We’ve talked a lot about issues of interest to people in the pharmaceutical industry, but at AAPS, a commitment to quality control and consumer safety doesn’t stop with drugs and medical manufacturing. We’re also interested in using our knowledge for food safety certification for commercial food handlers of all kinds, and for teaching the BRC food safety standards to food manufacturers.
In Ontario, food handling is regulated by laws like the Food Safety and Quality Act of 2001 (last amended in 2009). The highlights of the act include the requirement, alongside regulation 562, that food handlers of all kind have valid certification, which is in keeping with the federal efforts at quality control and safety, backed up with institutions like the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).
The issue of “local” foods
Food is subjected to the same degree of rigor you find in pharmaceutical quality control, but the regulations don’t end with how food is handled. Right now, one of the big things being contested is what is allowed to be “local”. To sell your edibles as locally grown or prepared, the food must have come not more than 50 Km from where it is being sold. That’s from point to point, not following the roads. Proponents of changing the 1974 advertising and branding regulation feel that it just doesn’t reflect the needs of modern farmers and food manufacturers.
On the flip side, Ontario merchants can also refer to the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations, also enforced by the CFIA. But this is still seen as too constrictive by the Premier and other people interested in changing the law. True, this version lets food from adjacent districts be sold as “local” instead of relying on distance, but you can expect discussing altering the law to be a priority for the Ontario government.
Still, regardless of how the definition of “local” changes, nothing matters more to food handlers of all kinds than their reputation for safety. Food scandals did incredible damage to China as an importer and thus maintaining high level of regulation, such as mandated food safety training, is one of the easiest ways to make sure that everyone knows that you are dedicated to meeting and exceeding the standards.
What influences your food purchases?