Update on the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA)
Many of our Canadian food importers continue to ask about the status of the Safe Foods for Canadians Act (SFCA), which was passed by the federal government in 2012. Just recently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a statement that it is targeting late 2016 for pre-publication of the Act, which will then open a 120-day comment period. After that, the CFIA will analyze the comments submitted and evaluate potential modifications, and then bring the SFCA into force.
It's important for importers to note that while the regulatory changes under SFCA are being made, all current legislation and regulations remain in effect. Over the next several months, Welke Customs Brokers will be educating the import community as new details of SFCA become available, and will be encouraging food importers to participate in the public comment period.
The SFCA consolidates the authorities of multiple food statutes into one Act, modernizing and strengthening food commodity legislation to better protect consumers. Four food-related statutes have been consolidated:
- Canada Agricultural Products Act (CAPA)
- Fish Inspection Act (FIA)
- Meat Inspection Act (MIA)
- Food-related provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (CPLA)
In short, the SFCA is intended to benefit Canadian consumers through new prohibitions against food commodity tampering, deceptive practices and hoaxes, strengthened food traceability and improved import controls. For industry, SFCA offers modernized and simplified food safety legislation and enhanced market access. The SFCA is a culmination of a process that began in 2007 with the adoption of Canada's Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, following up on the federal government's commitment to modernize food safety legislation.
You are encouraged to follow Welke Customs Brokers on Twitter at @WelkeCustoms for SFCA updates and timelines.