New food rules allow for monetary penalties

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

OTTAWA – Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) of up to $15,000 can now be issued for violations by food businesses that threaten food safety and market access for Canadian goods.

AMPs are an additional option the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) can use to address violations under federal regulations. By expanding the use of AMPs across all food sectors, the CFIA will now have a consistent and comprehensive set of tools to enforce compliance with the requirements for all food in Canada.

The amendments to the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (AAAMPR) were published in Canada Gazette Part II and are now in force. These apply to both businesses and individuals.

The introduction of AMPs for all food sectors follows the January 2019 coming into force of the Safe Food for Canadians Act along with the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, which consolidated 14 regulations into a single set of consistent requirements for all food businesses.

Depending on the food commodity, type of activity and business size, compliance with some requirements was necessary on January 15, 2019 while others are being phased in over the following 12 to 30 months.

The new regulations will require food businesses that import or prepare food for export or to be sent across provincial or territorial borders to have licenses, as well as preventive controls that outline steps to address potential risks to food safety. They will also help reduce the time it takes to remove unsafe food from the marketplace by requiring businesses to trace their food back to their supplier and forward to whom they sold their products.

The United States has recently made it a requirement for all Canadian businesses that ship food to the U.S. to meet their new food safety standards. The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations will permit Canadian food businesses to acquire a license that demonstrates that they meet the requirements under the U.S. Foreign Supplier Verification Program and continue trading with the U.S.

Businesses that require a license will have to attest that they have preventive controls in place (such as sanitation and pest control measures) and businesses with $100K or more in annual sales will have to prepare a written prevention control plan.

In consultations on the amendments to the AMPs regulations, both industry and consumers indicated that they want the CFIA to address violations of federal rules that threaten food safety and market access for Canadian goods.