Understanding the Establishment-based Risk Assessment Model for food establishments
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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is strongly committed to its mission to safeguard food, animals and plants to enhance the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy.
Risks to food safety and our animal and plant resources have changed considerably in recent years and will continue to evolve rapidly with global trading patterns, innovation and new technology. In this fast-paced environment, the CFIA must continue to become more agile to help protect our resources while also supporting industry's ability to compete globally.
As part of the Agency's efforts to modernize its inspection system, the Establishment-based Risk Assessment (ERA) model was developed to evaluate food establishments based on the level of risk they represent to consumers. The model uses data and a mathematical algorithm to determine the level of risk to inform oversight required by inspectors.
The CFIA worked together with academia, industry and government partners to create this tool to provide a consistent and efficient approach to inspection.
How does the ERA model work?
The ERA model identifies areas of higher risk and indicates where inspectors should be spending more time. Using scientific data, establishment-specific information gathered from regulated parties and the compliance history of an establishment, the ERA model evaluates an establishment based on three different groups of risk factors and determines their level of risk (see image below). This means that higher risk establishments or sectors that require urgent attention can be easily identified and focused on.
What does the ERA model implementation mean for federally regulated establishments?
Implementation of the ERA model will impact the frequency and/or intensity of CFIA oversight. Establishments will be able to access their individual results and work with the CFIA on strategies to mitigate potential areas of concern.
The model is flexible to adapt to emerging and scientific trends in food safety and innovative practices that may be implemented at an establishment.
How is industry involved in the ERA model?
Establishments are invited to provide information about their mitigation measures and operational activities by enrolling online to My CFIA and filling out the "Additional Establishment Information" questionnaire. The link can be accessed through an establishment's My CFIA account after it has received its Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence. An establishment will be prompted to provide this information when it renews or modifies its licence. Additionally, information can be updated any time it goes out of date by locating the tab in My CFIA. This information along with the compliance assessment of establishments will be used to populate the ERA model and produce risk profiles for each food establishment.
Results from the ERA model are being integrated in the Agency's work planning on a commodity by commodity basis.
How often will the ERA model be updated?
The CFIA will review and update the model on an ongoing basis, using the most up-to-date science, technology, and risk assessment approaches. It is designed to adapt quickly to emerging global and scientific trends, new risks and changes within establishments.
For questions or comments email: email@example.com
- ERA-Food: The science behind it
- Infographic: ERA-Food model
- Questions and answers: ERA-Food model
- Additional Establishment Information
- Industry eLearning on the ERA-Food model
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