A Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence is required to import certain foods into Canada
Customs Notice 21-04
Ottawa, March 11, 2021
1. This Customs Notice replaces Customs Notice 20-01 Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence to import food to Canada.
2. The purpose of this Customs Notice is to advise commercial importers that as of , an SFC licence is mandatory to import foods such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, processed eggs, processed fruits or vegetables, honey, maple and, fresh fruits or vegetables. Goods requiring an SFC licence are identified in the CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS).
3. Shipments without the required SFC licence will experience delays or refusal of entry at the border.
4. Licences/registrations issued under previous CFIA food legislation (e.g. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations, Dairy Products Regulations), are no longer valid.
5. Electronic transactions will automatically be rejected by the CFIA if the valid SFC licence is NOT entered in the Integrated Import Declaration (IID).
6. For paper transactions, importers are required to complete a CFIA 5272, Request for Documentation Review (PDF) for foods that are indicated as "Refer to CFIA – NISC" in AIRS. This form is to be faxed to the CFIA's National Import Service Centre (NISC). The NISC will conduct a documentation review and return a recommendation by stamping the CFIA 5272. The stamped 5272 must then be presented to the CBSA as part of the release request.
7. Businesses must obtain their SFC licence before presenting their shipment at the border. They will not be able to obtain an SFC licence at the border. Applications normally take 48 hours to process, but may take longer.
- Note: The SFC licence number must be declared exactly as it was issued by the CFIA. All of the numbers and letters must be entered correctly on the import declaration.
8. To determine whether you need a licence and how to apply for one, please refer to the CFIA's licensing interactive tool. Importers requiring an SFC licence are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible to avoid delays or rejection of shipments at the border.
9. Contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) here.
10. Contact the National Import Service Centre at 1-800-835-4486 or email@example.com. If you have questions or need assistance. The NISC staff handle inquiries regarding import requirements for all commodities regulated by the CFIA and, when necessary, coordinate inspections for import shipments.
11. Consult the CFIA’s website for further details on Safe Food for Canadians (SFC), the SFC licence and commercially importing food to Canada.
12. Importers are advised to consult the CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS).
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