|By Marketwired .||
|December 18, 2013 04:16 PM EST||
OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 12/18/13 -- Canada's agricultural industry will benefit from an enhanced food safety audit system that will increase consistency throughout the sector, with the help of an investment from the Government of Canada. Today's announcement was made by Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux, on behalf of Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, at a press conference in Ottawa.
"Canada is known for its world-class ability to produce a variety of safe, high-quality agricultural and food products," said Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux. "An important part of Canada's rigorous food safety system is the strength of our oversight - not only do we have strong standards, but we have strong quality-control to back that up."
Up to $173,000 will go to the Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition (CSCFSC) to develop standard auditor competencies and qualifications which are consistent with private and international standards. This investment will help the Coalition bring all stakeholders to the table to shape a consistent made-in-Canada approach to food safety audit and certification across all sectors, and to develop an action plan to get there.
"This collaboration between industry and federal government comes at an important time," said Albert Chambers, Executive Director of the Coalition. "With the passage of the Safe Food for Canadians Act, which the Coalition strongly supported, the whole supply chain will be implementing new preventive controls and a common set of competence requirements for private sector and, we hope, public sector food safety auditors. This will ensure that both types of audits are done at the highest level."
The standard developed through this project will ensure that all sectors implementing a food safety system will be able to remain competitive in domestic and international markets. Members of the CSCFSC represent every major segment of the agriculture and agri-food value chain.
This investment was made through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's AgriMarketing Program, a five-year, $341-million initiative under Growing Forward 2. The Assurance Systems stream of the AgriMarketing Program supports industry-led projects in the development of assurance systems that meet market demands and buyer requirements -- such as food safety and animal care - to enable the sector to proactively manage risks and make credible, meaningful and verifiable assurance claims.
The new Growing Forward 2 policy framework, which came into effect on April 1, 2013, will continue to drive innovation and long-term growth in Canada. In addition to a generous suite of business risk management programs, governments have agreed to invest more than $3 billion over five years in innovation, competitiveness, and market development.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
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The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz