On November 20, 2012, Bill S-11, the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA), passed third reading in the Canadian House of Commons and awaits Royal Assent.
SFCA consolidates four key pieces of legislation:
- Canada Agricultural Products Act
- Fish Inspection Act
- Meat Inspection Act
- Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (as that legislation relates to food).
Key elements of the SFCA include:
- Mechanism for formalizing/strengthening the controls applicable to imported foods through the ability to create a licensing regime for importers;
Authority to develop regulations on a broad range of food safety issues including:
- the requirement for quality management/quality control programs,
- safety programs and prevention control plans,
- food traceability systems and record keeping requirements, and potentially
- mandatory food hazard/recall notification;
- Prohibition on the importation of unsafe foods (with greater anticipated regulatory/border scrutiny) and a prohibition on the sale of foods that have been recalled by federal order; and
- Significant fines/penalties for contravention of the legislation and possible director/officer liability.