Food safety fast track

12/02/2013 12:07:00 PM
The Packer Editorial Board

Canada’s food safety regulations appear to be in the passing lane while here in the U.S. lawmakers seek to lengthen the timeline, calling for a second draft and comment period for proposed food safety rules.

The Safe Food for Canadians Act was passed more than a year after the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act, but officials in Canada have vowed full implementation by January 2015.

Canadians are on pace to beat the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act produce safety regulations, which have a deadline of June 2015.

Regulations crafted under the Safe Food for Canadians Act of 2012 share similar goals to FSMA:

 

  • create stronger traceability rules;
  • enhance record-keeping requirements; and
  • improve the safety of imported food.

 

Canada’s regulations are expected to be more outcome-oriented than the FDA’s “prescriptive” scheme, according to Jane Proctor, vice president for policy and issue management for the Ottawa-based Canadian Produce Marketing Association.

Despite different regulatory regimes along the path to new food safety rules, Canadian and U.S. efforts share common areas of agreement and focus, including record-keeping and requirements for importers.

While having final food safety rules in place is a must for the produce industry to move ahead and adopt the new practices, it’s not a race.

Once food safety laws are in place, the industry will have to live with them, as change will require legislators to act.

It’s wise that time be taken for regulators to hear and incorporate industry input before rules are set.

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