Facts about the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations for grain handling facilities
Frequently asked questions
What are the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Safe Food for Canadians Regulations? Do they apply to my grain handling facility?
The Safe Food for Canadians Act and Safe Food for Canadians Regulations are new laws that modernize and strengthen the Canadian food safety system. The act and regulations consolidate 14 separate food-related statutes into one act and one set of regulations.
The Safe Food for Canadians Act and Safe Food for Canadians Regulations encourage a focus on preventive measures and risk-based controls rather than on prescriptive requirements. Depending on the scope of a grain handling facility’s operations, different components of this legislation would apply. For example, all grain handling facilities must have a traceability system in place if they send their grain to another province or export it, while only the elevators processing grain products require a licence from CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).
Do I need to be licensed by CFIA?
Depending on your grain handling facility’s scope of operations, you may require a licence from CFIA to carry out grain processing activities:
A grain handling facility would need a license if the grain they produce is:
- processed (crushed, dehulled, ground, milled, soaked or steamed) for export or interprovincial trade, or
- packaged and labelled for sale to consumers for export or interprovincial trade.
A grain handling facility would be exempt from licensing if the grain they produce is:
- handled only using processes that do not change the physical properties of the grain, such as aerating, blending, cleaning, drying, fumigation, polishing, sifting, sorting and splitting, and
- not for sale to consumers, will be further processed and has a label applied or attached, stating “For Further Preparation Only”.
CFIA has information and interactive tools on their website to help companies assess their licensing requirements under the regulations.
You can visit CFIA’s web page: Food business activities that require a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/requirements/licensing/food-business-activities/eng/1524074697160/1524074697425
Or use CFIA’s licensing interactive tool: https://na1se.voxco.com/SE/93/SFCR_licence/?&lang=en
My grain handling facility does not require a CFIA licence. Do I still need to do anything to be compliant with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations?
Yes, even if your grain handling facility is exempt from CFIA licensing, it still must meet the following requirements:
- If grain is traded interprovincially or is exported, the facility must implement a traceability system that will allow them to track the movement of grain forward to the immediate customer (does not apply to consumers) and back to the immediate supplier (or producer).
- A label must be applied or attached to the product, or accompanying the grain, that contains the following information:
- Common name of the product
- Name and principle place of business of the person by whom or for whom the food grain was handled
- A lot code or unique identifier
- The statement “For Further Preparation Only”
- You must maintain clear and readable records to support your traceability system for two years that can be provided to CFIA on request. Electronic records may be used if they are provided in a single file and in a format that can be accessed using commercially available software.
My grain handling facility is required to have a CFIA licence. What do I need to do prior to applying for a licence to be compliant to Safe Food for Canadians Regulations?
In order to obtain a licence under the regulations, your grain handling facility must demonstrate that it has preventive controls in place. You may also be required to develop and implement a documented preventive control plan. The requirements for preventive controls and preventive control plans are:
- The facility must implement controls that prevent hazards associated with the grain handling environment and the people working in that environment, including:
- sanitation and pest control
- treatments and processes
- maintenance and operation of establishments
- unloading, loading and storing food
- employee competence
- employee hygiene
- employee health
- complaints and recalls
- Preventive Control Plan:
- The facility must implement a preventive control plan, unless they are involved solely in export activities and do not need export certificates, or they gross less than $100,000 in food sales annually.
- The preventive control plan is a document that demonstrates how the facility identifies and controls food safety risks based on the Codex Alimentarius principles of HACCP. In addition, the facility must also identify how they will meet the regulations’ consumer protection and food animal welfare requirements, if applicable, in the preventive control plan.
I am a grain broker. Do I need to be licensed by CFIA?
No, the party who prepares the grain for export (either under their own licence or by another licence holder) is the party responsible for maintaining the safety of the grain, and will be the party contacted by CFIA in the event of a food safety issue or recall. Brokers, who facilitate or arrange export transactions between buyers and sellers, do not require a licence. If a broker would like to request an export certificate with themselves as the consignors, they would need a licence and preventive control plan.
I am importing grain. Do I need to be licensed by CFIA?
You would not need a license to import raw, unprocessed grain if it is not a consumer-prepackaged food and is intended for further processing and has a label applied, attached or accompanying the product bearing the expression “For Further Preparation Only”. Licensing requirements would apply if you were importing processed grain products or grain packaged for sale to consumers.
I ship grain in bulk. How do I meet the labelling requirements of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations?
If the bulk shipment is transported directly in a conveyance, you may print the product labelling requirements, including the expression “For Further Preparation Only”, on the documentation accompanying the shipment, such as the bill of lading. If the bulk grain is shipped in containers other than a conveyance, such as in totes or large bags, any labelling requirements in Part 11 of the regulations must be applied or attached to the product (in other words, on the container). The expression “For Further Preparation Only” can accompany the product on the bill of lading.
