CFIA Food Safety Reforms Expected to Keep Food Safe

CANADA - Canadian agricultural minister Gerry Ritz expects the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) food safety reforms to help keep food safe for Canadian families and give the Canadian agriculture sector a globally competitive advantage, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 29 July 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week, as part of their annual meeting in Halifax, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers renewed their commitment to the implementation of traceability for cattle, hogs, poultry and sheep, endorsed the development of plans for a Food Safety Integrated Surveillance Network to link federal, provincial and private food laboratories and improve detection and response to food-borne threats and were given an update on food safety modernization activities under the federal government's Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan.

Following the meeting federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz told reporters the Food Safety Integrated Surveillance Network involves a lot of working parts and is a work in progress.

Gerry Ritz-Canada Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

When we talk from the agricultural perspective a lot of the food safety is based on premise I.D., what's done in that premise, is there processing going on, is it a slaughter facility and so on so that when there is a problem trace out can happen a lot faster.

We saw a new computer program that shows in real time where there is a problem, say it's a farm with Avian Influenza, we can isolate that, we can show you within a three kilometer or ten kilometer range, which we've now negotiated with our trading partners as to what other facilities could be at risk within that so within minutes the inspector has at his hand that data so he can go in and start to quarantine that area as quickly as possible.

Those are the beginning solutions and there's a lot more work being done on traceability of animals.
Health of animals takes you to the farm gate.

Then from the farm gate on to the processors and slaughter facilities then it's about the traceability system that's being developed.

Mr Ritz says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's food safety reform agenda is ambitious and far reaching, just what's needed to keep food safe for Canadian families while giving our agriculture sector a globally competitive advantage.

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