New regulations for importing fruits and vegetables are now in effect
As of January 15, 2020, the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), will be enforcing new regulations regarding businesses that deal in fresh fruits and vegetables.
The new regulations are intended to allow the SFCR to focus on preventing unsafe food to reach the marketplace, as well as removing it from the marketplace faster.
Under these new regulations, most businesses will be required to maintain:
- Preventive controls that address food safety hazards such as microbiological contamination to food and that help to prevent contaminated and non-compliant food from entering the marketplace;
- Written preventive control plans that document the risks to food and how these risks are being controlled; and,
- Traceability documentation that tracks the movement of food one step forward and one step back in the supply chain.
Additionally, new requirements for labelling of consumer-prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables that are not packaged at the retail level are also now being enforced. However, businesses will have until January 15, 2021, to use up existing packaging.
Further, businesses that import fresh fruit and vegetables that currently require a Safe Food for Canadians licence and do not have one may experience delays or rejection of their shipment at the border, and may be subject to other enforcement actions.
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