With the introduction of the new Safe Foods for Canadians Act, more than 50,000 participants in the food sector will come under Federal jurisdiction for the first time. In anticipation of its increased supervisory obligations, CFIA is looking to private certification schemes as a way to assist it in assessing and managing risk.
In the arena of food safety, global initiatives such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) already create an opportunity international collaboration in the creation private certification schemes which emphasize food safety. CFIA has also developed several initiatives to assist it in meeting its goals. The key CFIA initiative which will factor into the private certification policy is the Food Safety Recognition Program (FSRP), a food safety program developed and implemented by industry organizations within Canada.
In a recent information bulletin, CFIA has outlined how it plans to use private certification schemes in managing its obligations: “The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is transforming how it delivers its food safety programs and activities to better meet the needs of today’s consumer and industry. The CFIA recognizes that private certification schemes may play an important role in helping industry achieve food safety regulatory objectives, provided they can be assessed as being effective, credible and aligned with public policy objectives.” (http://www.inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/accountability/consultations/regulatory-risk-based-oversight/private-certification-policy/eng/1452808755126/1452808821799?chap=1)
While CFIA will remain responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance, it appears that if private certification schemes are credible in meeting federal legislated food safety requirements, compliance with such schemes will be factored into CFIA assessments.