June 5, 2012, Ottawa, ON – The Government of Canada announced that it is developing a stronger, more comprehensive inspection approach to further strengthen food safety in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking input from stakeholders on ways that Canada’s science-based inspection system can be enhanced.
“We already have a top-tier food safety system but our goal is to be the best,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Simply put, we want Canadians to have the safest food in the world. That is why we are seeking input from consumers, inspectors, food safety experts, industry and everyone who has a role to play in food safety.”
A discussion document called The Case for Change is now available for comment and stakeholders can submit feedback to the CFIA until July 31, 2012. This feedback will help the Agency draft an improved food inspection approach that will be the subject of continued stakeholder consultation throughout the year in order to refine the suggested approach.
This new, more comprehensive food inspection approach aims to include more consistent oversight and management of risk across all regulated food commodities-whether imported or produced domestically. It will also support the next-generation food inspector with new tools and training.
Currently, industry has to meet the multiple and different requirements of eight separate food commodity programs. Industry will benefit from a more consistent inspection approach across commodities that is adaptable to the size and complexity of their operations. Standardized processes will reduce the duplication and financial burden associated with overlapping requirements.
Enhancing inspection is one component of a larger effort aimed at better positioning the CFIA to manage current food safety challenges and opportunities. For example, the CFIA has also begun steps to prepare needed legislative and regulatory amendments. This initiative follows up on the recommendations made by the Independent Investigator Sheila Weatherill.
Enhancing the inspection system is part of the commitment made in Budget 2011, which provided the CFIA with $100 million over five years to modernize food safety inspection in Canada. In addition to designing an improved inspection approach, the CFIA is using this funding to provide better training and more modern tools to front line inspectors. These efforts are being driven by continued discussions with front-line staff across the country, industry and bargaining agents. To complement the CFIA’s enhanced inspection capacity, investments are also being directed toward building additional capacity in CFIA’s laboratories.
For more information on the CFIA’s The Case for Change to modernize food inspection, visit the CFIA website at www.inspection.gc.ca.