CANADA - A C$1.7 million food safety programme funded by the governments of Canada and British Columbia will help British Columbian food processors reach new markets locally, across Canada and around the world.
The Post-Farm Food Safety Programme is being delivered by the British Columbian Food Processors Association and encourages businesses to adopt internationally-recognized food safety programmes such as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system.
The programme is designed to assess processors’ current food safety management systems and develop plans to improve those systems.
The programme will also provide funds for food safety improvements in a facility for items such as employee training and new equipment that will help processors move toward and achieve HACCP and other certifications.
This will increase the marketability of British Columbian food products domestically and internationally.
Food and natural health product processing is British Columbia’s largest manufacturing sector, with about C$8 billion in annual sales and more than 30,000 employees.
The BC Food Processors Association has more than 130 members that produce thousands of products - everything from baked goods, beverages (including beer, coffee, and wine), dairy, meat and seafood, natural health, fruit and vegetable products to ethnic specialties and pet food.
The food and beverage processing sector employs close to 21 per cent of British Columbia’s manufacturing workforce.
Companies eligible for the programme include federally or provincially registered businesses with an active GST number, based and operating in B.C. and who have not previously been certified in a recognised food safety assurance system:
- post-farm agri-businesses (processors, transporters, warehouses, distributors, packagers, importers, exporters) that handle food for consumption;
- processing facilities (beyond basic washing, grading and packaging) located on a farm premise and not covered by a certified post-farm food safety programme; and
- First Nations post-farm agri-businesses with a Health Canada site license.
The Post-Farm Food Safety Programme is funded under Growing Forward 2, a five-year agreement launched in 2013 that provides a C$3-billion, federal-provincial-territorial government investment in innovation, competitiveness and market development.
Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South said: “Commitment to food safety plays an important role in making Canada a world leader in producing high quality food products.
“This programme will help industry meet growing consumer expectations and will enhance the competitiveness of the industry overall.”
Scott Hamilton Member of the Legislative Assembly (Delta North, British Columbia)
Said: “B.C. food products are chosen as trusted sources of nutrition by families locally and in markets around the world. Local businesses, the BCFPA and the Governments of B.C. and Canada have worked hard to establish that reputation, and extending food safety programmes to more local companies furthers our collective efforts for B.C. foods to be enjoyed with confidence.”
James Donaldson, CEO, BCFPA said: “The Post Farm Food Safety Programme is a great opportunity for both large and small processors across B.C. to improve and upgrade their facility’s food safety practices and systems.
“The BCFPA is pleased to be offering and managing a programme that will further enhance B.C.’s reputation for safe processed food products.”
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