As of Jan. 15, 2020, fresh produce companies supplying the Canadian market are subject to new requirements under the Safe Food for Canadians regulations.
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Tammy Switucha, senior director of the food program integration division with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, says the new regulations impact licensed fresh fruit or vegetable businesses as well as growers and harvesters of fresh fruit or vegetables for export or interprovincial trade. “Canada was looking to modernize its food safety legislation and regulations so there was more emphasis on the prevention of food safety risks by producers,” she tells Food Quality & Safety. “We wanted to provide Canadians with an advanced level of protection and feel more consumer confidence in the food supply.”
As per the new regulations, producers need to ensure that they have preventive control in their production facilities where their business is located, in addition to a plan that outlines the risks and control measures they’ve taken. “They must also meet the traceability requirement, which has a record-keeping component to it, and documents that trace their food one step forward and one step back,” Switucha says.
Producers whose gross annual food sales are higher than $100,000 and growers or harvesters whose gross annual sales from interprovincial transactions are more than $100,000 will also be required to have a written preventive control plan.
Switucha says that the new requirements establish the expected food safety outcomes to prevent food safety hazards and help prevent contaminated and non-compliant food from entering the Canadian market. “Businesses are encouraged to familiarize themselves and implement preventive control requirements now to comply with the new requirements.” she says. “We understand these rules are new and we will balance the need for protection with the opportunity to bring everyone into compliance.”