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Canada Going to Single Food Safety Inspection System

The Government of Canada put up a new single approach to food inspections for public comments late last week.

If enacted, it would apply to all food commodities whether made in Canada or imported and it would replace the eight different inspection systems the Canadian Food Inspection Agency now operates, according to the government statement.

“We have a world-class food safety system in Canada but we want it to be the best,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “A single inspection approach will make an even stronger system that will benefit all Canadians.”

Currently CFIA inspection schemes separately cover meat, dairy, eggs, processed products, imported and manufactured food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and fish and seafood.

The newly proposed single inspection system is a product of the Conservative Government’s $100 million budget provided to CFIA in 2011 to modernize food safety inspection in Canada.

“In addition to building a consistent inspection model, this investment is being used to provide better training and more modern tools to front line food inspectors as well as building additional capacity in CFIA laboratories,” the government statement said.

The government previously issued discussion document, called “The Case for Change” that made the case for a new inspection system.

The CFIA is seeking comments from the public including consumers and industry stakeholders until October 31, 2012 on the following aspects of the proposed draft model:

-A single licensing and registration requirement for those manufacturing, importing and/or exporting food for trade outside provincial borders

-More consistent oversight and inspection across all regulated food commodities

-A scaled approach that adapts to the size and complexity of businesses

-The distribution of more information to consumers about compliance and enforcement activities

The government said CFIA is planning extensive outreach activities on this proposed model with its inspectors, consumer associations, industry, and federal, provincial and territorial government counterparts in the fall.

It said the model would continue to be developed based on feedback that the agency receives.

The CFIA is carrying out a number of complementary initiatives including a review of the CFIA’s regulatory frameworks and the Safe Food for Canadians Act, tabled in June, which aims to modernize and strengthen food legislation.

“Together, these initiatives are part of a comprehensive effort to better manage food safety challenges and make food as safe as possible for Canadian families,” the statement said.

© Food Safety News
  • Vernon Cole

    Before i can comment on the proposed scheme, I need to understand the structure of Canada’s Laws and regulations. Is there a some guidance out there on how to navigate through Canada’s laws and regulations?