The Action Plan aims to further improve Canada’s food safety system by strengthening food safety rules, more effective inspection, a renewed commitment to service and more information for consumers.
"Canada has a world-class food safety system and our Government is committed to taking real steps to make it even stronger," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "This Action Plan is one of the steps our Government is taking to ensure that our system continues to provide safe food for Canadian families today and in the future."
Through the Action Plan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will launch a number of significant food safety enhancements over the next two years. Most notably, the CFIA will work with consumer groups and industry to develop new regulations that will bring into force the Safe Food for Canadians Act, passed in November 2012.
As a first step, the CFIA is strengthening some of its beef safety rules and has implemented new mandatory requirements that will strengthen the control of E. coli in federally-registered beef plants.
Also, by July 2, 2013, federally-registered plants that produce mechanically tenderized beef cuts, such as steaks or roasts, will be required to label those products as tenderized and with cooking instructions.
While these actions are specific to federally-registered plants, Health Canada also intends to propose broader mandatory labels to identify beef that has been mechanically tenderized at retail outlets like supermarkets. This voluntary practice has been in place since 2012.
This spring, the CFIA will launch a review of the food regulations in Canada that will need to be revised in order to bring the Safe Food for Canadians Act into force. It is expected this work will take up to two years. Active consumer and stakeholder engagement in the process will be important to the success of efforts to bring the new legislation into force.
Consumer groups and stakeholders will have that opportunity at an upcoming food safety regulatory forum in June.