What the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations mean for consumers
Canada is widely regarded as having one of the strongest food safety systems in the world. But the speed, volume and complexity of food production have brought significant new risks and challenges, including new threats to food safety, changing consumer preferences and the development of prevention-focused international standards.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responding to these challenges to maintain Canada's reputation as a world leader in food safety and to help food businesses keep consumers' trust.
The publication and coming into force of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) is a major step forward in further safeguarding Canada's food supply and enhancing the health and well-being of consumers. The SFCR, which are now in force, simplifies and strengthens rules for food in Canada, whether produced here or imported into the country.
What the regulations mean for Canadian families
The SFCR protects Canadian families by putting a greater emphasis on preventing risks to food safety. The regulations provide clear and consistent rules for food commodities so consumers can be confident that food on grocery shelves is safer to eat, whether it is produced in Canada or abroad. Consumers benefit from:
- safer food
- regulations that focus on prevention and that target unsafe food practices
- tougher penalties for activities that put health and safety at risk
- greater control over imports; and
- faster recalls and removal of unsafe foods from store shelves
The new rules are consistent with international food safety standards, and will strengthen Canada's food safety system, enable industry to innovate, and create greater market access opportunities for Canadian food products exported abroad.
Consumers with allergies
The regulations also help get unsafe food (such as undeclared allergens) off the shelves faster by requiring businesses that import, or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial boundaries to trace their food back to their supplier and forward to whom they sold their products. Retailers are not required to trace their food forward to consumers to whom they sold their products.
The SFCR requires businesses to develop and implement preventive controls to anticipate and address potential food safety risks, including the possibility of unintentionally introducing allergens.
To learn more about the SFCR, visit our tools, information and resources.
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