ARCHIVED - Health Canada Modernization: Food Safety and Nutrition

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Purpose and Scope

  • To provide an update on Health Canada's modernization efforts and major initiatives in the area of food safety and nutrition, including:
    • Regulatory modernization
    • Operational excellence
    • Education and outreach
    • Openness and transparency
    • Alignment with Canadian Food Inspection Agency changes
  • Intended to build on previous engagement and continue dialogue

The Regulatory Roadmap for Health Products and Food will deliver the clearest value to Canadians and the health care and food safety systems. It will also deliver the greatest efficiency by cutting through unsustainable administrative requirements or approaches and replacing them with ones drawing upon international partnering, best practices and new technological advantages to contribute directly to the safety of food and health products.

Health Products and Food Branch 2012-2015 Strategic Plan

Context: A Time of Significant Change

  • Evolving regulatory landscape – domestic and global
    • Increasing globalization of food supply
    • New/emerging health and safety issues, threats
    • Marketplace/product changes and innovation
    • Changes in industry structure, processes/technology
    • Evolving science
    • Demographic change (e.g., ageing population)
    • Consumer trends/interests/demands
    • Regulatory actions taken by other jurisdictions
    • Increasing intersection of food safety and trade/market access issues

Responding to Change: A Transformation Agenda

  • Government of Canada level:
    • Regulatory reform agenda
    • Open Government
    • Focus on consumers, health and safety
  • Transformational changes for the Health Portfolio/food safety:
    • Governance/machinery: the CFIA joins the portfolio and Minister announces Healthy and Safe Food for Canadians Framework (promotion, prevention, protection)
    • Legislative/regulatory modernization under Food and Drugs Act and Safe Food for Canadians Act
    • Major initiatives/commitments:
      • Speech from the Throne (2013) – nutrition labelling
      • Budget (2014) – investments and standards modernization
    • Health Products and Food Branch Strategic Plan
      • Regulatory Roadmap – modernizing regulation of foods and health products
      • Operational excellence
      • People agenda
      • Openness and transparency

Operational Excellence

  • Health Canada (HC) continuously assesses its activities/operations against mandate/role, environment, and resources – to ensure efficiency, readiness, and sustainability
  • Branch Strategic Plan: "set, meet, and ultimately exceed our performance standards, while working more effectively with staff, Canadians, international partners, and stakeholders" – work based on the best science / evidence available
  • IT and business processes out of date – business transformation must go hand-in-hand with regulatory modernization
Image - Recent Highlights and Moving Forward. Description follows.
Description of Image

At the bottom left of the slide is an image of a large blue box titled "Recent Highlights". In it are three bullets which read: Transition of foods formerly marketed as NHPs to food regulatory framework (2012); Significant progress in backlog reduction (pre-market review); and 100% of Health Risk Assessments completed to service standards.

To the right of the blue box, is an image of a large green arrow pointing to the right. It is titled "Moving Forward". In it are five bullets which read: Further backlog reduction/elimination; Business transformation, including targeted IM/IT investments; Strengthened operational alignment with CFIA; More service standards and predictability; and Operational review

Information, Openness, and Transparency

  • Canadians and stakeholders desire meaningful, accessible, plain language information in order to make informed choices – focus of "promotion" pillar of Healthy and Safe Food for Canadians Framework
  • Currently, information is not always available, accessible, up-to-date, or understandable
Image - Recent Highlights and Moving Forward. Description follows.
Description of Image

At the bottom left of the slide is an image of a large blue box titled "Recent Highlights". In it are four bullets which read: Eat Well campaign (2012); Nutrition Facts Education Campaign (2010); Strengthened allergen labelling regulations (2012); Mechanically Tenderized Beef labelling regulations (2014)

To the right of the blue box, is an image of a large green arrow pointing to the right. It is titled "Moving Forward". In it are five bullets which read: Improving nutrition labelling (2013 Speech from the Throne);

Further education/awareness campaigns and partnerships; Openness and transparency initiatives (e.g., novel foods summary decision posting pilot); Web renewal; and More coordinated stakeholder engagement by portfolio partners

Regulatory Modernization

  • The Food and Drug Regulations have been developed over the past 50 years, accounting for evolving needs and priorities, and have served Canadians well
  • However, their scope is broad, and – in having been built incrementally – they have become challenging to interpret and understand; are increasingly out of date; and are generally not constructed/drafted as regulations would be today
  • Health Canada's Regulatory Roadmap for Health Products and Food envisions a more responsive, efficient, and sustainable regulatory system
Image - Recent Highlights and Moving Forward. Description follows.
Description of Image

At the bottom left of the slide is a graphic of a large blue box titled "Recent Highlights". In it are two bullets which read: New regulatory tools – marketing authorization, expanded incorporation by reference – added to Food and Drugs Act (2012); and Tools used to "reset" food additives and veterinary drug maximum residue limits (MRL) frameworks.

To the right of the blue square, is an image of a large green arrow pointing to the right. It is titled "Moving Forward". In it are five bullets which read: Further use of new authorities to render more efficient the oversight of substances/claims; Final regulatory framework for supplemented foods, including caffeinated energy drinks; Modernization of standards of identity/composition (Budget 2014); Alignment with CFIA modernization; and Comprehensive "reset" of Part B of Food and Drug Regulations

Moving Forward: Regulatory Modernization (cont'd)

Click on image for larger view
Image - Moving Forward: Regulatory Modernization. Description follows.

Description of Image – Moving Forward: Regulatory Modernization

A large image illustrating the objectives, principles and possible directions for moving forward with the modernization of the food regulations currently under the Food and Drug Regulations.

The image consists of a combination of two squares and two rectangles. A rectangle at the top and bottom with two squares in between.

The top rectangle is blue and titled "Translating the regulatory roadmap into a food context". Within it is the following text: A sustainable, internationally aligned food regulatory framework – built on rules of general application – that protects Canadians and is responsive to new science, emerging issues, and innovation.

Immediately below the blue rectangle are two squares, the one on the left titled "Objectives" and the one to its right titled "Principles".

The "Objectives" square includes four bullets which read: Enhance protection and promotion of human health; Be flexible and responsive to emerging food safety and nutrition challenges; Support industry innovation; and Reduce red tape and minimize unnecessary delays in bringing safe food to the marketplace.

The "Principles" square includes four bullets which read: Based on the best available science; Proportional risk-based oversight that balances benefits, harm, and uncertainty; Efficient; and Consumer focused, supporting informed choice.

The last rectangle is green and is located at the very bottom of the image, below the Objectives and Principles squares. It is titled "Possible Directions" and includes three sub-themes which are: Efficient, flexible, and responsive; Clear and Coherent; and Transparent, Open and Accountable.

The "efficient, flexible and responsive" sub-theme includes five bullets which read: Use of rules of general application; Efficient, timely creation and maintenance of rules; Outcome based / less prescriptive; Modernize standards of composition and identity; and International alignment/regulatory cooperation.

The "clear and coherent" sub-theme includes two bullets which read: Simplify - regulate like things in like ways; and Eliminate duplication and inconsistencies.

The final sub-theme - "transparent, open, and accountable" - includes three bullets which read: Open, transparent decision-making processes; Guidance and policy clarity (regulatory status); and Gaps between actual and perceived oversight.

Thank You/Merci

To learn more: Please attend the Food Forum breakout sessions on "Exploring the Future of the Food Regulatory Framework under the Food and Drugs Act" and "Modernizing Food Labelling" (with the CFIA).

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