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Fact sheet: exporting food

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

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Under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) new food safety requirements apply to businesses that prepare food to be exported outside of Canada.

Is your business ready?

As an exporter, the food you export needs to meet Canadian requirements, as well as those of the importing country, before you can export your food. When there are no requirements in the foreign country, you still need to comply with applicable Canadian law.

Key requirements

1. Licensing

In most cases, exporters need to ensure that:

As import requirements for certificates vary from one importing country to another, please verify the need for a certificate before you ship. Exporters need a licence in order to request an export certificate or Certificate of Free Sale.

Find out if and when you need a licence by using the licensing interactive tool. It only takes 5 minutes.

2. Preventive controls

As an exporter, you are required to keep food safe by:

Knowing your food

Knowing your foreign market

In addition, you may be required to keep food safe by:

Writing a preventive control plan – Write down and review regularly that:

A PCP demonstrates that, as an exporter, you understand the risks associated with the food you export. It sets out the applicable preventive controls to the food you export and describes the measures you are taking to control those risks.

The SFCR requires that food to be exported be prepared by a licence holder. If you need to obtain an export certificate from the CFIA, you require a licence as well as a written PCP.

Find out if and when you need a preventive control plan (PCP) by using the preventive control plan interactive tool. It only takes 5 minutes.

3. Traceability

Under the SFCR, you need to keep clear and readable records that trace where you sourced your food and to whom you provided it. This can significantly reduce the time it takes to notify foreign counterparts in the event that a product needs to be recalled.

Find out what traceability requirements apply to you and when by using the traceability interactive tool. It only takes 5 minutes.

Why it matters

The SFCR requires that foods exported from Canada are prepared under internationally recognized food safety controls. This enhances market access for Canadian exports.

Learn more at and access tools including:

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