Safe Food for Canadians Act: What it means for Consumers

The Government of Canada introduced the Safe Food for Canadians Act in Parliament to manage today's risks to food safety and to make our country's food system safer and stronger for consumers.

Food safety is a high priority for the Government of Canada. The new Act modernizes and enhances rules and requirements for industry so that Canada's food safety system remains world class.

New legislation to meet changing needs

Canadians are keen to know more about the food they eat, what it contains and where it comes from. Variety in one's diet often means consuming foods that come from different countries. Canadian society is aging and can be more susceptible to food-related illnesses. As a result, consumers are demanding safer food whether it is produced domestically or internationally.

Technology and science are also changing the way food is produced. The Government of Canada recognizes this and designed the new Safe Food for Canadians Act to address these new realities. This simpler and stronger law will make our food safety system safer and help reduce risk.

The Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates several pieces of legislation - the Canadian Agricultural Products Act, the Fish Inspection Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.

By consolidating and modernizing these statutes, industry will benefit from greater consistency in rules and regulations, which, in turn, will provide consumers with a safer food supply. The legislation also enhances safeguards for imported food commodities.

New legislation to protect Canadians

The Safe Food for Canadians Act focuses on three important areas that will result in making food safer. Highlights include:

New prohibitions against food commodity tampering, deceptive practices and hoaxes

With the adoption of the Act, consumers will be safer from threats related to food commodity tampering, deceptive practices and hoaxes. The Government has new means to take swift action against these kinds of activities and to build additional safety into the food system - from the food producer or importer to the consumer. Penalties and fines also increase to deter wilful or reckless threats to health and safety.

Strengthened food traceability

Traceability is the ability to track any food through all its stages of production, processing and distribution. Food traceability is an increasingly important element of food safety. This legislation gives the CFIA the ability to develop innovative regulations to trace and to take action on potentially unsafe food commodities. There is also a prohibition against selling food commodities that have been recalled.

Improved import controls

The new import control measures build on Canada's existing suite of import safety measures by clearly prohibiting the entry of potentially unsafe food commodities into Canada. In addition, the legislation includes provisions to register or license importers, holding them accountable for the safety of the foods they bring into the country.

New, modern and stronger legislation

The Safe Food for Canadians Act modernizes and strengthens Canada's food safety system and makes food safer for consumers. By consolidating several pieces of existing legislation that in some cases are outdated, the Government of Canada aligns our food safety system with the expectations of the 21st century.

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