Language selection


Understanding the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: A handbook for food businesses
Overview of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

Scope of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

17. The SFCR generally applies to food for human consumption (including ingredients) that is imported, exported, or inter-provincially traded for commercial purposes. It also applies to the slaughter of food animals from which meat products to be exported or inter-provincially traded may be derived.

18. Some of the traceability, labelling and advertising, and grading provisions also apply to intra-provincially traded foods. Refer to Part 5, Part 11, and Part 12 within this handbook for more details.

19. The Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and SFCR do not apply to the following

  • food carried on a conveyance, for example ferries, airlines, trains, for use by crew and passengers
  • food intended and used for analysis, evaluation, research or exhibitions, weighing 100 kg or less, or in the case of eggs, is part of a shipment of five or fewer cases that are each intended to contain 30 dozen eggs
  • food not sold for use as human food (for example pet food, cosmetics), and labelled as such
  • foods imported from the United States onto the Akwesasne reserve, for use by a permanent resident of the reserve
  • foods imported in bond (in transit) for use by crew and passengers of a cruise ship or military ship in Canada
  • food inter-provincially traded between federal penitentiaries

20. Such food must still be safe and meet applicable requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and the Food and Drug Regulations.

Fundamental new elements of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations

21. While there are many provisions in the SFCR which will be covered later in this handbook, there are three fundamental new elements that are of particular interest to most food businesses. They include the following

  1. Licensing (Part 3): This Part enables the CFIA to: authorize persons to conduct certain activities through licensing; identify food businesses, collect information about the activities of food businesses; and take responsive action when non-compliant activities are found.
  2. Preventive Controls (Part 4): This Part describes key food safety control principles that must be met by all food businesses. It also outlines the requirements for developing, implementing, and maintaining a written preventive control plan that documents how food businesses meet food safety, humane treatment and consumer protection requirements (for example, for labelling, packaging, standards of identity, grades, and net quantity).
  3. Traceability (Part 5): This Part requires that food be traced forward to the immediate customer and backward to the immediate supplier (one step forward, one step back).

Incorporation by reference

22. There are 17 documents incorporated by reference into the SFCR. The content of these documents are considered law, but they are maintained outside of the regulations. There are 11 documents prepared by the CFIA and 6 documents prepared by third parties.

23. Documents that are incorporated by reference have the flexibility to be changed and updated to reflect advances in science, innovation, and global trade agreements. It is the CFIA's policy to consult food businesses and interested parties prior to making changes to the documents prepared by the CFIA which are incorporated by reference.

Date modified: