Questions and answers: The Establishment-based Risk Assessment (ERA) model for food establishments
How was the ERA model for food establishments developed?
The ERA model for food establishments was developed by CFIA staff in collaboration with experts from industry, academia, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The development of the model also drew upon the experience of other countries that have used a similar approach to risk assessment, and considered scientific literature as well as leading edge modeling technology.
What risk factors are included in the ERA model for food establishments?
There are three kinds of risk factors that are included in the ERA model for food establishments; inherent, mitigation and compliance factors.
Inherent factors are the risks associated with a specific food commodity, operation or manufacturing process, such as:
- type of activity
- type of products
- processing steps
- distribution to a vulnerable subpopulation
Mitigation factors are the measures or strategies that a food establishment has implemented to control the inherent risks and reduce the overall risk of a food safety issue, such as:
- additional processes/treatments
- international scheme certification
- third party audit
- control of incoming supplies
- quality assurance personnel
- sampling plan
Compliance factors refer to a food establishment's track record on how well it has complied with its own preventive control plan and with regulatory requirements, such as:
- inspection results and impact assessment
- history of enforcement actions
- recalls (class I,II,III)
- food safety confirmed complaints
Why is the CFIA implementing the ERA model for food establishments?
The CFIA is implementing the ERA model for food establishments because it will allow for a more consistent and efficient assessment of risk. The model will help the CFIA use greater precision in the way it designs its programs, prioritizes its oversight activities, allocates resources and drafts annual works plans. The ERA model will result in a more consistent, predictable, and transparent assessment process for regulated parties.
How often will the ERA model for food establishments be updated?
The CFIA will review and update the ERA model for food establishments on an ongoing basis, using the most up-to-date science, technology, and risk assessment approaches. It is designed to adapt quickly to emerging global and scientific trends, new risks and changes within establishments.
What is the "Additional Establishment Information"?
Once industry has obtained their Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence in My CFIA, they will be prompted to provide information by clicking on the "Additional Establishment Information" online questionnaire. Some of the additional establishment information the CFIA is looking to capture is related to mitigation factors, and operational activities. Completion of the information will assist the CFIA in populating the ERA model for food establishments to assess the food safety risk of an establishment and allow the Agency to determine the appropriate oversight of its food related activities. Providing this information may help lower an establishment's risk result, lower the frequency and/or the intensity of future inspections and possibly reduce the time it takes to inspect the facility. More information on how to provide this additional information can be found at inspection.gc.ca/MyCFIA under the "User Guidance" section.
When will the CFIA be using the ERA model for food establishments?
The Agency will be using the ERA model to inform program planning on a commodity-by-commodity basis starting in 2019.
- Understanding the ERA-Food model
- ERA-Food: The science behind it
- Infographic: ERA-Food model
- Additional Establishment Information
- Industry eLearning on the ERA-Food model
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