CFIA Safe Food Licence Business Activities Requiring a Licence updated

Please be advised that the guidance Food business activities that require a licence under the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations has been updated 15 July 2021. Updates are made in the following areas -section 4.1, 5.12 and 5.21 on food activity requirements.

You will need to obtain a Safe Food licence for the following:

1) In section 4.1 Manufacturing, processing, treating preserving
The list now includes the “thawing” activity, the licence requirements for holding live fish in water

The general meaning of manufacture, process, treat and preserve overlap, therefore the activities listed below may fall under more than one of these terms.

Licence required

Unless otherwise specified in Section 5: Sector-specific scenarios, you need a licence if you conduct one or more of the following activities on food for export or interprovincial trade. These activities are considered common examples that fall under “manufacture”, “process”, “treat”, “preserve”.

cooking (including pre-cooking)crushingculling
irradiatingmarinatingmechanically separating
pasteurizingpicklingpolishing (using a processing aid)

2) In section 5.12 Wet storage of shellfish and holding live fish in water

Licence required

You need a licence if you package and label the shellfish you store in wet storage facility, or the live fish you hold in water, for export or interprovincial trade.

No licence required

You do not need a licence if you only hold the shellfish in wet storage or hold the live fish in water and do not conduct any other activities, such as packaging and labelling.

3) In section 5.21. Storing and handling an edible meat product in its imported condition

Licence required

You need a licence to store and handle an edible meat product in its imported condition for inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Examples of activities which may occur under an SFC licence for “storing and handling an edible meat product in its imported condition” for the purpose of inspection include

  • extracting samples (cutting, drilling or sawing)
  • freezing, packaging, staging, thawing, trimming or unpacking
  • refrigerating or storing at room temperature
  • removing parts with defects or contamination

Contact CFIA:

1-800-442-2342 (Canada and U.S.)

1-613-773-2342 (local or international)

Business hours are 8 am to 8 pm (Eastern time), Monday to Friday, except holidays.