The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is asking for comments by July 31 on a proposal to modernize the country’s system of food inspections.

In a report called “The Improved Food Inspection Model: The Case for Change,” , the government said eight separate food inspection programs are operated by the CFIA, including one for dairy, eggs, fish and seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, imported and manufactured food, maple, meat and processed products.

In contrast to that current model, the agency is designing a single approach to inspection that would be applied across all food commodities that are either imported or produced domestically, according to a news release from the agency.

The proposed new system also would create a framework for food control systems that are developed and maintained by industry with government oversight, according to a news release from CFIA. The new inspection model would put consistent expectations across all food, based on science and risk, according to the release from CFIA.

Canada looks to revamp food inspections“This is a huge undertaking on behalf of CFIA,” said Jane Proctor, vice president for policy and issue management for the Canadian Produce Marketing Association in Ottawa. “The nice thing from our perspective as Canadians is that this is also coinciding with work that began earlier in the U.S.,” she said.

Rulemaking related to the recently passed Food Safety Modernization Act in the U.S. will also lead to updated standards, which will allow the two countries an opportunity to align their food safety rules.

CPMA president Ron Lemaire say the modernization work will include the inspection agency, food safety rules and commerce-related rules. “We have to ensure that through this streamlining or simplification of service, we do not actually reduce the level of service that we have become accustomed to in the market place.”

Lemaire said the industry is in the early stages of talking to the CFIA about the cost impact of the changes.

To comment on the proposal, send a fax to 613-773-7569 or e-mail to: modele-inspection-model@inspection.gc.ca by July 31, with “CFIA inspection modernization” in the subject line.