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OMAFRA proposes changes to processing laws

OMAFRA proposes changes to processing laws

The changes would save some processors about $300 every three years

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Ontario’s agriculture ministry is taking steps to save dairy and meat processors time and money.

OMAFRA introduced a series of changes to the Food Safety and Quality Act and the Milk Act, designed to make it easier for food processors to conduct business in the province.

“Farmers and food processors have told us too many of Ontario’s regulatory requirements are out of date, unnecessary or heavy handed,” Ernie Hardeman, the provincial ag minister, said in a statement yesterday. “They say the process costs them time, money and a lot of frustration, and it doesn’t provide any real added protections for people.”

The changes under the Food Safety and Quality Act well help reduce paperwork and fees among Ontario meat processors.

One amendment, for example, would do away with the need for processors to renew operating licenses every three years, which costs $300. Instead, meat plant operators would pay a one-time fee of $300 and be required to note any changes at the time they happen.

Proposed changes to the Milk Act would help processors with meeting building and equipment requirements.

Currently, the “processing room ceiling height must be at least three metres above the floor,” the legislation says.

The change would remove the mandatory height requirement and replace it with an “outcome-based provision that addresses moisture accumulation on ceilings.”

Other ministers support Hardeman’s proposed changes.

“This is a great step forward towards removing costly and burdensome regulations within the agri-food sector,” Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister for red tape and regulatory burden reduction, said in a statement.

OMAFRA is encouraging the public to comment on the possible amendments.

The government will accept public input until Jan. 10, 2019.

Farms.com has reached out to dairy and meat processors for comment.

Rike_/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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