Fact sheet: manufactured food (all other food) businesses
Requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) apply to business in the manufactured food sector that import or prepare food for interprovincial trade or export.
On this page
- What are manufactured foods (all other foods)
- Key requirements
- Related links
What are manufactured foods (all other foods)
Generally, the manufactured foods commodity consists of foods that fall outside the scope of the other 8 food commodity categories (dairy, egg, fish and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, honey, maple, meat and poultry products, and processed fruits and vegetables).
Manufactured foods include:
- alcoholic beverages
- confectionary, sweeteners, snack foods and non-bakery desserts
- fats and oils
- food chemicals
- grain derived foods
- infant foods
- multiple foods (such as prepared vegetarian meals, vegetarian pizza, formulated liquid diets, and meal replacements)
- non-alcoholic beverages
- nuts, grains, seeds
- spices, herbs, flavours, condiments, dressings
- vegan dairy substitutes
- foods not otherwise listed (such as cricket flour, dried mealworms and plant-based protein foods)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for oversight of the SFCR on behalf of the Government of Canada. The CFIA supports compliance by providing regulated businesses with the tools, resources, guidance, and services they may need to become familiar with and follow regulatory requirements.
Key requirements of the SFCR include licensing, preventive controls, including preventive control plans, and traceability. These requirements apply to most manufactured food businesses that import or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial boundaries. On January 15, 2019, these requirements came into force for food businesses in the previously federally registered sectors (for example, meat, dairy, fish, egg). However, a –phased-in implementation approach was adopted, which provided additional time for manufactured food businesses to comply.
SFCR licensing requirements provide the CFIA with a means of communicating with all regulated parties (subject to certain exceptions), which facilitates an improved emergency response when food safety issues occur. Licensing requirements came into force on July 15, 2020, for all businesses that import or manufacture, process, treat, preserve, grade, package or label manufactured foods for interprovincial trade or export. Review the guidance titled Food business activities that require a licence under the SFCR and use the Licensing interactive tool to determine if any activities you conduct require a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence. The CFIA has also developed guidance on what to consider before applying for a licence, which can help you create your My CFIA account, determine your licence structure, and apply for your licence.
Create your My CFIA account
The first step to obtaining an SFC licence is to sign up through the CFIA's secure and convenient online service portal – My CFIA. Refer to Before you sign up for My CFIA to learn how to sign up for a contact profile and how to sign up for business use, including the information you will need to have on hand. CFIA has also developed My CFIA user guidance, which contains helpful videos and instructions on how to sign up and manage your account.
Activity and commodity selection on the SFC licence application
When you apply for an SFC licence it is important that you select the most appropriate activity(ies) and commodity(ies) so that your licence accurately reflects your business.
Keep in mind
Refer to Annex A of the guidance document What to consider before applying for a Safe Food for Canadians licence for descriptions and examples of the food commodities you need to choose from when completing the licence application. Refer to Annex B for descriptions of the licensable activities under the SFCR.
Check out the My CFIA landing page and Food licence landing page for more tools and guidance.
2. Preventive control and preventive control plan requirements
The preventive control requirements, including preventive control plans, came into force for all manufactured food licence holders on July 16, 2021.
These requirements establish the expected food safety outcomes to prevent food safety hazards and help prevent contaminated and non-compliant food from entering the Canadian market place. They are based on the internationally recognized principles of food hygiene, including Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
Check out Regulatory requirements: Preventive controls to learn more about the preventive control requirements.
Preventive control plans
Most manufactured food businesses that import, as well as those responsible for manufacturing, processing, treating, preserving, grading, packaging or labelling a food to be exported or traded interprovincially, are required to have a preventive control plan (PCP). A PCP is a written document that demonstrates how hazards to food and food animals are identified and controlled. It also includes elements relating to packaging, labelling, grading, and standards of identity.
The following documents outline specific criteria and provide examples of program components to help you meet the requirements related to PCPs:
- Regulatory requirements: Preventive control plan
- Preventive control plan templates for domestic food businesses
- A guide for preparing a preventive control plan for importers
Exception to the PCP requirement
The SFCR has an exception to the PCP requirement for manufactured food businesses that make $100,000 or less in gross annual food sales. To help you determine if you qualify for this exception, CFIA has created guidance on what you should consider when calculating gross sales. It's important to note that if you would like to obtain an export certificate or other export permission from CFIA, this exception does not apply. You must have a PCP in place before the export certificate or other export permission can be issued.
Keep in mind
Even if you qualify for the PCP exception, the other preventive control requirements still apply to you, including documentation requirements. For example, the documents that describe your complaints and recall procedures.
Check out the Preventive controls landing page for tools and guidance, including guides and templates for preventive control plans, to help you get started.
The traceability requirements came into force on July 15, 2020 for manufactured food licence holders, retailers and businesses that export or trade interprovincially. They support food safety investigations and recalls, by tracing the food one step forward and one step back through the supply chain.
The traceability requirements have 2 components: documentation requirements and labelling requirements.
If the traceability-specific documentation requirements apply to your food business you'll need to prepare, keep and retain these traceability documents. To meet these requirements, you must be able to track the movement of the food you provide in the supply chain – forward to the immediate customer and back to the immediate supplier, as applicable. Refer to the Traceability interactive tool to determine if the traceability documentation requirements apply to your business.
As part of the traceability-specific labelling requirements, most foods are required to have a lot code or unique identifier applied, attached or accompanying the food when it's provided to another person. Traceability information that is applied or attached to a food or that accompanies a food will allow both you and the person to whom received the food to effectively identify whether a particular food is subject to a recall. Refer to traceability-specific labelling requirements to determine if the traceability-specific labelling requirements apply to your business.
Refer to Regulatory requirements: Traceability for an explanation of the traceability requirements.
Check out the Traceability for food landing page for more tools and guidance.
- Getting started: Toolkit for businesses
- Understanding the SFCR: A handbook for food businesses
- Questions and answers: Safe Food for Canadians Regulations
- Glossary of key terms
- The Guidance Finder
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