SFCR Licencing Requirements For Manufactured Food Businesses – Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts

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Legal Implementation Timeline & Enforcement Discretion

As of July 15, 2020, many food businesses dealing with
manufactured foods in Canada will need to obtain a license and meet
preventive control and traceability requirements under the Safe
Food for Canadians Regulations
(“SFCR“).
The CFIA has recently confirmed that it does not plan to postpone
the legal implementation date.  More specifically, there are
no plans to change the transition provisions of the SFCR,
which provide for a delayed application of the licensing,
preventive controls and traceability requirements for manufactured
foods. As such, the July 15, 2020 SFCR deadline remains unchanged
in law.  

While the legal implementation date has not been delayed, given
the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CFIA
has stated they will employ enforcement discretion and only take
appropriate action, when needed, to protect consumers. CFIA has
indicated it will not prioritize compliance activities associated
with the July 15, 2020, coming into force provisions – as such:

  • Importers of manufactured food will
    generally not encounter delays or disruptions in their imports
    simply because of not having a Safe Food for Canadians licence
    yet.
  • Domestic manufacturers can continue
    to operate while they apply for a licence.

CFIA’s notice to industry cautions that it remains the
responsibility of food businesses to ensure the safety of their
products at all times.

While CFIA has indicated it will employ enforcement discretion
until further notice, this month CFIA advised industry that it is
gradually resuming non-critical inspection activities during the
COVID-19 pandemic. The CFIA has begun contacting some businesses to
make arrangements for the scheduling of inspections both on-site
and paper based.

Timelines for Manufactured Food

The timelines for complying with the implementation of
licensing, preventive controls, written preventive control plan and
traceability requirements for manufactured foods depend on the type
of business activity, business size and level of trade:

  • Businesses that import food, or
    manufacture, treat, preserve, grade, package or label food for
    interprovincial trade and have more than four employees and gross
    annual food sales greater than $100,000 must have a license,
    preventive control plan, preventive controls and traceability by
    July 15, 2020.
  • Businesses that import food, or
    manufacture, treat, preserve, grade, package or label food for
    interprovincial trade with gross annual food sales greater than
    $100,000 that have four or fewer employees have until July 16, 2021
    to implement a preventive control plan and preventive controls. A
    written preventive control plan is not required for such businesses
    that have gross annual food sales of $100,000 or less. Licensing
    and traceability requirements must be in place by July 15,
    2020.
  • Businesses that manufacture, process,
    treat, preserve, grade, package or label food for
    export
    must also have a licence by July 15, 2020. 
    Such businesses with gross annual food sales greater than $100,000
    and have more than four employees must also have preventive
    controls by July 15, 2020, otherwise, the applicable timeframe is
    July 16, 2021. There are no requirements for a written preventive
    control plan unless they request an export certificate or other
    export permission from the CFIA.  Traceability must be
    implemented by July 15, 2020.

There are some specified scenarios where businesses dealing with
manufactured foods do not need to comply with licensing, written
preventive control plan, or preventive control requirements for
businesses – however most businesses must meet the
traceability requirement by July 15, 2020. CFIA’s guidance on
the various scenarios and timelines is available here:
SFCR timelines – All other foods (manufactured
foods)
.

Changes to Compliance Activities

CFIA continues to encourage affected businesses to apply for a
licence. While CFIA has advised that any changes to the CFIA’s
prioritization of these compliance activities will be announced
with adequate lead time once the situation allows, it is important
to consider that under normal conditions, CFIA’s processing
timelines for an SFCR licence are:

Safe Food for Canadians Licence applications: 15
days

Safe Food for Canadians Licence applications that require
pre-issuance verification*: May exceed 15 business days

*Pre-issuance verification by CFIA may be triggered, for
example, when information is missing from an application or has
been entered in error. In some cases, an application may have to be
referred to an Area Inspector for a pre-issuance inspection. When
any of these scenarios occur, additional processing time will be
required.

Given inspection services are resuming, businesses operating in
the manufactured food sector may want to consider beginning the
administrative process to set up a MyCFIA profile in advance and
ensure that they have a plan to obtain a licence, and meet
preventive control and traceability requirements under the
SFCR.

Read the original article on GowlingWLG.com

Originally published by Gowling, July 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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