As of May 2013, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has eliminated the pre-market registration of labels and recipes for meat, meat products and processed fruits and vegetables. Registration submissions are no longer being accepted by the CFIA.
While this is a positive development under the Government of Canada’s Red Tape Reduction initiative, it also shifts responsibility for label and recipe compliance for meat, meat products and processed fruits and vegetables more squarely onto industry. Industry is still required to comply with all applicable federal acts and regulations regarding food labelling and compositional standards; however, the CFIA will not review labels or product information prior to the product entering the market and identify issues.
Compliance will only be verified by the CFIA through inspection and enforcement activities. If the CFIA identifies a product as non-compliant during routine inspection activities there are a range of enforcement actions they may take, including (but not limited to) requiring corrective action be taken within a defined period of time (e.g. over-stickering of existing inventory and development of new labels), seizure and detention of products, and product recalls.
In light of this development, industry will have to take proactive steps, and in some cases, implement new internal protocols, to ensure that their labels and recipes are compliant with all federal acts and regulations.