Notice to industry: Importing manufactured foods into Canada with a Safe Food for Canadians licence
November 1, 2023
Most food importers are required to hold a valid Safe Food for Canadians licence (SFC licence) issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
On February 12, 2024, the CFIA will activate the automatic verification of SFC licences for imports of manufactured foods. Food import transactions will be automatically rejected unless a valid SFC licence is declared.
A valid SFC licence to import is:
- active (not expired, surrendered, suspended or cancelled)
- issued for the activity "Importing Food"
- issued for the commodities that are being imported.
The importer's SFC licence number must also be entered correctly on their import declaration.
If a transaction is rejected, the importer's shipment will be denied entry into Canada until their licensing error(s) are corrected and their import declaration is re-submitted.
Refer to the CFIA's updated guidance on Importing food with a valid Safe Food for Canadians licence for more information on automatic licence verification and the steps you can take to make sure your SFC licence is valid.
Holding a valid SFC licence to import before you submit your import declaration will help to prevent your food shipment from being delayed at the border.
Information for non-resident importers
If you are a non-resident importer, your SFC licence must be issued for the activity "Importing Food" as well as for the commodity or commodities you intend to import. Do not select "Exporting Food". In general, the CFIA uses the term "export" to describe sending food from Canada to a foreign state.
If you have questions about applying for or amending an SFC licence, visit the CFIA's Food licences page. Refer to Food imports for more information on food import requirements.
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