Our website uses cookies so that we can provide you a better online experience and service;
by continuing, you agree to our use of cookies in line with our Privacy Statement
Open submenu


Key principles

Canada regards management of food safety as a shared responsibility with all levels of government as well as individual consumers, consumer groups, farmers, producers, processors, importers, exporters, and retailers as food safety issues may arise anywhere along the food chain.

Main regulatory organizations

The national food safety system comprises:

  • Health Canada,
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA),
  • The provinces and territories,
  • All Canadian municipalities.

The Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada is responsible for establishing science-based policies, setting standards, and providing guidance and information on the safety and nutritional value of food.

HPFB also administers the provisions of the Food and Drugs Act that relate to public health, safety, and nutrition and gives Canadians access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their food, nutrition, and health. Under the authority of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act, HPFB assesses the effectiveness of the activities of the CFIA that are related to food safety.

The CFIA provides all federal inspection services related to food safety, and enforces the food safety and nutritional quality standards established by Health Canada. Food safety is the CFIA's top priority; to protect public health, CFIA works to safeguard not just the food supply but also the plants and animals upon which safe and high quality food depends.

The use of food additives is strictly controlled by Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.  However, food ingredients, flavoring preparations and processing aids when used under certain conditions, are not included in the definition for a food additive.

Food ingredients and the products treated with processing aid may be regulated as novel food ingredients or novel foods and may require premarket authorization.