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:
"The government has also identified several advantages of the bill for consumers, including 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)."
- 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
It is possible to follow the progress of the bill through Parliament
on the LEGISinfo website.
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