Friday, September 21, 2012

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of the Safe Food for Canadians Act

The Library of Parliament recently published a legislative summary of of Bill S-11: Safe Food for Canadians Act:
"The bill consolidates the Meat Inspection Act (MIA), the Fish Inspection Act (FIA), the Canada Agricultural Products Act (CAPA)and the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. It also aligns inspection and enforcement powers across all food commodities.The government has identified several advantages of the new bill for industry. These include the following:
  • consistency in inspectors’ powers, inspection procedures and regulations for all types of food (rather than separate statutes dealing with different food industries) since the bill will consolidate the inspection powers and procedures currently contained in the legislation governing the food industries affected by the bill;
  • the availability of official certification for exported foods, which is becoming increasingly desirable to Canada’s international trading partners; and
  • a review mechanism that would apply to all foods inspected by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)."
"The government has also identified several advantages of the bill for consumers, including the following:
  • prohibitions on food-tampering that could make food dangerous for human consumption;
  • increased traceability requirements, important in the event of a recall;
  • authority to license food importers; and
  • authority to prevent imports of food that may pose a health risk "
(...)
"Public response from industry to Bill S-11 has been very positive. Major stakeholders, including the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, the Canadian Meat Council, the Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, and the Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition, among others, expressed their support for the bill soon after its tabling (...)"

"Bill S-11’s provisions relating to incorporation by reference received a mixed response from stakeholders appearing before the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry. Two witnesses indicated that incorporation by reference would streamline the often cumbersome process of recognizing new regulations related to food additives, standards of composition and health claims. Another was concerned that incorporation by reference would mean less consultation with industry.'

"The bill’s traceability requirements also got a mixed response from stakeholders. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture praised the government’s initiative on the topic in the media, saying that traceability can 'enhance food safety and increase the competitiveness of our industry.' Meanwhile, some other witnesses before the Senate committee were concerned about the implications for their respective industries. One suggested a voluntary approach to traceability is appropriate, since mandatory traceability requirements present challenges in relation to systems integration and information sharing. Another noted that meeting traceability requirements in the grain industry, where producers commingle their crops, could be a significant burden."
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill through Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:55 pm

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