Canadian Government Invests $72,500 for On-Farm Food Safety Recognition Program
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
Chicken Farmers of Canada were granted $72,500 by the federal government to undergo an audit for the on-farm food safety program. The announcement was made at their annual summer meeting held in Winnipeg, with MP James Bezan making the announcement on behalf of the government. The funding was made possible by the Growing Forward policy framework through the Canadian Integrated Safety Initiative. The CIFSI is a program that has been designed to meet two primary objectives, to assist the agriculture sector in responding to consumer demands for improved food safety on-farm and to equip the sector in managing risk in a proactive way. The announcement signals the government’s support for Canadian chicken farmers by assisting them in strengthening food safety on farms across the country. Currently 98% of chicken farmers across Canada are already certified on the program.
“Where we see the benefit is being able to demonstrate to consumers and the Canadian public about what is happening on Canadian chicken farms, that’s really the take away and the goal of achieving full government recognition through their recognition program “says Steve Leech, National Program Manager for Chicken Farmers of Canada.
The funding will assist the CFC to proceed with their final stage in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s On-Farm Food Safety Recognition Program. The CFC is working towards becoming the first commodity organization to achieve full recognition status. There are about 18 other commodity groups who are working in various stages along program implementation. That commodity organization will be able to look to the CFC experiences through the pilot project.
The funding will equip CFC with the tools necessary to follow through on a third party audit, while the government reviews and provides an oversight role into the process. The CFC has been implementing different phases of the program since 2001 and was ready to apply for the final recognition status when the government outlined their new protocol for applicants in the spring of 2012.
“We [Chicken Farmers of Canada] will be able to demonstrate to Canadian consumers and government officials and everyone in the stakeholder chain about the practices that are occurring on farms” says Leech.