Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

May 12, 2006 16:06 ET

AAFC: New Food Safety Initiative Launched in British Columbia

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - May 12, 2006) - Canada's new government is providing British Columbia with $2.64 million for the Food Safety Initiative (FSI) to enhance and promote food safety systems in its food processing industry.

"We are proud to be working with the Government of British Columbia on this initiative to make this important contribution to the province's food processing industry," said federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board Chuck Strahl. "Enhanced food safety systems help protect the health of Canadians."

The focus of the Food Safety Initiative is to work with the non-federally registered food processing industry to raise awareness of food safety issues and help producers meet food safety standards.

Outreach activities will be delivered by the Food Protection Services of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control in partnership with the regional Health Authorities, the food processing industry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.

B.C.'s food and beverage processing sector generated $6.15 billion in sales in 2004, of which $1.9 billion was exported. The processing sector, dominated by a large number of small and medium-sized firms, employs 31,000 people.

"This initiative will be particularly helpful for small-scale producers who are working to meet new food safety regulations," said B.C. Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell. "Together with industry, we want to ensure the highest level of food safety in our province on everything from meat to baked goods. Food safety standards provide even greater consumer confidence in B.C.'s food products."

The FSI is part of the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), a federal-provincial-territorial strategy for long-term sustainability and profitability in the agriculture and agri-food sector.

Additional information on the Canada-B.C. FSI is available at: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/foodsafety/apf_fsfq.htm

BACKGROUNDER

The Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program

The Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program will maintain and enhance Canada's reputation as a producer of safe, high-quality food products. Fostering confidence in the safety and quality of Canadian food is recognized as critical in ensuring the strength of the agriculture and agri-food sector over the long term.

The Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program has three components including a Systems Development component, an On-Farm Implementation component, and the Food Safety Initiative announced today.

The Food Safety Initiative

Under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF) implementation agreements, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia have allocated a portion of their federal APF funding to the Food Safety Initiative (FSI).

The FSI involves implementation and outreach activities aimed at increasing the number of non-federally registered food processing plants having or moving towards Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) food safety systems in their operations. HACCP is an internationally recognized, science-based system that works to ensure food safety by anticipating and preventing problems during the production of food products. Federally registered processing plants across Canada are already implementing HACCP-based systems under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Food Safety Enhancement program.

At this time, British Columbia will put its $2.64 million towards the outreach component of the FSI. This component includes activities aimed at raising awareness, knowledge development and implementation of food safety process control systems through pilot activities and the development of generic models and related administration within the food processing sector. These activities may include but are not limited to training and the preparation and dissemination of information materials.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Media Relations
    (613) 759-7972 / 1-866-345-7972
    or
    Minister Strahl's Office
    Jeff Howard
    Press Secretary
    (613) 759-1059
    or
    Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
    Liz Bicknell
    Communications Director
    (250) 356-2862 / (250) 213-3072 (cell)