Reminder: Safe Food License Now a Mandatory Requirement for Imports

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Trade Update • March 14, 2021

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently advised that as of March 15, 2021 food import transactions will automatically be rejected for various commodities unless a valid Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence is entered in the Integrated Import Declaration.

Commodities covered include the following: meat; fish; dairy; eggs; processed eggs; processed fruits or vegetables; honey; maple; fresh fruits or vegetables.

Safe Foods License Validation

To import food regulated under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations into Canada, importers must possess a valid SFC licence issued by the CFIA before presenting their shipment at the border.

An SFC import licence must:

  • be valid
  • cover the activity “importing food”, and
  • cover the commodities that are being imported

Important Notes

Holders of SFC licenses must ensure that their licence profile includes all of the food commodities and sub-commodities that are subjected to the activities specified in a particular license. For example, a person importing french-fried potatoes as well as whole potatoes into Canada must ensure that their licence profile includes the following commodities:

  • Processed fruit and vegetables (sub-commodity Processed vegetables) to represent the french-fried potatoes, and
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (sub-commodity Fresh vegetables) to represent the whole potatoes

Additional examples and information regarding food commodities can be found here.

It is essential that your SFC licence number is entered into the “Registration Number” field in IID exactly as it was issued.

Addressing a frequent point of confusion, this CFIA bulletin clearly spells out the difference for licensing purposes between “fresh” versus “processed” fruits and vegetables.

If you have multiple licences, ensure that the correct licence number is being entered on the import declaration.

Remember also that you can amend your SFC licence at any time without incurring an additional fee through the My CFIA portal.

Need More Information?

Should you have any questions about SFC licensing, don’t hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable trade experts.

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