Canada Prepares To Improve Food Safety

(CFIA) — The Government of Canada released Thursday its draft model for improving food inspection in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is proposing a single approach to food inspection that will provide consistent and appropriate oversight across all regulated food commodities — either imported or produced domestically.

"We have a world-class food safety system in Canada but we want it to be the best," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "A single inspection approach will make an even stronger system that will benefit all Canadians."

The draft food inspection model is based on feedback from discussions with inspectors and industry stakeholders as well as feedback on a recent discussion document called The Case for Change that outlined the rationale for modernizing inspection.

This initiative is part of the commitment made by the Government of Canada in Budget 2011, which provided the CFIA with $100 million over five years to modernize food safety inspection in Canada. In addition to building a consistent inspection model, this investment is being used to provide better training and more modern tools to front line food inspectors as well as building additional capacity in CFIA laboratories.

The CFIA is seeking comments from consumers and industry stakeholders until October 31, 2012 on the following aspects of the proposed draft model:

  • a single licensing and registration requirement for those manufacturing, importing and/or exporting food for trade outside provincial borders,
  • more consistent oversight and inspection across all regulated food commodities,
  • a scaled approach that adapts to the size and complexity of businesses, and
  • the distribution of more information to consumers about compliance and enforcement activities.

The CFIA is planning extensive outreach activities on this proposed model with its inspectors, consumer associations, industry, and federal, provincial and territorial government counterparts in the fall. The model will continue to be developed based on feedback that the Agency receives.

The CFIA is carrying out a number of complementary initiatives including a review of the CFIA's regulatory frameworks and the Safe Food for Canadians Act, tabled in June, which aims to modernize and strengthen food legislation. Together, these initiatives are part of a comprehensive effort to better manage food safety challenges and make food as safe as possible for Canadian families.

For more information on the CFIA's proposed approach to strengthening food inspection or to provide your comments, visit the CFIA website at