Safe food for Canadians

A world-class food system

Canadian families trust that the food they eat is safe. Canada boasts a world-class food system and our government sets high standards for safety.

As safe as our food supply is, we must always strive for improvement. That is why the Safe Food for Canadians Act was adopted by Parliament. This new legislation will make our food system even safer and stronger than it is today.

Making our food safer

There are good reasons why it's important to modernize Canada's food laws. For example

  • Simpler and stronger laws will make our food system safer and help reduce risk to protect Canadian families.
  • New technologies are changing how food is grown and processed. Today's laws need to be flexible to keep up with new developments in food production and processing.
  • Our population is aging, and seniors are more susceptible to food-related illnesses.
  • Our lifestyle is changing. Canadians are more informed about what food contains and where it comes from. We also know more about what will help us achieve our health goals. As our knowledge grows, so does our demand for a stronger food safety system.
  • We can buy food from more countries than ever before, and it must meet the same high standards as food made in Canada.

Government priorities for food safety

Canada's food safety system is based on several pieces of legislation that are, in some cases, outdated. They are the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Fish Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (as it relates to food).

The Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates and modernizes existing laws and makes them simpler and more consistent. For Canadians, this means safer food and better protection from risks to food safety.

Benefits for Canadian families

The Safe Food for Canadians Act will improve overall food safety for Canadian families by

  • Protecting us from risks related to food tampering and hoaxes. With the new Act, authorities will be able to move faster and more efficiently to address potential risks to food safety.
  • Prohibiting the sale of foods that have been recalled, and giving the government the power to require the food industry to have traceability systems to help quickly remove recalled products from the marketplace.
  • Increasing the control of foods imported into Canada by requiring importers to be licensed and stopping potentially unsafe food from entering our country when risks are detected.
  • Making the rules for inspection and enforcement consistent across all food commodities: meat, fish and agricultural products. One standard will mean that Canadian families are protected by the same strict requirements.

Benefits for Canadian industry

The Safe Food for Canadians Act will reduce red tape for Canadian food producers by providing them with a clear, consistent set of inspection and enforcement rules while still allowing them to meet their responsibility to put safe food on shelves for Canadian families. In addition, the Act will enable businesses to be more competitive abroad and it will open access to an even greater number of international markets.

Other benefits for the Canadian food industry will include

  • Greater confidence in the safety of Canadian food in international markets. With the new Act, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will have the authority to certify any food commodity for export. This should open Canadian businesses to more markets, and allow our trading partners to feel even more confident about buying Canadian food.
  • An ability to respond faster to new international trade requirements. With the Safe Food for Canadians Act, our laws will align more closely with those of our trading partners, such as with the Food Safety Modernization Act in the United States.
  • A new review mechanism, enabling food producers to request the review of a CFIA decision on their product.
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