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Food Safety Licenses

The requirement to have a food safety license is not a matter of choice

As of January 15, 2019 , it is now mandatory to hold a food safety license in order to operate a food establishment in Canada. There are of course exemptions, but they are limited , specific and documented.

These obligations fall under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations or SFCR which is administered and managed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ( CFIA ). The regulation has been implemented gradually by priority sectors according to the risk that the foodstuffs represent and the levels of controls associated with it.

The My CFIA interface allows businesses to register and describe their establishment and include information that clearly identifies them. Once companies are clearly identified and information about their establishments is validated, they can apply for food safety licenses themselves .

Businesses that need several licenses because of the fact that they manufacture/trade several different types of products have the option of requesting a single license covering all types of products or individual licenses for each product.

One of the important things to know is that the CFIA maintains an online register of food safety licenses issued but the products associated with each license are not identified in order to keep the system simple in terms of viewing the register and also to prevent fraudulent use of a license.

Licensing options: what is the best strategy when making several different types of product

  • Applying for a single license can simplify the process

  • Requesting multiple licenses can allow:

    • Avoid paralyzing operations in the event of a problem with a product that leads to the loss of a license in the case of an establishment that has only one license for several types of products manufactured or traded in the same place

    • To organize the sharing of licenses with your freight forwarders or customs brokers more easily and clearly in the event that you have one or more specific brokers for each type of product associated with a license

  • In the event that you have contiguous lines or buildings which manufacture very different specific products (for example: a factory line or section which makes dairy products and another which makes meat or fish products) and which are physically separated from each other, you would benefit from requesting separate licenses

  • If you export products that require your establishments to be on export eligibility lists and other products that do not require it ; you would benefit from requesting separate licenses

In addition to managing food safety licenses , your space on My CFIA also allows you to designate resource people, identify your forwarders or brokers, view inspection reports, etc.

We are able to assist you with the management of your food safety license (s) and help you determine the best strategy for your business and establishment (s). In addition, we also offer you the possibility to manage for you, in the My CFIA space, your license files in the case of multiple licenses, to keep your files up to date and to follow up in the event of changes in compliance requirements or regulations that have an impact on your operations . This will allow you to stay up to date, to have peace of mind while continuing to meet regulatory and normative compliance requirements and those of your customers (including those stipulated in the GFSI standards).

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