Food safety inspections overhaul expected - Canada
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Food safety inspections overhaul expected
The federal government is planning to unveil a bill Thursday that will overhaul its approach to food safety inspections and impose big penalties for serious food-safety offences.
Whe the bill is unveiled in the Senate Thursday afternoon, it's expected to bring together as many as five current pieces of food safety legislation under one law:
the Food and Drugs Act
"…By amending and consolidating legislative authorities, the Agency will be able to address certain food safety concerns, such as tampering, traceability and import controls, that are not covered by current legislation."
The aim of the new legislation will be to reduce redundancy, address weaknesses and inconsistencies, and provide clarity.
The CFIA says the way that food is produced and distributed in Canada has undergone fundamental changes in recent decades, because of changes in food processing technology and rapid increases in global food trade.
"Mass distribution networks mean that problems -- when they do occur -- can quickly become widespread," the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on its website last month. "Recent international incidents of food-borne illness have shown that outbreaks are not necessarily contained within national borders."
The CFIA currently operates eight separate inspection programs that were once handled through different federal departments. The multiple inspection models have led to situations in which "foods of similar risks may be inspected at different frequencies or in different ways," the CFIA said.
"The basic goal of the model is to move from delivering eight independent food inspection programs to delivering one food inspection program," the CFIA said.
The aim is to develop a single approach to food inspection based on science and risk, to "level the playing field between food sectors so that similar risks are treated with the same level of rigour."
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