The improved food inspection model: key components
What is inspection modernization?
Canada has one of the strongest food safety systems in the world. To further strengthen food safety, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is developing a more comprehensive inspection approach. This approach will be applied across imported and domestic food commodities. It includes
- an improved and standardized food inspection model
- modern science
- improved data collection
- better training and tools for CFIA inspectors
Why is it necessary?
To provide Canadians with
- a stronger, more comprehensive food inspection system that integrates innovation, the latest science and best practices in an evolving global food environment, and
- more transparent access to information about food, allowing consumers to make informed decisions and healthy choices.
Industry is responsible for producing safe food and meeting regulatory requirements. The CFIA is responsible for verifying compliance through inspection.
How will food inspection be better?
A standardized inspection approach would
- clearly-define responsibilities for regulated parties and the CFIA,
- be based on preventing or mitigating food safety risks, and
- provide consistent oversight for all regulated food sectors.
A regulated party is any food business that is subject to regulations enforced by the CFIA.
Oversight defines the frequency, scope and rigour of inspection.
The improved food inspection model: Key components
The CFIA has drafted an improved food inspection model, which proposes an approach based on risk and the following five components.
- CFIA oversight
- Compliance and enforcement
- System performance
A risk-based approach to inspection uses the level of risk to determine the level of oversight.
Regulated parties that import or export food or that prepare food for trade between provinces would be licensed. They would develop and use preventive control plans scalable to the size and complexity of their operation.
Preventive control plans document the measures to prevent or mitigate all sources of food safety risk and meet regulatory requirements.
2. CFIA oversight
The level of CFIA oversight would be based on the level of risk for both domestic- and imported-food sectors.
Inspection remains the core of the Agency’s activities. A systems approach to inspection, based on regulated parties’ preventive control plans, would complement current inspection methods. This approach would require CFIA inspectors to globally assess all evidence gathered during inspection and to determine trends and potential impacts on food safety and compliance.
The systems approach to inspection assesses the regulated parties’ plans and processes to determine their effectiveness in achieving safe and compliant food.
The CFIA would be responsible for
- developing and communicating requirements for industry
- determining that industry’s controls are effective and acceptable
Through a performance-based approach, regulated parties would be responsible for
- determining appropriate controls to address the risks posed by their operation
- providing evidence that their controls and operating processes result in safe food
Performance-based requirements describe what is to be achieved, using broadly stated rules for regulated parties. Requirements must be clear and measurable and recognize that there are different ways to meet desired food safety outcomes.
4. Compliance and enforcement
The CFIA would have one common compliance and enforcement strategy for food. Should non-compliance be found, actions taken would be fair, predictable and appropriate.
5. System performance
The model would include mechanisms to evaluate the CFIA’s inspection program for consistency, quality of design and performance.
For more information, read the revised draft improved food inspection model, available at inspection.gc.ca.
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