Complaint Handling SOPs for Non-Resident Food Importers into Canada

Complaint Handling SOPs for Non-Resident Food Importers into Canada How food consumer complaints are managed is an important component of a Preventive Control Plan (PCP) and the Complaints Handling SOP is one of the major components of compliance evidence in a PCP that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) expects. This SOP is a requirement for Canadian-based food manufacturers/exporters, domestic importers, and Qualified Non-Resident Importers (NRIs). To make a complaint, consumers can contact food companies physically based in Canada directly. For NRIs it is a little bit different. The CFIA defines NRIs as foreign-based food companies that [...]

2021-11-11T21:32:03+00:00November 11th, 2021|

CFIA Update on labeling for Plant-based and Simulated Meat Products

This past summer the CFIA released a report on feedback received from an online open survey to stakeholders and consumers regarding what labelling information is important to them for plant-based and simulated meat products. Once relegated to the confines of health food stores and farmers markets, plant-based and simulated meat substitutes are finding their way into mainstream channels.  Their rising popularity is driven mainly by consumer focus on health and concerns with the impact that traditional meat products are having on the environment. In light of these shifting consumer preferences, industry and government agencies both in Canada and [...]

2021-10-12T22:02:10+00:00October 12th, 2021|

Microbial Contamination Control Strategies for Spices, Dried Culinary Herbs, and Edible Seeds

Spices, dried culinary herbs, edible seeds are important food commodities the world over and relied on to add flavour and zest to food during preparation. Spices, dried culinary herbs, edible seeds are important food commodities the world over and relied upon to add flavour and zest during food preparation. Studies have shown that microbial levels on these dry (low-moisture) food matrices are often exceedingly high. In spices for example, Salmonella, Bacillus spp. (including Bacillus cereus), Clostridium perfringens, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella and Cronobacter spp. are among the main pathogens, with Salmonella triggering recalls most often. Pathogens can have a prolonged existence in foods and [...]

2021-09-22T13:06:28+00:00September 21st, 2021|

Obligations as a SFC License Applicant for SFC License

As per Safe Food for Canadians Regulations [SFCR], it is the responsibility of the SFC license applicants to develop, implement, and maintain Preventive Controls (PC’s), Preventive Control Plan (PCP), and Traceability Procedure (when applicable to operations and their products), complaints procedures etc. prior to be eligible for obtaining the License. CFIA makes this requirement very clear during the online application process for applicants to declare whether they have a “Written Preventive Control Plan” in place; and only by answering “Yes” to this question, the application can be submitted. While applicants may not be subjected to inspection immediately after [...]

2021-09-20T15:23:17+00:00July 26th, 2021|

Preventive Control Plans for Honey Producers and Exporters

Honey has deep roots across many cultures and traditions with significant health benefits due to its inherent nutritive properties. Honey, a viscous golden liquid, is often labelled as nectar in many folklores. It is a most appreciated and valued natural product since ancient times. Honey is produced by bees, which collect the nectar and pollens from the hearts of flower. The import and export of honey has been on the rise for many years now. With this gaining popularity is also an increase in instances of adulteration such as the deliberate addition of sugars or other cheap sweeteners. [...]

2021-07-20T20:43:34+00:00June 9th, 2021|

Mycotoxins Risk for Food Manufacturers and Importers

Canadian Food Inspection Agency [CFIA] protects consumers by safeguarding Canada’s food supply. One of the tools that the agency uses is targeted sampling and testing to detect food safety risks. It helps monitor the levels of chemical and microbiological hazards in the food supply chain and subsequently develop risk management strategies to minimize risks to Canadians. During 2018-2019, the agency collected samples and tested for the presence of and levels of mycotoxins in many food products such as corn products, crackers, other grain (non-staple) products, pasta, and gluten-free products. Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites produced by certain fungi [moulds], which [...]

2021-06-24T20:44:48+00:00May 18th, 2021|

Avoiding Border Rejections–Preventive Control Plans for Importers

2021 is an important year for Canadian food importers and exporters as enforcement of Preventive Control Plans (PCP), Preventive Controls (PC), and Traceability requirements go into full swing later this year. Even though enforcement began gradually in 2019, food companies were afforded a grace period of over two years to become fully compliant. In short, regulators require Canadian food importers and exporters to have the PCP, PC, and Traceability to qualify for, and obtain the SFC license. A serious challenge currently facing companies is holding a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) license without a proper or in some cases [...]

2021-06-24T20:47:15+00:00April 8th, 2021|

Food and Drug Regulations Nutrition labeling and Ingredient Listing Deadline

Food and Drug Regulations were amended on December 14, 2016 to include better nutritional labelling, ingredients listing of the prepackaged food products. These changes were made to support Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy initiative by making the labels more simplified and easier to read at the point of purchase (Figure 1 below). The 5-year transition period ends December 14, 2021, however with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and resulting restrictions, timelines have shifted as well additional flexibilities are being provided to support the industry. Figure 1: Original and New Nutrition Facts Table Format Source: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-labelling-changes.html Highlights of [...]

2021-04-08T21:06:04+00:00February 12th, 2021|

Implementing Effective Preventive Control Plans for Canadian Food Manufacturers and Importers

A Preventive Control Plan (PCP) is required under the Safe Food for Canadian Regulations [SFCR] for food manufacturers and importers. At its core, the purpose of a well written PCP is to protect consumers from food-related illnesses and injury. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) defines a PCP as a written plan outlining the measures and actions taken to ensure “that food is safe for the consumer, is fit for human consumption, and conforms to safety and labelling requirements as prescribed by all applicable Canadian food legislation.” The written document outlines: activities taking place at your facility that can [...]

2021-01-06T14:00:15+00:00October 21st, 2020|

Creating a Comprehensive Food Traceability Plan

Traceability has become more important than ever as food product supply chains become increasingly complex.  Traceability records not only provide supply chain visibility and risk reduction, it also helps companies to support their quality control systems from production, processing to distribution. Having proper traceability records is a CFIA requirement under Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR).  They directly impact the effectiveness and timeliness of food safety investigations and to remove products quickly from the market, as well provides a pathway to trace the problem back to the root and prevent future issues. As products move from one entity to [...]

2021-01-07T13:46:33+00:00September 28th, 2020|
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