On January 15, 2019, the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) went into effect and they apply to many businesses that export food across provincial or international borders. It’s an important milestone in food safety, and it’s meant to improve safety even further, while also adding in several other benefits to businesses.
Let’s take a look at why the SFCR is important, why it’s being implemented, and what the changes mean for food businesses and your career.
The SFCR Is Designed to Standardize Food Safety Regulations
Previously, 14 sets of regulations governed the food industry, such as Meat Inspection Regulations, Dairy Products Regulations, and Egg Regulations. Having so many separate regulations was, obviously, a bit confusing. With the SFCR, all of these regulations are brought under one umbrella set of regulations.
Furthermore, food export businesses were concerned that a lack of a single regulatory code for food safety made it difficult for them to sell Canadian food products overseas. The SFCR addresses those concerns by bringing Canadian food regulations into alignment with international standards.
The SFCR Applies Mainly to Businesses that Export Food Out-of-Province
Any business that falls under SFCR jurisdiction will need an SFCR licence in order to keep operating. While the rules are complex and there are plenty of exceptions, in general a food business needs an SFCR licence if it manufactures, processes, labels, packages, preserves, treats, or grades food intended for export to other provinces or internationally. Generally, a food business does not need an SFCR licence if the food it handles will remain within the province. While food businesses importing food from other provinces also don’t typically require an SFCR licence, they must verify that the food business that is exporting the food to them is licensed.
Retail stores and restaurants also don’t need an SFCR licence if they are selling food to consumers within the same province. However, a retail store does need an SFCR licence if it wants to sell food to customers in other provinces. Furthermore, even if a food establishment doesn’t require an SFCR licence, it will need to meet other provincial and municipal government safety requirements, such as having at least one supervisor with a food handling certificate during all opening hours. The SFCR does not replace or change provincial and municipal requirements.
Why the SFCR Is Important for Professionals with Food Safety Certification
Students completing their food safety certification know just how important food safety is. As such, new regulations are often welcome news, as they signal the ever-evolving nature of food safety, as well as the drive to always search for new improvements. One particularly important change is that the SFCR closes a loophole in the previous regulations that allowed businesses to sell up to 20 kilograms of food in another province without a federal licence. Under the SFCR, that loophole has been abolished.
An SFCR licence ensures that food establishments across the country are meeting the same federal health and safety requirements. Hopefully, that will improve overall food safety, reduce recalls, and make it easier for food businesses to export their products overseas.
Are you interested in a career in the food industry?
Contact the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences for more information about how we can help you prepare for the food handler exam and so much more.