Good Importing practices - What all importers should know.
All companies that import food products into Canada are required to follow the Good Importing practices as they outlined by Canadian food Inspection agency. (http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/imports/commercial-importers/good-importing-practices)
As an importer it is important to
- be properly licensed,
- maintain strong documentation and communication with your suppliers,
- documentation on the product through the supply chain,
- a fully documented traceability and customer complaint program,
- and to have all of the appropriate programs in place for your storage facility.
Not only do you need to have a licence on the product category that you wish to import, all good importers need to ensure that they have knowledge and understanding on all of their suppliers. They need to have contact information and understand the hazards and risks associated with each supplier.
Building a strong relationship with your supplier is extremely important. It is important to ensure you meet the regulatory labeling requirements within Canada. Most recalls are due to undeclared allergens, which is often a result of not understanding or obtaining the information necessary to properly label the product. You are only as good as the knowledge that you receive from your suppliers.
Documentation on the product as it moves from its country of origin into Canada, it is important that you have all of the financial product and shipment information, but also the receiving documents, product coding information, corrective action or deviation documentation as well as verification documents.
Full traceability of the product through the supply chain is critical to ensuring your success. By having documentation that follows the product through the supply chain it allows for easier traceability on the finished product. The product needs to be date or lot coded in order to easily identify the product in the marketplace. Having an accounting program that references these lot codes and the stores that these products were sold to ensures you can trace the product fully through its supply chain.
If you are an importer that also owns a storage facility you have additional requirements regarding the premises and the equipment at that location. You must maintain a sanitation program for the equipment and the premises that is used as well as a pest control program to ensure that the safety of the products is not compromised.
FS &RD Consulting can assist you in navigating through the Good importing practices regulation and ensure that you are fully compliant. If you need help with one or all of the above please reach out to Melissa Stevenson today for a quote. http://www.fsrdconsulting.com