Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West | Italian Agrifood Export to Canada: why we are still talking about Food Safety again
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07 Nov Italian Agrifood Export to Canada: why we are still talking about Food Safety again

The note from the Ministry of Health of 20 October 2020 clarified some doubts raised by Italian companies that want to continue exporting to Canada after 31 December 2020 and avoid the detention of goods. The Centro Studi Italia-Canada has tried on several occasions to clarify. The intervention of the director Paolo Quattrocchi on the subject.


Paolo Quattrocchi


A few days later, we return once again to deal with the new food safety regulation in Canada for two reasons, which are somehow connected.

  1. The first reason is the time factor.
    As we have underlined in other interventions, the deadline for Italian companies to adjust their safety standards in relation to the production of food products that they intend to export to Canada expires on 30 December.
    Failure to comply within this period will result in cancellation of the companies from the list of exporters to Canada and in any case the detention of goods at customs.

  2. The second reason why it is necessary to return to the topic is the recent note from the Ministry of Health with which, albeit limited to the export of meat and meat products to Canada, clarifications were provided to the previous note of 2 July 2020 . (Please note on the same subject also the note of 27.2.2019 with which the Health Ministry) intervened with respect to the RSFF, as reported by the Italian Union of Public Veterinary Medicine)



There was confirmation, albeit indirectly, of what the Centro Studi Italia Canada has communicated and supported since 2017, before the new law on food safety in Canada was published and well in advance of its entry into force.

Consequently the important reform of the food safety system in Canada would have produced consequences also for the Italian exporting companies to Canada and, above all, that it would have been appropriate then, what is now necessary and urgent: to work to put Italian exporters in condition of not being prejudiced as a result of failure to adapt.


As already noted several times, the SFCR (Safe Food for Canadians Regulation) has completely revolutionized the food safety system in Canada, eliminating the 14 previous laws and grouping them into a single corpus iuris within which, in addition to the enunciation of the inspiring principles of the legislation, the different regulations by type of product find space.


It is true, as noted, that Canadian legislation as such applies to Canadian citizens (importers in this case).


It is equally true that the SFCR indirectly reverberates on foreign (Italian) exporters where the non-compliance with the rules in the production of food goods makes those products no longer compliant with the new legislation and therefore puts the Canadian importer in the condition of not consider those certain products.

Moreover, the Canadian reform had long been announced by the Food Safety Modernization Act, the US reform in the same sector, which came into force in 2016.


The two regulations, contrary to what some believe, are completely different. In fact, being compliant with one does not mean also being compliant with the other, so much so that our exporting companies must follow two distinct paths if they are interested in both markets.


It’s just a matter of time.

The Canadian legislation, in fact, was built on the principles that inspire the new Codex Alimentarius to which the EU will necessarily have to adapt its legislation on food safety.


So what changes for Italian companies that export to Canada?


It changes a lot.


Which Italian companies exporting food products to Canada are affected by the new legislation?


All of them.


As a Centro Studi we have tried to say this on various occasions.


Through articles and dedicated interviews disseminated through the CSIC website, also published following direct meetings with members of the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) held in Nice – on the occasion of the Global Food Safety Conference– and in Toronto – on the occasion of North America Summit on Food Safety.


We also talked about it at various conferences, training opportunities and web conferences with trade associations and with prominent international speakers such as:

Nevertheless, the lack of perception of the problem could cause, as stated in the note from the Ministry, that many companies are canceled from the list of exporters to Canada as a result of unclear information.


A situation that risks compressing the volumes of Italian exports to Canada.


This is not the right place to enter into the numerous technical details that are not the responsibility of the writer.


Instead, what is part of the tasks of the Centro Studi Italia – Canada is to offer insights and analysis for Italian companies that work at different levels with Canada, so that this country continues to be an important destination for Italian exports.


Italian exports to Canada of goods (including food) have undergone a significant increase with the entry into force of CETA and it cannot be an inexplicable delay that will cause the loss of market shares that we had conquered thanks to CETA.


As reiterated on various occasions, information and training are essential elements to favor our companies on international markets.

The way to go at this point is precisely that of the correct training of companies in order to allow them to consciously face customs controls or audits that could be carried out by the Canadian authorities, bearing in mind that the requirements of the SFCR are specific and not to be confused with American or European ones.


* director Centro Studi Italia Canada, partner Nctm Law Firm,

vicepresident Italian Chamber of Commerce in Canada West


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