Government Continues to Strengthen Food Safety

Action already underway to address Auditor General Recommendations

November 26, 2013, Ottawa: Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, highlighted recent actions taken by the Government to improve food safety, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) accepted all the recommendations of the Auditor General's recent report.

"Our Government is committed to ensuring that Canadian families have confidence in the food they buy and eat," said Minister Ambrose. "As confirmed by the Auditor General, our food recall system effectively removes unsafe food from the marketplace and quickly warns consumers. The CFIA accepts all the recommendations in the report and work is well underway to address them."

The CFIA has already completed one of the Auditor General's 11 recommendations, better monitoring of corrective action requests.

The alignment of the CFIA under the Minister of Health puts a clear focus on consumer safety, focusses and clarifies accountabilities and presents new opportunities for closer collaboration among federal food safety partners.

"When it comes to food safety, this government is always looking for opportunities to improve," added Minister Ambrose. "We have significantly strengthened the food safety system, and we'll continue to take action to protect consumers."

Since the CFIA joined the health portfolio in October, the Government has already taken several actions:

Our Record on Food Safety

  • Through our Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan and other initiatives, the Government has brought in:
    • Tougher penalties;
    • Enhanced controls on E. coli;
    • New meat labelling requirements;
    • More than 750 new inspectors; and,
    • We are cracking down on unsafe food imports.

Food Safety Achievements

  • Since 2008, food safety investments of about $517 million to fund inspector hiring, an improved inspection approach, better training and more modern tools for front-line inspectors and increased scientific capacity. This includes the $100 million to be invested over five years to modernize food inspection in Canada, which was announced in 2011.
  • Regular sampling and testing food for high-risk pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, as well as residues of veterinary drugs, agricultural chemicals, metals and contaminants.
  • The passing of the Safe Food for Canadians Act, which streamlines food legislation and provides for a more consistent regulatory approach across all food commodities.
  • New E. coli controls in meat plants to further minimize the risk of unsafe meat entering the marketplace.
  • The creation of the Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan to strengthen Canada's food safety system through stronger food safety rules, more effective inspection, a renewed commitment to service, and more information for consumers.

"Our Government will work to ensure that consumers are provided with the protection they expect and deserve," said Minister Ambrose. "The Speech from the Throne reaffirmed our continuing efforts to further strengthen Canada's food inspection regime, as well set out our Government's commitment to start talking to and listening to Canadian parents about how to help them make healthy food choices for their kids."

Media inquiries

CFIA Media relations
613-773-6600

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
613-957-0200

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