Catch a glimpse into what is top-op-mind for leading Food Regulation experts today.
We asked our Food Regulatory & Quality Assurance speakers the following question regarding the future of food regulation, and they were kind enough to share their insights with us:
What do you think will be the top food regulatory issues in the next few years?
CANADIAN FOOD INSPECTION AGENCY
In terms of exporting and their requirements to manage complex production chains, the trend for Canada’s trading partners is to place greater controls on foods that are imported into their countries, with an emphasis on controls applied before export (i.e. upstream controls) such as export certification and the ability and need to be aware of foreign country food standards that must be met by exporters to market their products into that country. From an import perspective, ensuring foreign suppliers are aware of the food safety measures required to be met to ship capacity, including traceability, recall and ensuring food safety controls are maintained throughout the supply chain. As for consumer protection, issues we can anticipate would be changing consumer patterns and behaviours (e.g. online food sales), and how industry and government could adapt, addressing food fraud and leveraging the roles and responsibilities of consumers and industry, as well as government, to manage risks in the food environment.
Canada Organic Trade Association
Without hesitation, I would say that the Safe Food for Canadians Regulation would be the biggest regulatory food issue affecting the organic sector in the next few years. The language in Part 14 of the SFCR represents a significant departure from the regulations that currently regulate organics (the Organic Product Regulations). The industry was given an opportunity to comment on the proposed SFCR in the Spring of 2017, however it is unclear as to how the industry’s recommendations will be incorporated into the final version. How the organic industry will have to adapt to meet the new requirements in SFCR remains to be seen.
City of Toronto
As I see it the major issue for regulation in the next few years is how to allow Canadian food companies to innovate new products while still making sure that those products are produced safely. Product innovation, as I see it, is created by small scale producers who do not have the capital necessary to always meet all regulatory requirements, as written. That does not mean they are producing unsafe food items or producing in an unsafe manner. Regulations need to be more flexible to allow this innovation and still make sure all products are produced safely. In the next 5 years, along with the legalization of marijuana, there will be companies looking to produce edible marijuana products. Those will not be the large producers. How do we encourage this production while insuring that companies adhere to the guidelines that will be set out.
- Being compliant with FSMA for USA and the Safe Food for Canadian Act
- Food Fraud
- Transparent and Rapid Traceability
- International Regulations Compliance for Manufacturers whose products are being exported
- If raw material is from animal source then what was the feed and treatment of that animal plus the locality of the animal and the processing methods including processing aids
- New minimum wage increase and Employees Health and Safety along with Food Safety
- Food and Raw Material Identifications
Canadian Organic Growers
Ashley St Hilaire
Adapting to the new Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) is going to be one of the biggest challenges for producers logistically and financially especially for fruit and vegetable and small-scale producers. Operators with organic certification will have the added challenge of complying with changes to the Organic Products Regulations, which were incorporated by reference into the SFCR.
Pfenning’s Organic Vegetables Inc.
Organic Label Claims: The report “The State of Organics: Federal-Provincial-Territorial Performance Report 2017,” published by the Canadian Organic Trade Association, outlines significant differences in the regulatory landscape across the country. Some provinces and territories do not have organic standards, so items marketed within those provinces or territories have little to no oversight over organic claims. This is particularly problematic in direct-to-consumer local markets, where producers have very little incentive to participate in the certification process when their consumers are not demanding verification of certificates.
The rise of ‘Natural’ and ‘No-spray’ claims mean very little from a production practice standpoint, and organic is the only claim backed up by a rigorous third party inspection and audit process. We need more support for producers in local markets to participate in the certification process, and more regulatory oversight to ensure organic claims are backed up by certification. Organic & PMRA: Producers are struggling to gain access to biopesticides that are approved for organic production and are readily available to US growers. Biopesticide manufacturers may not see a market incentive to pay the costs of the Canadian approval process when Canada is a much smaller market than the US. While on the one hand we want a robust regulatory review to ensure products are safe and effective, the current pace of approvals are creating a competitive disadvantage for organic producers in Canada trying to compete with US imports.
Gordon Food Service
I see the CFIA (like the FDA) looking towards the supply chain to hold the industry accountable to the standards set. They’re starting to present regulations, like the Safe Food for Canadians Act, to drive a proactive vs reactive stance within each member of the supply chain (whether they are a manufacturer or distributor). A “box in, box out” operation is no longer that simple. They’re looking for each member along the supply chain to take responsibility for the safety of the food they are procuring and selling.