The final report stage and the third reading in the House of Commons are all that remain in the way of final passage of the Safe Foods for Canadians Act. The legislation has already passed Canada’s Senate, and last week the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food completed its final review, sending the Act on to the full House of Commons. “This important Act will provide new authorities to address food safety risks and will build additional safety into the system, from processor to importer to consumers,” said Canada’s Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. Canada’s Conservative government said the Safe Foods for Canadians Act would strengthen and modernize the country’s food safety system to make sure it produces safe food for consumers. “This important Act will provide new authorities to address food safety risks and will build additional safety into the system, from processor to importer to consumer,” Ritz said. Canada’s new food safety law, which is sure to be compared to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) adopted by the U.S. Congress in late 2010, consolidates the authorities of multiple food statutes. The Act will ensure the following:
- Tougher penalties for activities that put the health and safety of Canadians at risk;
- A more consistent inspection regime across all food commodities;
- Better control over imports and exports; and
- Strengthened food traceability.
Ritz, to whom the Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) reports, says that by consolidating authorities into one Act, it will make inspection and enforcement powers consistent across all food commodities. He says that will make CFIA more efficient and allow it to focus on higher risk areas. “As a result, Canadian consumers will enjoy a safer food supply,” he says. The House of Commons has not announced the scheduled for the final action, but it is expected soon.