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Safe Food for Canadians Act – An Overview

As the name suggests, the purpose of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) is to make food safer for Canadians. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that oversees food safety was originally created under the Food and Drug Act. However, four different Acts also defined and delineated their powers: the Fish Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. These Acts were written, and have been updated, at different times over the decades, and so the role of the CFIA was sometimes unclear. The SFCA consolidates the food-related aspects of these four Acts into one.

The Act basically has three main objectives:

1. Improving Food Safety Oversight to Better Protect Consumers. This Includes:

  • New protection against, and authority to address, deceptive practices, tampering and hoaxes, including increased penalties
  • Better food traceability, as the current legislation does not include a requirement that companies have traceability systems in place
  • Improved import controls based on registration or licensing of importers and government authority to hold an importer accountable for the safety of the foods they are importing (see Foreign Food Safety Systems Recognition Framework below).

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