Currently, the trading relationship between Canada and the United States is the largest in the world. In 2014 alone there were $26.2 billion in agriculture and agri-food products imported to Canada from the U.S. This massive amount of trade requires similar food inspection standards and systems to ensure the safety of citizens on either side of the border. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed an agreement with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada, which confirms that food safety standards and systems in both countries are comparable, leading to the facilitation of trade, enhanced cooperation, and better overall safety for both countries.
Here’s what students who are considering a food handling course need to know about the agreement.
Food Handling Course Students: Here is How the Decision was Made
The process that led to the pact between the United States and Canada is called ‘systems recognition.’ This involved reviewing Canada’s food safety regulation systems in order to see if they provide a similar set of protection to that of the FDA. These reviews are not always used to make pacts, often they are used to provide an overall picture of how strict or safe another country’s food safety regulation standards are. This review of a system is done using the International Comparability Assessment Tool (ICAT). If you’re studying towards your food handling certificate, you might want to know that this document informs the review process, which includes taking a look at laws and regulations, programs of inspection, how food-related illnesses are handled, as well as laboratory policies. In essence, the document carefully evaluates the regulations followed by professionals working in the food industry, to ensure that they’re keeping food-borne illnesses and contaminants out of the food supply. After this review, the FDA, CFIA, and Health Canada confirmed that their food safety standards and systems are similar enough to be deemed comparable.
Students Taking a Food Handling Course Know Food Safety is a Top Concern in North America
The FDA states that there is no task more important at hand than ensuring the success of the global food system. The globalization of our food supply and its safety is also a top concern for the CFIA. In fact, during a 15 year period, from 1991 to 2006, Canada’s food imports rose 160% while its population rose just 15%. With this drastic increase in imported foods, it’s a good thing CFIA is making strides to partner with the FDA and continue to improve inspection processes. With our new ability to source food from anywhere in the world, this development is needed now more than ever. Perhaps students currently in a food handling course might one day see similar partnerships between Canada and other countries.
Hopefully, this new pact with the FDA can better protect consumers. According to the CFIA, one of the major benefits of this pact is that information can be shared between the two regulatory agencies, therefore increasing the quality of food that makes it into both countries.
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