If I have CGC HACCP or CIPRS+ HACCP certification, will I meet the preventive control and preventive control plan requirements of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations?
The Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) worked extensively with CFIA to ensure that the requirements for grain handlers were consistent with industry best practices and the level of risk associated with the product. As a result, the requirements of the CGC HACCP and CIPRS+HACCP programs are very consistent with the preventive control and preventive control plan requirements in the regulations.
However, if you are required to be licensed under the new regulations, you will need to include the non-food safety requirements of the regulations, such as packaging and labelling. Grain handling facilities that hold CGC HACCP or CIPRS+ HACCP certification will meet most of the requirements of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, but they are still responsible for reviewing the regulations and ensuring that they meet all required components.
The preventive control requirements sound a lot like prerequisite program requirements and the preventive control plan sounds a lot like a HACCP plan. Are they the same thing?
There are many similarities between the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations’ preventive controls and preventive control plans and the prerequisite program requirements and HACCP plan requirements found in voluntary food safety standards. Both prerequisite program requirements and preventive controls are the measures a company takes to prevent food safety hazards from occurring in the food-handling environment. HACCP plans and preventive Control plans both involve conducting a hazard analysis and identifying which control measures reduce the risk of identified hazards. However, preventive controls and preventive control plans also address other non-food safety requirements of the regulations such as consumer protection (for example, truthful labelling of food) and animal welfare requirements for slaughter facilities.
CFIA’s interactive tool says that I am exempt from CFIA licensing. However, I need a Certificate of Free Sale in order to export to a certain country, and CFIA’s website says I need to be licensed in order to get this certificate. Should I apply for a licence?
Yes, in order to obtain a Certificate of Free Sale from CFIA you must be licensed under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations and implement the regulations’ requirements for preventive controls and preventive control plans. A licence would be issued for the following activities:
- storing of food to be exported
- export of food
You must also determine if the country to which you are exporting considers grain handling activities as processing (for example, aerating, blending, cleaning, drying, fumigation, polishing sifting, sorting, splitting). If the country to which the grain is being exported considers any of these activities to be processing, and they are conducted as part of your facility’s grain handling operations, the scope of your licence must also include:
- prepare food for export - process, treat, preserve, manufacture
More information is available on CFIA’s website:http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/exports/certification/certificate-of-free-sale/eng/1507732648572/1507732649258
Are grain products included in the mutual recognition agreement between CFIA and the United States’ Food and Drug Administration?
The Food Safety Systems Recognition Arrangement between Canada and the USA provides modified requirements for Canadian exporters under the US Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA) Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). Canadian grain handling facilities who are licensed and in good standing with CFIA will be considered compliant to FSVP requirements under FSMA and will not require further assessment by American importers.
Grain handling facilities exempted from CFIA licensing are not included in the Food Safety Systems Recognition Arrangement and American importers must assess them for compliance to FSVP. To be compliant with FSVP requirements, a grain handling facility must provide evidence to the American importer that they have a documented food safety plan that includes:
- A written hazard analysis, which entails an evaluation of biological, chemical and physical hazards, and a determination of risk posed by the product. Modified requirements would apply if:
- the product is a raw agricultural commodity and cannot be consumed without the application of an appropriate control, or
- the product can be consumed without the application of an appropriate control but further processing downstream is used to control the hazard. The statement “Not processed to control [identified hazard]” must be included in accompanying documentation
- If modified FSVP requirements apply, no further supplier evaluation is required.
- A recall plan
- Corrective action procedures.
I produce grain that is destined for the pet food or bird food market. Do the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations apply to grain destined for these markets?
No, if the grain is not intended for human consumption, the regulations do not apply. However, the grain must be labelled with the statement “Not for use as human food”.
When do grain elevator companies need to be compliant to the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations’ requirements?
The regulations came into force on January 15, 2019; however, certain requirements are being phased in through to July 2021. To see the compliance timetable specific to your facility, please visit CFIA’s webpage: SFCR timelines – Unprocessed food used as grain, oil, pulse, sugar or beverage: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/timelines/unprocessed-foods/eng/1527862622171/1527862622498
How do I apply for a licence? How much does it cost and how long is it valid?
You must enroll using the MY CFIA platform (www.inspection.gc.ca/MyCFIA) and apply for a licence online. The licence costs $250 and is valid for two years.
- Canadian Identity Preserved System and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
- Canadian Identity Preserved Recognition System
- Canadian Grain Commission Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point
- Accreditation of third party audit companies for grain safety and identity preserved quality management systems for grain
- Date modified: