Ottawa, Ont. – The federal government has introduced the Safe Food for Canadians Act, legislation designed to strengthen the government’s ability to protect consumers from potentially unsafe food.
The new Act will improve food safety management by:
• Instituting a more consistent inspection regime across all food commodities;
• Implementing tougher penalties for activities that put the health and safety of Canadians at risk;
• Providing better control over imports and exports; and
• Strengthening food traceability.
The Safe Food for Canadians Act consolidates the Fish Inspection Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, as well as the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act. Inspection and enforcement powers across all food commodities will also be aligned, improving food safety and reducing overlap.
The Act will also provide a new mechanism for regulated parties to seek review of certain decisions made by Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials.
Under the new Act penalties and fines for unsafe activities will increase. While anyone convicted of a serious offence could have been fined up to $250,000 before, penalties could now reach $5 million or higher at the court’s discretion. New penalties are also being added for recklessly endangering the lives of Canadians through tampering, deceptive practices or hoaxes.
In addition, a new authority in the Act would allow certification of any food commodity for export, while strengthening controls over imported food commodities, and prohibiting imports of unsafe foods.