(Edmonton Journal – George Da Pont)
Re: “Food inspections take hit in budget,” Editorial, April 5.
Let me assure Canadians that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will continue to verify that labels on food products are accurate and follow Canadian labelling regulations.
Verification is carried out in many ways – through investigations into complaints, facility inspections, inspections at the retail level and laboratory testing of products, including verification of the nutrient content or calories in the food at manufacturers, importers and retailers.
The new web-based label self-assessment tool mentioned in Budget 2012 will help industry create compliant labels. There will be no reduction in the CFIA’s activities to verify compliance with labelling regulations.
The CFIA will continue to verify ingredient lists, including the potential presence of undeclared allergens. While the new labelling tool is intended to better inform industry of its labelling responsibilities, it may also be used by consumers to learn more about labelling and the rules companies must follow.
Changes to the label verification program do not come into effect until fiscal year 2014-15. In the interim, the CFIA will work with consumers and industry to ensure that the CFIA’s approach continues to meet needs and expectations.
The CFIA remains committed to having one of the best food safety systems in the world.
Budget 2012 confirms the government’s commitment to food safety. The budget provided an additional $51.2 million over two years to enhance surveillance and early detection and improve response capabilities to foodborne illness emergencies.
George Da Pont, president, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa
Date: April 9, 2012