Safe Food Canada – The Learning Partnership (SFC), a not-for-profit organization aiming to modernize the way industry and regulatory professionals learn about food safety, had its official launch event on Nov. 27.
As part of the launch, there was a panel discussion addressing the topic of food safety in today’s complex global food system. The panel featured Dr. Bruce Archibald, president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Ted Bilyea, chair of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute (CAPI), Michael Burrows, CEO of Maple Lodge Farms, and Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, professor at the University of Guelph’s Food Institute.
SFC announced its initial strategy and founding partnerships for what it deems as the most compelling issue in Canada’s food system: the modernization of food safety training and education.
“Because of rapidly changing consumer demands and with the Safe Food for Canadians Act, both the Canadian food industry and regulators are now at a tipping point and must shift to more consistent, competency-based food safety training,” explains Brian Sterling, president and CEO of SFC. “Our mandate is to modernize the design and development of food safety and food protection training; we must bring together food professionals from industry and government and help them do that.”
SFC recently completed an exploratory study of industry spending and return on investment on food safety training in Canada, the results of which it expects to publish early in the new year. SFC is already seeking participants across North America to conduct a more comprehensive benchmark study in 2016.
The organization is also collaborating with the International Food Protection Training Institute and other businesses to create a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) for training design and content, with a goal of coming up with a training quality standard so that more consistent and comprehensive education can be delivered to industry and regulatory professionals.
The first founding sponsors and contributing partners that will serve as the basis of an advisory council to the company were also announced. These organizations include: the Canadian Meat Council, the US Grocers Manufacturers Association Science & Education Foundation, Maple Leaf Foods, the University of Guelph’s Department of Food Science, and the World Bank’s Global Food Safety Partnership.