Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)
On 15 January 2019, the Organic Products Regulations, 2009 were replaced by Part 13, Organic Products, of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR). Under the SFCR, any food, seed, or animal feed that is labelled as organic is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
In case you are wondering how this affects your operation, we would like to outline a few of the changes below, which will affect our COR certified clients.
• Yeast will now be covered under the scope of organic products since, under the SFCR, yeast is considered a “food” as per Section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act and, as a food commodity as defined in Section 2 of the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA).
• Section 344, SFCR - includes the new organic aquaculture standard (CGSB 32.312). Organic certification for aquaculture products (including seaweed) began on January 15th, however, there will be a 2-year transition period before it is required that all organic aquaculture products comply with the organic aquaculture standard (CAN/CGSB-32.312). There is no expectation that all CBs should become accredited to certify aquaculture products.
• The CFIA will be discussing/negotiating possible equivalencies to include aquaculture. All other equivalency arrangements remain the same.
General certification information:
• Section 346, SFCR - a specified timeline was added whereas the information contained in an application must be submitted no later than 6 months after an organic certificate is issued, and on-site verification must be conducted within 12 months. The purpose of this timeline is to ensure applications are submitted on time, thereby avoiding extensions of organic certification.
• Section 349 (2), SFCR – A period of time is mentioned in which corrective action for a Non-Compliance must be taken. It is not specified in the SFCR, but is, however, specified in the COR Operating Manual. Failure to take corrective action in order to avoid suspension within a time period specified by the CB may result in suspension of certification (Non-Compliances must be addressed within 30 days of their receipt, as per COR Operating Manual C.2.3.1).
• Section 349 (3), SFCR – states that a CB may grant an extension, only once, of the period in which corrective action must be taken (the plan shall include a completion date not exceeding 90 days from receipt of the Non-Compliance, COR Operating Manual C.2.3.1).
• Section 350 1 (b), SFCR - A new requirement allowing a CB to cancel an organic certificate immediately if an operator provided misleading or false information in its application, or at any time during the period of validity of certification, without having to suspend as an initial step. It is different from the requirement for suspension when non -conformities are found during a scheduled inspection.
• Section 350 1 (c), SFCR –the SFCR clearly states that a certification body must cancel an operation’s certification if, while the operation is suspended, it conducts any activity with respect to a food commodity that is identified in the certificate.
• Section 359 (3), SFCR – using the COR logo for advertisement or information purposes for things that are not food commodities no longer requires an application to the CFIA. It is expected that the COR logo will be used appropriately, as specified in the SFCR.
If you have any questions about how Part 13 of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations affects your certification, or if we can be of assistance in the interpretation of the above points, please don’t hesitate to contact the PACS office. For your reference, the COR manual is posted on the new SFCR page under the Organic Products page at: