Import Licence Requirement for Manufactured Foods and Common Errors


Trade Update • January 11, 2024

he Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) issued a Food import notice in November to inform importers that on February 12, 2024, the CFIA will activate the automatic verification of Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licences for imports of manufactured foods. Food import transactions will be automatically rejected unless a valid SFC licence is declared.

Common Errors

In preparation, the CFIA has been monitoring import transactions of manufactured foods and have noticed instances of concerns. They have identified two common licensing errors, first the use of an incorrect AIRS end use code. The second issue is where an inappropriate HS code/OGD extension is used to declare the food. For example, if the code for fresh herbs (a fresh fruit and vegetable) is used for the import of dried herbs (a manufactured food) and the importer’s licence only covers the import of manufactured foods, the transaction will be rejected.

To prevent these types of errors, we encourage importers to work with their customs broker to ensure the HS code/OGD extension is appropriate for the food being imported.


The CFIA has also updated its guidance on Importing food with a valid Safe Food for Canadians licence. If you import food into Canada, refer to this guidance for more information on automatic licence verification and the steps you can take to make sure your SFC licence is valid. Holding a valid SFC licence before you submit your import declaration will help to prevent your food shipment from being delayed at the border.

If you have questions about applying for or amending an SFC licence, visit the CFIA’s Food licences page. Refer to Food imports for more information on food import requirements.

For questions about CFIA regulated imports/exports please contact us.


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