Canadian Governor General David Johnson has approved through royal assent the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA), which aims to improve food safety by focusing on unsafe practices, import surveillance and food traceability. Passed unanimously by the House of Commons, the act consolidates some of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA’s) existing food commodity statutes—including the Fish Inspection Act, Meat Inspection Act, Canada Agricultural Products Act, and Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act—although the Food and Drug Act will continue to provide “overarching protection for consumers from any foods that are unsuitable for consumption, including those marketed exclusively within provinces.”
In particular, SFCA expands CFIA’s authority to address food safety risks, deter deceptive practices and develop regulations for tracing and recalling food. The act also gives CFIA the authority to certify all Canadian food commodities destined for export and reinforces import controls by “including powers to register or license importers,” with mechanisms to hold importers accountable for product safety. By streamlining current food safety provisions, SFCA ultimately seeks to align inspection and enforcement powers, “making them consistent across all food commodities, enabling inspectors to be more efficient, and fostering even higher rate of compliance for industry.” See Safe Food for Canadians Act: An Overview, November 19, 2012.