Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

October 30, 2007 18:04 ET

Government of Canada Supports Food Retailers With Food Safety and Promotion

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 30, 2007) - The Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, today announced nearly $360,000 in funding for the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) to train store owners and managers on a new food safety system, and to help small producers and processors promote their products to grocery retailers.

"The Government of Canada is proud to support food retailers who continue to make food safety a priority in their stores for all consumers," said Minister Ritz. "Farmers, processors, distributors and retailers all ensure that Canadians can be confident in the safety of the food they purchase."

Under the Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program, the CFIG received $284,700 to provide store owners and managers with the necessary training to implement a new Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)-based food safety system in their stores. The food safety system is one component of a Canadian Retail Food Safety Program being developed jointly by the CFIG and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) with $1.2 million in total funding over the last three years from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

In addition, the CFIG received $75,000 under the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) Program to develop the "Destination Canada" pavilion for Grocery Innovations Canada 2007, which ran October 29-30 in Toronto. Destination Canada allowed 28 small producers and processors the opportunity to network and showcase their products to grocery retailers from across the country during the two-day exhibition.

"We have been very pleased with the partnership we have had with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as we work towards these two essential initiatives," said John Scott, President and CEO of the CFIG. "The Food Safety Program will be of great assistance as retailers augment their existing superb food safety standards. The Destination Canada pavilion builds on the desire of consumers to purchase locally produced goods in retail stores in this country. We are thankful to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for enabling these two programs."

As was recently outlined in the Speech from the Throne, food safety is a top priority for the Government of Canada. The federal government will continue to work with the provinces and territories, farmers, and industry to ensure that Canada's standards of food safety and quality remain among the highest in the world.


BACKGROUNDER

What is HACCP, or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points?

HACCP is an international protocol to identify and manage risks in the food supply chain. It is recognized as the primary food safety standard for many countries around the world.

How does HACCP work in a grocery store?

The retail food safety system developed jointly by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors (CCGD) uses a HACCP-based model. The first step in creating a HACCP-based model for a specific industry is to conduct a hazard analysis of the entire process. This determines the critical control points (CCPs): points at which a control can be applied that will prevent or even eliminate a safety or quality risk. For example, ensuring that food prepared in grocery stores is cooked to the appropriate internal temperature.

The food retail model provides approximately 50 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that outline safe food handling practices, and which address the CCPs. Implementing these procedures may involve changing management, monitoring and product handling procedures to comply with the SOPs, and to meet the requirements of the HACCP-based model. No matter the size of the retailer or the differences in their operations, the procedures ensure a standardized approach to food safety.

Plans for corrective actions and verification procedures are also developed as part of the HACCP-based model. When the system has been put into place, the final step focuses on proper record-keeping and ensuring that documentation processes are followed.

What training will store owners and managers be receiving on the food safety system?

Training will be focused on understanding the food safety system, its structure, how to train employees, and provide owners and managers with the guidance on how to implement the SOPs in their environments.

What is the Canadian Retail Food Safety Program?

The CFIG and the CCGD cover virtually all grocery retail locations in Canada, and in some cases share some common members. The two associations have been working in partnership to develop food safety programs and standards in order to ensure that there is one standard for the industry and to ensure cost-effectiveness in program development and deployment. With funding from the Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program, they have developed a warehouse HACCP-based model, the retail HACCP-based model described above, and are currently updating food handler training so that it is aligned with the key concepts, requirements and terminology being used in the retail HACCP-based model.

To learn more about the Canadian Food Safety and Quality Program, visit: www.agr.gc.ca/fsq

To learn more about the Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) Program, visit: www.agr.gc.ca/acaaf

For information on Grocery Innovations Canada, visit: www.groceryinnovations.com

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
    Willowdale, Ontario
    Shelley D'Amico
    Manager, Communications
    416-492-2311 x. 222 or
    416-302-3605
    or
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Patrick J. McCloskey
    Press Secretary
    613-759-1059