OTTAWA, Ontario – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced plans to require food importers to be licensed and to have food safety plans.

"The vast majority of food entering Canada is safe, but we are continuing to adapt to the increasingly complex global marketplace," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Canada imports food from more than 190 countries, and our Government is taking action to maintain the high level of food safety that consumers expect and deserve."

CFIA said the proposed regulations would help importers — particularly small enterprises — transition to the new requirements. The agency also is proposing a user fee to recover the cost of issuing the import licenses.

"Whether food comes from across the street or across the ocean, consumers should have confidence in their purchases," Ritz added. "The measures being proposed would tighten controls on imported foods and build on the significant investments we've already made to safeguard Canada's food supply."