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Do you need a Safe Food for Canadians licence or DRC membership to export produce from Canada?

Let’s start with the easy part, a DRC membership. According to the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), Canadian exporters are required to have a DRC membership unless excepted, mainly because you ship produce you have grown yourself or are shipping less than one metric ton a day. There are a couple of other exceptions, but there are probably not many small retailers or charities exporting produce from Canada. In other words, if you are selling from Canada make sure you and your foreign buyer are DRC members. It’s not just good business, it’s the law for Canadian fresh produce exporters.

Now the more complicated question, do you need a SFCR licence from CFIA to export produce from Canada? You need a licence to export food if you would like to receive an export certificate, or another export permission such as being on an export eligibility list, from the CFIA. 

You do not need a SFCR licence to export food:

  • if your sole activity is export and you do not need an export certificate, or another export permission, from the CFIA, or 
  • if your sole activity is an export custom broker or freight forwarder.

If export is not your sole food related activity, we strongly urge you to visit the CFIA website (inspection.gc.ca) and use some of their self-assessment tools to see if you need a licence.