Food Safety and Traceability
- In order to ensure a high level of consumer confidence in the safety of Canadian fresh fruits and vegetables, the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) developed the CanadaGAP™ (Good Agricultural Practices) Certification Program.
- The program has been recognized by government for technical soundness and is the first Canadian food safety program to achieve international recognition by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).
- CHC has also contributed to the U.S.-led Produce Traceability Initiative, a project that maximizes the effectiveness of produce tracking procedures. In the event of a food safety outbreak, the affected product can immediately be identified, right down to the very field it was harvested from.
- Fruit and vegetable growers and packers in Canada have made food safety a priority. Buyers increasingly expect Canadian farms to be certified to food safety standards, and such certification is now required to compete in the global marketplace.
In the interest of consumer safety and the sustainability of the horticultural sector, the costs associated with implementing and maintaining an on-farm food safety program should be shared with the Canadian government.
- The federal government should commit financial support to the ongoing maintenance and delivery of the CanadaGAP program. Ongoing support for the CanadaGAP program will ensure Canada continues to be a world leader in food safety.
- Branding and ‘Buy Canadian’ programs in which food safety is a component will also be of benefit to producers in helping to drive customer demand and recognition of products produced under national on-farm food safety standards.