June 13, 2018 7:33 pm

New rules for Canada’s food safety aim for faster recalls, less bureaucracy

Dalhousie professor Sylvain Charlebois says that media plays an important role in informing Canadians about food recalls


In 2018, a frozen pizza typically includes 35 ingredients from 60 different countries — thanks to significant changes in supply chain, globalization, and consumer demands, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says.

That’s one of the reasons the Government of Canada has announced a new, comprehensive set of rules for Canada’s food inspection, standards and licensing.

The new rules, called the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR), will go into effect on January 15, 2019.

They will replace the 14 sets of regulations that govern the food industry currently, including Dairy Products Regulations, Egg Regulations, Meat Inspection Regulations, and so on.

WATCH: Canada introduces new food safety regulations 

Over 70 per cent of processed food, fruits and vegetables in Canada now come from another country, which means there’s additional chances for contamination, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said when announcing the rules on Wednesday.

The new regulations will align Canada’s rules with international standards, she said.

“It’s no question that it’s important that the regulatory process is up to date and on the cutting edge,” Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said.

WATCH: Food safety: How you can keep kids safe

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The government also hopes the SFCR will help the Canadian-made foods head to international shelves by creating “greater market access opportunities.”

If businesses “import, export or send food across provincial or territorial borders,” they will require a license, which officials say will help “demonstrate that their food safety controls meet their U.S. importers” as the U.S. is our greatest trading partner, according to a press release.

“For us to compete on the world stage, we need to have these regulations and they need to be flexible,” MacAulay said.

“When [other countries] see the red maple leaf, they know the food is safe.”

The rules, which MacAulay referred to as “science-based” will also help for faster recalls, according to officials.

A total of 420,000 people die every year from foodborne disease, according to the World Health Organization. In Canada, about 240 people die and another 11,500 are hospitalized because of food-related illness, according to Statistics Canada.

The changes were welcomed by the Retail Council of Canada, which called the new regulations “important.”

“These regulations are the biggest change to the food industry in the past 25 years, and they will have a positive and lasting impact,” Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada, said in a release.



© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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