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Main Ingredient Missing from Food Safety Rules? Consistency

TORONO— Canadian carriers are getting different requirements from one shipper to another for exactly the same food products because there’s no uniformity in preventive control plans (PCPs) for transportation. 

Food safety and transportation rules should be consistent throughout the supply chain and resemble U.S. regulations, the Canadian Trucking Alliance says.

“It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to the trucking industry, given the millions of food shipments carried on trucks across the border each year, that Canada and the US come up with a similar set of requirements for the transportation of food,” says CTA president David Bradley.

“The two governments need to end up in roughly the same place on food safety reforms in order to avoid trade disruptions impacting not just trucking companies, but the exporters we serve.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) wants to move Canada away from prescriptive, commodity-specific rules toward preventive ways, showing how risks can be controlled or eliminated before problems arise. Plans would focus on receiving, transportation and storage of food, sanitation and pest control, hygiene, equipment design and maintenance and record-keeping, among other things.

The CFIA plans to give out guidance material, and with input from industry, CTA believes this may lead to greater consistency in preventive controls and help smooth the transition to the new regulations.

But the Safe Food for Canadians Act is only half of the equation for many trucking companies that transport food products south of the border. Equally important will be regulations developed in the United States under the Food Safety Modernization Act, CTA says.

CTA also urged that government acknowledge companies who comply with industry-developed HACCP or HACCP-based food safety programs that have been recognized under CFIA’s Post Farm Food Safety Recognition Program.  

“It is our view that such programs should be sufficient to meet all government regulatory requirements for the transportation of food and that companies shouldn’t have to face new or additional requirements stemming from the new rules,” Bradley says.   

Formal regulations will be published in Part I of the Canada Gazette in spring 2014.

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Filed Under: carriers shippers trucking regulations Canadian Trucking Alliance food safety transportation
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