Canada Adopts New Food Safety Law

November 26, 2012

The Safe Food for Canadians Act saw unanimous approval in Parliament.

Canada is ready to adopt a new food safety law, following unanimous approval from Members of Parliament last Tuesday. The Safe Food for Canadians Act, bill S-11, was approved by the Canadian Senate in October 2012.

S-11 is in part a response to the recent XL Foods beef recall, said to be one of Canada’s biggest meat recalls in history. The bill consolidates a number of existing food safety laws-the Fish Inspection Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act-to allow for simpler, more consistent compliance and enforcement.

Canada’s Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says that S-11 will prohibit the sale of recalled foods; allow for tougher penalties against food production malpractice; and allow for CFIA to require traceability systems for food producers and processors. The bill should also tighten security on Canadian imports and exports, says CFIA:

 

The Act includes provisions to register or license importers, holding them accountable for the safety of the food commodities they bring into the country. Canada already has a rigorous system to verify the safety of imported foods, and this legislation makes that system even stronger. For exports, the CFIA gains the ability to certify all foods for export. Given that export certification is a requirement of many trading partners, this new authority will create new export opportunities for Canadian products.

 

S-11 only covers the sale of food commodities. Natural Health Products (NHPs) will continue to be regulated under “Natural Health Product Regulations” made under Canada’s Food and Drugs Act.