Federal rules for food businesses in Canada
If you are a small business operating in Canada's food sector, there are rules for food safety that you need to follow. Your business may be required to obtain a Safe Food for Canadians licence and have preventive controls and traceability measures in place.
The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) outlines the requirements for food businesses that:
- import food to Canada
- export food outside Canada
- trade food inter-provincially
Even if you only operate within one province or territory, some requirements of the SFCR may still apply to you.
To help food businesses understand the requirements, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) offers a toolkit for food businesses. The toolkit provides a range of information, including:
- whether you need a licence, preventive control measures and traceability records
- requirements for specific food commodities
- packaging and labelling requirements
- inspection and enforcement by the CFIA
- timelines for compliance which vary by food, activity and size of the food business
To access online services, such as obtaining permissions (licences, permits, and registrations) and export certificates, sign up to My CFIA.
In addition to federal rules, provincial and territorial regulations may also apply to your food business, so be sure to check with the authority in your province or territory.
- Understanding the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: a handbook for food businesses
- Fact sheets on the SFCR (available in multiple languages)
- Videos on Canada's food regulations
- Food safety for industry
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