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Twentieth meeting of the Agri-Subcommittee on Food Safety: Record of decision

November 6, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

Key decision points

  • The meeting focused on the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) including their impacts and approaches to outcome-based food safety and public trust.
  • As requested, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will provide an update on their training efforts to prepare the inspectorate for the introduction of SFCR at the next ASFS meeting. To complement this discussion, industry will share their experiences to date with regard to the new SFCR and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) will share the impacts of the SFCR on Canadian exports.
  • ASFS members will continue to discuss how this committee can provide value for the agriculture sector moving forward.
  • CFIA provided information on their appeals and escalation process for validation or inspection decisions. To further this discussion, the CFIA Inspector General will be invited to present at a future ASFS meeting on their role in CFIA.

A full listing of decisions is found in Annex A.

Introductions

Co-chairs welcomed participants and reviewed the meeting agenda.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR)

  • CFIA provided a verbal update on the SFCR and on the webinar that was held on October 19, 2018.
  • The Agency noted that they are busy with outreach activities and answering individual questions from stakeholders on the SFCR. Due to this high demand, additional outreach with stakeholders is being planned.
  • Future ASFS meetings will include presentations on:
    • CFIA internal training efforts to prepare for the SFCR.
    • Experiences from inspected parties with the new regulations (both existing and new inspected parties).
    • AAFC-CFIA International Affairs Branch to inform how the SFCRs impacts Canadian exports.
  • Members were encouraged to register at MyCFIA to securely conduct business with the CFIA and to check the SFCR content for additional guidance as the regulations come into force.

The Application of an Outcome-Based Approach to Food Safety

  • CFIA presented on how the outcome-based approach can enhance food safety across the value chain as well as how the CFIA’s role, guidance and validation activities can contribute.
    • It was noted that it is the responsibility of the inspected parties to demonstrate that they are meeting the regulatory outcomes in a reasonable manner.
    • CFIA also noted that guidance will be available and that the validation step will start when an inspected party introduces a new processing method/technology (for example, a new process or piece of equipment), and not for established, existing, or approved processes.
  • CFIA indicated that through the outcome-based approach Canada is breaking new ground and that international partners will need time to “catch up” to Canada’s approach.
  • The Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition invited interested parties to attend the workshop on the use of risk management tools (that is, food safety objectives, performance objectives and performance criterion). The workshop is being planned for spring 2019.

CFIA’s Appeal Process of Inspection Decisions

  • CFIA provided the ASFS with information on their appeals and escalation process for validation or inspection decisions.
  • CFIA anticipates there will be an increased volume of newly licensed regulated parties with the SFCR coming into force and as such have committed to clearly state the guides they offer to stakeholders. Industry commented that a lot of Canadian stakeholders will be regulated (that is, dealing with inspectors) for the first time once the SFCR comes into force.
  • It was also suggested that the CFIA Inspector General be invited to present at a future ASFS meeting on their role in the CFIA.

ASFS: Accomplishments and Review

  • AAFC made a presentation to kick-start future discussions on the ASFS model. Industry and government members commented positively on the work of the ASFS to date and agreed that the roundtable is still relevant. Members noted that they are receptive to having a discussion on the mandate and membership principles of the ASFS going forward, and to further explore ways to make the body more strategic in nature.
  • ASFS members were asked to provide written comments on the questions posed within AAFC’s presentation.
  • AAFC will compile a list of consultative groups related to food safety and regulations and share it with the ASFS membership.

A Food Policy for Canada

AAFC shared the results of A Food Policy for Canada’s national consultations to receive feedback. Questions posed focused on how the food policy relates to public trust and to the mandate of the ASFS, as well as on food safety more broadly.

Building Public Trust

  • The Chair of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI) provided an overview of Canada’s public trust activities and the work of the Public Trust Steering Committee (PTSC) to date.
  • It was noted that there has been limited activity to date and that a funding application has been submitted to AAFC (announced at the Canadian Food Safety Forum on November 14, 2018).
  • Questions focused on activities to date, industry priorities and whether an investment in the PTSC can have a positive impact.
  • The 2018 edition of the CCFI Public Trust Research report will be released November 13, 2018. AAFC will share this document with ASFS members once it is public.

Roundtable discussion

ASFS industry members provided updates on their respective roundtables and on activities of interest to their sector/industry.

Conclusion

The next ASFS meeting is tentatively scheduled for spring 2019.

Annex A

Action Items
Action Item Description Responsibility Timeline
20-1 The Canadian National Millers Association to complete a discussion paper regarding sector-specific guidance for grain-based foods, based on the experience of the USFDA and industry gained in implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act and its related rules. The proposed paper will be circulated to ASFS members upon completion. Canadian National Millers Association Spring 2019 (tentative)
20-2 The discussion on the Safe Foods For Canadians Regulations (SFCR) was timely. To continue the momentum on this topic, future ASFS meetings will include presentations on:
  1. CFIA training efforts to prepare the inspectorate on the SFCR.
  2. Inspected parties and their experiences with the new regulations (both existing and new inspected parties).
  3. AAFC-CFIA International Affairs Branch to inform how the SFCRs impacts Canadian exports.
CFIA/AAFC Spring 2019
20-3 Interested parties are invited to attend the CSCFSC’s workshop on the use of risk management tools (that is, food safety objectives, performance objectives and performance criterion) in Canada’s outcome-based food safety regulatory system. All June 2019
20-4 Continue the discussion on the ASFS accomplishments and review, following up on the momentum at the coming ASFS or in a mid-session webinar/call.
  • ASFS members to provide written comments on questions posed in presentation.
  • AAFC to compile a list of consultative groups related to food safety and regulations.
AAFC Spring 2019
20-5 AAFC to circulate the results of the 2018 public trust research conducted by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity (CCFI). AAFC November 2018

Participants

Co-Chairs

  • Rosser Lloyd, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
  • Dennis Laycraft, Canadian Cattlemen's Association

Industry members

  • Albert Chambers, Canadian Supply Chain Food Safety Coalition
  • Erica Charlton, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council
  • Denise Allen, Food Processors of Canada (by phone)
  • Connie Kehler, Canadian Herb, Spice and Specialty Agriculture
  • Susan Abel, Food & Consumer Products of Canada
  • Heather Gale, CanadaGAP
  • Olivier Beaulieu-Charbonneau, Dairy Processors Association of Canada
  • Gordon Harrison, Canadian National Millers Association
  • Pamela Harrod, Dairy Farmers of Canada
  • Sharon Mohammed, Maple Leaf Foods
  • Brenda Carr, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada
  • Alan Schlachter, Croplife Canada

Federal members

  • Lyzette Lamondin, CFIA
  • Denise MacGillivray, Health Canada
  • Adam Arsenault, AAFC
  • Heather Brown, Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Laura Anderson, Canadian Grain Commission (by phone)

Speakers

  • Kim McConnell, Adfarm (by phone)
  • Scott Rattray, CFIA
  • Michelle Yakimchuck, CFIA
  • Martin Appelt, CFIA
  • Jason Baillargeon, AAFC
  • Tammy Switucha, CFIA

Federal observers

  • Boubacar Sidibe, CFIA
  • Jay Conte, AAFC
  • Amrane Boumghar, AAFC

Federal support

  • Shane Campbell, AAFC
  • Adam Carley, AAFC
  • Elizabeth Sepulveda, AAFC
  • Ahmed Gameil, AAFC
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