The CFIA Chronicle

Edition 2 – July 2017

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Food Safety in a Changing Environment

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Recent reports on food labelling fraud, food recalls and Genetically Modified foods have shown that Canadians are paying close attention to what they consume and want information to assure that the food they eat is safe and accurately represented.

To achieve these outcomes, Canada's food system must have a renewed focus on prevention and evolve to allow for greater flexibility and to respond to the needs of today and beyond. The food system is becoming more global and complex for many reasons, such as new ingredients, new sources for imports, and new ways to process food. This presents new challenges and opportunities for food businesses and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Food safety begins with regulations that focus on prevention and outcomes. The proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations will put a greater emphasis on a preventive approach — meaning that systems are in place to identify and manage food safety risks before products are sold to consumers. This would also reduce the time it takes to remove unsafe foods from the marketplace. And rules that focus on outcomes, rather than prescribed methods and processes, not only support industry innovation, in terms of new technologies, processes and procedures, but also allow for the flexibility to respond and adjust to any new or emerging risks that may arise. In fact, the shift to outcome-based systems is already happening with many of Canada's key trading partners.

Whether it is for Canadian consumers or international markets, industry plays the most important role in producing, importing and exporting safe food, and their strong commitment to food safety has directly contributed to Canada's reputation as a global food safety leader. The role of the CFIA is twofold: to enforce federal laws by verifying that businesses have effective controls in place to identify and manage risks before food is sold to consumers, and to take regulatory action when those rules are not followed.

With thousands of food items entering the marketplace, the CFIA focuses its inspection activities in areas where risks are highest — for instance in baby food — while ensuring that areas of lower risk continue to get the appropriate level of oversight. For Canadians, that means that both industry and the government can be more agile when issues arise to better protect Canadians.

At the end of the day, all Canadians are encouraged to take an active role in keeping their families' food safe. Social media helps consumers to stay connected with the CFIA and to be informed about food recalls and allergy alerts, and to use safe food handling practices. Subscribe to receive food recall warnings and allergy alerts.

Food for thought: food safety is the collective responsibility of regulators, industry and consumers. It is Canada's food safety system — it is yours as much as it is ours.

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Did You Know?

Our scientists monitor the health of domestic and wild animals by testing over 400,000 samples every year.

Consultation and Engagement Opportunities

Consultation is a key activity of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It supports open and transparent government. We encourage you to have a look at the complete list of consultation and engagement opportunities, become informed and have your say.

Questions or Suggestions

If you have questions about regulatory requirements or other technical questions regarding your business, visit Ask CFIA.

If you have questions about one of the articles in The CFIA Chronicle or would like to suggest an article for futures editions, email: CFIA-Modernisation-ACIA@inspection.gc.ca.

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