CFIA: Better Regulations for Imported Foods

OTTAWA, April 20, 2012: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) today announced plans to develop new regulations that will better protect consumers from unsafe imported foods. The proposed new regulations, a commitment of the Government’s Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, would require food importers to be licensed and have measures in place to keep unsafe food out of the marketplace.

“The vast majority of food entering Canada is safe, but we are continuing to adapt in response to the increasingly complex global marketplace,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Canada imports food from more than 190 countries, and our Government is taking action to maintain the high level of food safety that consumers expect and deserve.”

The regulations are being developed in close consultation with industry so that food safety objectives can continue to be met with minimal burden on business operations. The proposed regulations would include a range of tools and streamlined processes to help importers—particularly small enterprises—transition to the new requirements. A user fee is being proposed to recover the cost of issuing the import licences.

“Whether food comes from across the street or across the ocean, consumers should have confidence in their purchases,” added Minister Ritz. “The measures being proposed would tighten controls on imported foods and build on the significant investments we’ve already made to safeguard Canada’s food supply.”

The CFIA continues to welcome input from all levels of industry and the public as it develops the new regulations. The CFIA consulted nationally on the regulatory proposal in Fall 2010, receiving overall support for the proposal. There will be several more opportunities to provide feedback, including

  • consultations on a user fee proposal for the licensing cost and regime from April 20 to June 29, 2012; and
  • consultations on the proposed new regulations, when published in Canada Gazette, Part I.

All food importers are encouraged to sign up to the Non-Federally Registered Sector listserv to receive email notifications on the forthcoming proposed new regulations and other relevant news. For more information, continue to visit the CFIA website at http://www.inspection.gc.ca.

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