or licenses with the agency will remain valid under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations until it expires, even if the expiration date of the renewed registration or license occurs after Jan. 15, 2019. Once expired, the law requires business to apply for a Safe Food for Canadians license.