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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Food Safety, Politics and Semantic Maneuvers – Canadian Style

First published March 21, 2013

"Safe Food for Canadians Act - The beginning of 2015 will come soon enough. Meanwhile, over the next two years, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will work with consumer groups and industry to develop new regulations to support the Act. During this period, the CFIA will also launch a number of significant food safety enhancements":

Bill S-11 pertaining to the Safe Food for Canadians Act received royal assent in 2012 and is now law. We can now all breathe a sigh of relief?

The passing of Bill S-11 into law did not happen without the usual political wrangling. Members of Parliament had a chance to comment as usual with some comments making sense and others not so much. A careful reading shows the unmistakable political partisanship in the comments. The question of the real gain to be expected as a result of this Bill has been raised in another post.

You may read the parliamentary discourse and come to your own conclusions:
Warning: Some readers may find the dizzying display of democracy in the parliamentary discourse frustrating or infuriating. If you are able to look past the hidden agenda in many of the comments, they provide a useful indication of the food safety outcome to expect from the resulting law and regulations.

Food Business Owners – You should make sure you are sufficiently informed about this Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA). As defined, it is:

“An Act respecting food commodities, including their inspection, their safety, their labelling and advertising, their import, export and interprovincial trade, the establishment of standards for them, the registration or licensing of persons who perform certain activities related to them, the establishment of standards governing establishments where those activities are performed and the registration of establishments where those activities are performed"

You may start by reading the “Interpretation” section and then understand this point below about inspection under SFCA as it applies to your business whether you operate in Canada or you import/export or ship to Canada:

Authority to enter a place
24. (1) Subject to subsection 26(1), an inspector may, for a purpose related to verifying compliance or preventing non-compliance with this Act, enter a place, including a conveyance, in which they have reasonable grounds to believe that an activity regulated under this Act is conducted or an item to which this Act applies is located.

 Posted By Felix Amiri
Felix Amiri is the current Food Sector Chair of GCSE-Food & Health Protection

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