Food Safety

Recent Updates

Ensuring food safety for Canadian consumers

Food safety is a top priority for Canada’s food retailers. The Retail Council of Canada works closely with governments and other industry partners to ensure that Canada continues to have meaningful, workable, best-in-class food safety standards, and that retailers have the tools and knowledge they need to develop and implement effective food safety programs.  

Advocating for retailers 

Food safety recalls & advisories – Working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) 

Successfully navigating the world of food safety investigations, recalls and advisories is critical for retailers and consumers. RCC is continually working with the federal government to improve the process and ensure that clear, timely and accurate information is available to retailers and Canadian consumers when they need it. 

Significant improvements for retailers on Safe Food for Canadians Regulations 

New food safety regulations came into force in January 2019 – the biggest change in Canada’s food safety laws in over 25 years. RCC helped shape the requirements in a way that was workable. RCC was successful in having enforcement activities around new requirements for the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) postponed to allow food retailers to focus on COVID-19. Postponed requirements include: 

  • All new requirements that were slated to take effect on July 15, 2020 for manufactured foods, including licensing, preventive control plans, record keeping and reporting have been postponed indefinitely. 
  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable lot codes compliance deadline was postponed to January 15, 2021 from January 15, 2020. CFIA posted update guidance here. 
  • Implementation of the requirement to upload a copy of the organic certificate for imported organic products has been postponed to January 2022. 

See RCC’s Guidebook on Safe Food for Canadians. 

Managing food safety and regulatory compliance issues 

Retailers experience common compliance challenges from time-to-time that require support of RCC to resolve with government in a fair manner. Examples of issues include imported food compliance, organic certification documentation, acceptable compliance timelines for ready-to-eat meats, acceptable food safety test methodologies, etc. 

Tools and Resources

Safe Food for Canadians Regulations Guidebook 

Any retailer who sells food – even if they only sell items like gum, bottled water or chocolate bars – are responsible for complying with these food safety regulations. To help Retail Council of Canada members manage new compliance requirements, the association has updated its member exclusive, Safe Food for Canadians: Meeting Regulatory Requirements guidebook. This 3rd edition addresses requirements for all retailers selling any type of food and offers suggestions and resources concerning ways to comply with these updated regulations. 

Download Guidebook 

FoodWise – Food Safety Certification Program 

RCC’s leading FoodWise program offers a complete solution for retail staff food safety training and certification. This program was developed for the certification of owner-operators, store managers, department managers and other key retail employees. 

Find out more 

Main in kitchen

Food Safety and Nutrition Committee (National) 

The Food Safety and Nutrition Committee is comprised of RCC members that sell food as part of their business. The committee helps members to stay ahead of issues related to food safety, recalls, nutrition labelling and consumer education, liaising between industry, NGOs and government to help shape government policy and regulation in a way that makes sense from a business and consumer perspective. The committee also assists with real-time ongoing issues management and helps set the direction, policy and overall framework and approach to food safety and nutrition labelling, helping members navigate and manage related issues.

Join this committee 

Quebec: Food Safety Committee 

The Quebec Food Safety Committee is comprised of retail members in Quebec that sell food as part of their business. The committee helps members to stay ahead of the food safety curve, liaising between industry and government to shape government policy and regulation in a way that’s retail friendly and ensures food safety. The committee also assists with real-time ongoing issues management, helps set up the direction, policy and overall framework and approach to food safety, helping members navigate and manage related issues specific to the province.  

Join this committee 

Contact Jason McLinton, Vice-President, Grocery Division and Regulatory Affairs jmclinton@retailcouncil.orgfor more information on:

  • Joining RCC’s national Food Safety and Nutrition Committee.
  • Individual help on compliance programs including written preventive control plans that comply with the regulations. (Service offered to RCC members only.)

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