Safe Food for Canadians Act Deadlines are Coming: 3 Things You Need to Know

Are looming deadlines for the updated Safe Food For Canadians Act (SFCA) regulations stressing you out? It’s not just you. Depending on your food product, you’re down to months – not years – before your food safety plans have to be fully upgraded. It’s time to head full speed towards SFCA compliance. Here are the three things you need to do that’ll get you ready on time.

1) You Will Very Likely Need a HACCP Plan

We keep getting calls from businesses that didn’t realize they need a HACCP plan, which is a new requirement for doing business across provincial lines or importing and/or exporting food products.

According to popular opinion, HACCP plans generally take 6-8 months to create – though some people report it taking up to two years for more complex operations – and many of our customers have multiple HACCP plans clocking in at over 300 pages per product.

What most people will do: Look for a template online and try to plug-and-play. There are many outdated templates out there, so be extra careful to ensure it’s updated for the latest regulations. This will take a few months and can work in the short-term, but every time an element of your plan changes – be it an ingredient or procedure – you’ll have to go back into every single document and make changes by hand.

What we suggest instead: Find a dynamic system that can automatically update your HACCP plans when the underlying elements change. This will ensure your documents are always up-to-date so you’re never caught unprepared during an audit. For this to work properly, you have to ensure your inventory, shipping and receiving, and other functions are integrated  into the software, which takes about four weeks of work, but after that, complete HACCP plans can be generated with just a few clicks.

2) You Will Need to Upgrade Your Preventative Control Plan

The CFIA has expanded the requirements when it comes to preventative controls, which is why a basic HACCP plan must be supplemented with the other elements of a more detailed preventative control plan (PCP), which also defines control measures regarding humane treatment of food animals and consumer protection. The list of controls has been updated to include more items, like employee competency, food fraud, and even intentional biological tampering (bioterrorism). Once these risks are identified, you must determine how they will be controlled and be prepared to produce evidence that proves that these control measures are effective.

What most people will do: Manually add new sections into their existing HACCP templates or try to modify similar templates from USA regulations. It’s possible to get everything right, but the time investment is massive and the margin for error is very large, since the PCP regulations are over 60 pages long.

What we suggest instead: Simply build on top of the interconnected system you found for the HACCP plan, incorporating up-to-date Threat and Vulnerability plans into your HACCP. Once your facility is set up in the software, adding information to the templates takes just minutes, and changes to one plan can auto-update all the other plans where the change also applies.

3) You Will Need to Keep Your SOPs Up to Date

Auditors will penalize you for outdated SOPs in your HACCP and PCP plans. SOPs must cover a variety of elements throughout your plans, like:

  • the tasks required to carry out a control measure for each identified hazard
  • a description of how the monitoring procedure is carried out
  • how to train employees on SOPs and tasks

What most people will do: Write rough SOPs in their HACCP and PCP plans, then make changes to the plans when those procedures change. This will have to happen manually, with every individual plan being updated by hand. The SOPs are stored in several places and are not always accessible to employees.

What we suggest instead: Create SOPs in a dynamic system that can link SOPs to multiple plans, all in the same system. That way, when you need to make a change, you only have to do it once—and the system will then update all the connected plans automatically. Employees can easily access the most up-to-date SOP with no effort.

Here’s How to Do It All by February

Most food businesses will have to comply by February 2020, leaving you with just a few months to complete all these tasks. For many who try to do it all manually or with static templates, it won’t be enough time. Here’s how you can comply with all the upcoming regulations, upgrade your business operations, and still have months to spare: just use Icicle.

“When I found Icicle, it was the best of both worlds. It wasn’t only the technology, but also the education and consulting services provided. If anything changes for us down the road, I don’t need to hire another consultant or another person to do it – Icicle gives me the skills and control to adapt for the future quickly and easily.”

Steven Crutchfield, Villa Cappelli

We designed Icicle to help you streamline food safety, take control of your operations, and get back to growing your business. Our food safety experts keep templates up-to-date, the central database connects all areas of your business and automatically updates your food safety plans, and you can even run mock recalls for auditors in just 30 seconds.

You can be fully compliant with the updated SFCA regulations in just four weeks (you read that correctly), but we suggest acting fast. Icicle’s customer service model, which walks you through setup and compliance, means that we have limited capacity to onboard new users. Time’s running out, but stress-free food safety is only four weeks away.

Learn more about Icicle’s rapid HACCP plan generator! Check out our core features list >>>

Looking for a complete food production management solution? Request a demo >>>

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