If you import manufactured foods into Canada, then you need a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) license.

Starting Feb. 12, 2024, SFC licences will be automatically checked for imports of manufactured foods. Without a valid SFC licence, your shipment will be denied entry into Canada.

If you’re working with a customs broker like Clearit, make sure to provide them with your SFC license number so that they can enter it on the import declaration.

If you need a license, don’t wait! It could take 15 business days or more for your application to be processed. Licenses will not be issued manually at the border.

You can obtain a Safe Food for Canadians licence through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) through your My CFIA account.

You can learn more about applying for a SFC licence here.

SFC licences are valid for 2 years. You must renew your licence before it expires or you will need to apply for a new one.

What commodities are considered manufactured foods?

Manufactured foods are considered to be any of the following commodities:

  • alcoholic beverages
  • non-alcoholic beverages
  • confectionary, sweeteners, snack foods, and non-bakery desserts
  • fats and oils
  • food chemicals
  • food derived from grains
  • infant foods such as formula
  • nuts, seeds, and grains
  • spices, herbs, flavours, condiments, and dressings
  • vegan dairy substitutes
  • “multiple foods” which includes nutritional supplements and meal replacements
  • “food not otherwise listed” which includes plant-based proteins, cricket flour, yeast, and seaweed

What do I do if my manufactured food import shipment is rejected?

If your transaction is rejected, you (or your broker) will receive one or more rejection messages that describe the reason for the rejection. Your import will be denied entry into Canada until you fix the error(s) and resubmit your import declaration.

Rejection messages could be sent for things like:

  • The Registration Number field was left blank
  • The licence number provided is not in the CFIA database
  • The licence number provided is suspended, cancelled, or expired
  • The licence number provided is not used for the activity of importing food
  • The licence number provided was not issued for the commodity being declared

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