Questions and Answers – Food Safety Recognition Program

What is the Food Safety Recognition Program?

The Food Safety Recognition Program (FSRP) is a program led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), with the participation of provincial and territorial governments, that provides government recognition of on-farm and post-farm food safety systems developed and implemented by national industry organizations.

The FSRP is a multi-step process that consists of a review, an assessment, the recognition and ongoing monitoring of the technical soundness and administrative effectiveness of national industry organizations' fully implemented food safety system.

What is the objective of the FSRP?

The FSRP encourages national industry organizations to develop food safety systems in line with a systematic and preventive approach to food safety called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), which in turn strengthens Canada's food system.

Who developed the FSRP?

The FSRP is a federal/provincial/territorial government initiative developed in collaboration with industry. It is funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada under the Growing Forward 2 initiative.

Who can participate in the FSRP?

National industry organizations from the on-farm or post-farm sectors that are not regulated by the CFIA can participate in the FSRP.

What are the requirements of the FSRP?

National industry organizations must develop and implement a technically sound food safety program that is based on internationally accepted food safety standards. The food safety program must meet the FSRP requirements and conform to federal, provincial and territorial legislation, policy and protocols.

What is the process to obtain recognition?

National industry organizations must complete a process that includes three stages of review before receiving a Letter of Recognition, acknowledging that a technically sound food safety program has been successfully implemented in an effective and uniform manner.

The three stages are:

  1. The Government Technical Review (Part One includes a technical review of the organization's food safety program background documentation. Part Two includes a technical review of the management system manual).
  2. The industry implements the food safety program, including a successful third-party audit.
  3. Government undertakes an implementation assessment of the program.

How long does it take to complete the process?

The FSRP timelines for completing the technical reviews and implementation assessment are outlined within the CFIA-led procedural manuals. Timing to complete each stage of the recognition process may vary depending on the adjustments required by the national industry organization, to fully align with the requirements identified through the FSRP review process.

What needs to be done in order to maintain recognition?

In order to maintain recognition, the national industry organization must participate in the maintenance of recognition status process. The CFIA reviews the organization's existing programs and documentation maintenance after 20 and 40 months following recognition, and conducts a full-system re-assessment after five years. In subsequent years, the national association would cycle through the same review process.

Is the FSRP a static process?

As with all large initiatives, the FSRP is continually advancing technical processes and requirement as means of staying current with scientific and technical knowledge. As an example, the CFIA is initiating discussions with the Federal/Provincial/Territorial governments and industry to augment program content in relation to:

  • pathogen reduction
  • antimicrobial resistance/usage
  • residue controls

These elements, as well as the current scope of requirements within the food safety systems, need continuous updating to reflect current knowledge of factors that may affect food safety.

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