Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

August 10, 2007 20:33 ET

CFIA: Canada's Food Safety System is Working

Letter to the editor

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 10, 2007) - The recent series "Special Report - From Farm to Table: How Safe Is Your Food?" highlights the increased volume of imports in the expanding global marketplace. This caters to Canadians' increased demand for imported foods for a variety of factors like the short growing season, multiculturalism and the fact that some products just can't be produced in this country. Unfortunately the article also inaccurately suggests that our inspection system is lacking and I believe that it is important that your readers get all the facts.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is well equipped to deal with challenges that can arise in the management and inspection of imports, including the ability to address emerging risks. The CFIA's inspection regime is very flexible and adjusts based on the potential risk to human health, the type of product and the exporter's history of complying with strict and effective Canadian standards. Based on this approach, higher risk products such as meat and fish receive the highest level of scrutiny to ensure public and animal safety.

Ultimately, several players are involved and responsible for food safety. From the port to the plate - exporters, importers, retailers, government and consumers must all take steps to combat food borne contamination and illness.

Responsibility for food inspection and safety is shared in Canada among all levels of government. At the federal level, Health Canada establishes policies and standards relating to the safety and nutritional quality of food sold in Canada and the CFIA enforces these policies and standards. Provinces and municipalities also carry out food inspection. The onus is on importers and retailers to ensure that the products they are importing are safe and the CFIA carries out inspections and testing to verify that imported products meet Canada's strict and effective standards.

Canada plays an active role in setting standards and providing technical assistance to countries which are seeking to build their export markets and strengthen the safety of their food production. When issues arise, the CFIA is quick to assist a country in meeting our standards. At the same time, the CFIA frequently issues consumer advisories regarding products that have been recalled in other countries while the investigation is carried out in Canada.

Of course there is always more to do, and Canada, like all importing countries, is always reviewing its procedures, protocols and priorities to deal effectively with any potential problem. Canada's New Government, the CFIA and our private sector partners are more than ready to meet the global reality of this ever-changing situation.

Chuck Strahl, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Contact Information

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
    Ted Yeomans
    Media Relations
    613-759-1059