By: Kelly Bettschen, BSA, Food Policy and Food Safety Analyst, Livestock Branch
Everyone has a responsibility when it comes to food safety. Farmers and ranchers are the first step, growing crops and raising healthy animals for consumers. They do this by following strict on-farm national codes of practice that establish how animals should be cared for throughout their lives and ensure the health and safety of animals. Farmers and ranchers also follow good environmental practices such as zero tillage and crop rotations to preserve soil and water sources for future generations.
Food processors play the next key role in ensuring food safety. Food processors are required to undergo food safety training and have food safety and sanitation programs to meet these requirements. Transporters and retailers also play a critical role in food safety. Food storage safeguards, such as maintaining proper temperatures throughout shipping and storage, maintain the safety and integrity of the food supply. Finally, individuals preparing food have a role in food safety. Whether it is at home or in a restaurant, proper food handling, storage and cooking practices will ensure that food is safe for you, your family and friends to consume.
Canada’s food safety system is ranked among the very best in the world and we continue to improve and modernize this system to meet the changing consumer demands, new processing methods and globalization. The federal government’s Safe Food for Canadians Act received Royal Assent in November of 2012 and a round of consultations on the regulations to support the Act were conducted in early 2017. This Act and supporting regulations will provide more modern and consistent requirements for all foods imported to, exported by and traded among provinces in Canada. These regulations will also help Canadian food businesses remain competitive internationally and maintain access to foreign markets. The Food and Drugs Act has overarching powers to ensure all food sold in Canada is safe, fit for human consumption and produced under sanitary conditions.
Within the province, public health inspectors conduct inspections and monitor the activities of restaurants and food processing facilities, farmers markets, food retailers and food distributors to protect the environment and public health.
Even with all these regulations and controls in place, food recalls still happen. In the event of food recalls, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and food processors work together to remove potentially unsafe food quickly and efficiently. Consumers can rest assured that Canadians have world-class, safe food to consume daily.
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