Streamlining of Food Safety System Recommended

CANADA - The University of Manitoba is recommending a streamlining of Canada's food safety system and a greater coordination between the various levels of government, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 3 November 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

A series of deadly food illness outbreaks has rocked the confidence of consumers in Canada's food safety system.

Dr. Rick Holley, a professor of food safety and food microbiology with the University of Manitoba, believes we need to re-examine the comprehensives of the food born illness surveillance system in Canada.

Dr. Rick Holley-University of Manitoba

The food inspection system in Canada is operated at three levels of government and two sets of regulations and there needs to some coordination of food inspection activity in Canada at the federal level, at the provincial level and at the regional municipality levels.

Some cities have their own health departments or environment departments that look after surveillance at food service and retail.

Some provinces have environment departments that do inspection of food plants but those are only provincial plants.

Then we have the federal government, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, that has its own set of regulations that are directed toward inspection of federally registered plants that export product from provinces and from the country.

We need to better coordinate and exchange information both in the inspection system to establish standardized training protocols and we also need to exchange information on food born illness surveillance among the three levels of government that are involved in monitoring the health of Canadians.

Dr. Holley suggests the system is not proactive and is not directed toward the prevention of food born illness outbreaks.

He hopes, with public interest and pressure, we'll be able to find the resources to address the deficiencies in Canada's food born illness surveillance system and bring the food inspection system to a standard that will afford the level of protection Canadians demand.

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