But will it mean fewer sick people? Canadian food rules being rewritten

First a single inspection agency, now a move to a single inspection approach across all commodities.

As reported by Sarah Schmidt of Postmedia News, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency released Friday its vision to modernize food inspection, making the case for getting rid of eight separate programs for dairy, eggs, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, imported and manufactured food, maple, meat and processed products.

“This challenges the CFIA to manage risks consistently across different types of establishments and different foods. It creates situations in which foods of similar risks may be inspected at different frequencies or in different ways,’” CFIA writes of the current system in its discussion paper.

“The model should raise the bar and set expectations for food control systems that are developed and maintained by industry with risk-based government oversight. It should also standardize requirements and procedures across all food, based on science and risk.”

The release of the proposal, dubbed The Case for Change, kick-starts consultations, with a final plan to be released by next year and phased in over the next five years.

A new food safety act, bringing together multiple laws under one piece of legislation, is also expected to be tabled as early as this month.

Together, these changes will represent the single largest transformation since CFIA was created in 1997, when food inspection programs from different federal departments were brought under the umbrella of the agency.

View the CFIA’s The Case for Change and the direction that the Agency is taking to improve food inspection on the inspection modernization section of the CFIA website.

Forewarned: multiple summaries are easy to find, actual details, not so much. Typical CFIA.

And it wouldn’t be CFIA without heaps of self-referential praise.

"We already have a top-tier food safety system but our goal is to be the best," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Simply put, we want Canadians to have the safest food in the world. That is why we are seeking input from consumers, inspectors, food safety experts, industry and everyone who has a role to play in food safety."

Sounds good. Walk the talk. Provide better information about outbreaks, especially homegrown ones.