Ontario farmers set high quality standards for the produce sold from their farms. Farmers know the value of maintaining high standards at all levels of production, processing and distribution of foods they are responsible for in the marketplace.
Ontario commodity organizations have participated in programs aimed at ensuring top quality products arrive at the marketplace. Part of that process is traceability, allowing food safety inspectors to trace the food item back to the processor and producer. Imported products in our supermarkets may not offer this feature and the security of quality assurance it provides. As Ontarians increasingly demand local food, the regulations need to be updated to enable our customers to make informed and accurate choices.
Canadian farmers have earned an international reputation for the high quality and safety of the food they produce. Canada’s system is based on the internationally-recognized Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program. HACCP is a systematic proactive approach to food safety used throughout the food system, giving food for the export market a quality standard recognized around the world.
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) offers workshops and webinars on both Food Safety and Traceability. The next policy framework, the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), will be in place by April 1, 2018. One of six priority areas will be Public Trust, also known as Social License, which will focus on solid regulations, improving assurance systems and traceability.
The federal government is developing A Food Policy for Canada; gathering input from Canadians and representatives along the food chain, focusing on areas related to increasing access to affordable food, improving health and food safety, conserving our soil, water, and air and growing more high-quality food. OFA participated in all consultations and brought our perspective, including nine objectives set out in the CFA’s National Food Strategy® to secure a sustainable food future for Canada.
OFA participated in consultations for the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), the next policy framework rolling out by April 2018, and will continue to engage on its delivery to ensure it enhances food safety, assurance, and traceability in Ontario’s food system.
OFA believes systems should remain in place to ensure that the safe and nutritious foods produced by Ontario farmers remain safe throughout the value chain.
OFA believes that additional funding may be needed to ensure the safety of Ontario’s food supply, and we expect the provincial government to recognize and respond to these needs as they are identified.
OFA believes more should be done to promote consumer awareness of the high environmental standards of Ontario’s farmers.