EDMONTON, July 11, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, along with Randy Boissonault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, visited MacEwan University to highlight a $24.4 million investment through the recently launched Food Policy for Canada to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) crack down on food fraud.
The funding will help the CFIA tackle the mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products in order to protect consumers from deception and companies from unfair competition. This investment includes the revamping of the current food fraud program, conducting more inspections and collecting more samples to uncover sources of food fraud, and gathering surveillance data for additional intelligence. The funding will also support the development of new detection methods and tools to help identify food fraud, and enhance efforts to bring awareness to partners to improve food authenticity.
By tackling food fraud, the Government of Canada is also protecting domestic producers, such as honey producers, from unfair competition. On July 9th, the Government released a report announcing that surveillance and enforcement actions by the CFIA prevented nearly 12,000 kg of adulterated honey, valued at close to $77,000, from entering the Canadian market.
The Food Policy for Canada is the product of consultation and collaboration with Canadians across the country. The Government of Canada heard from more than 45,000 Canadians, including food producers and processors, experts in environment, health and food security, Indigenous groups, non-government organizations, and community advocates.
The vision for the Food Policy for Canada developed through these consultations is: All people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious and culturally diverse food. Canada's food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment, and supports our economy.
To realize this vision, the Government of Canada is investing $134 million through Budget 2019, to support new initiatives in key action areas, including:
a Local Food Infrastructure Fund designed to support community led project that improve access to safe, healthy and culturally diverse food;
a new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities;
a challenge fund to support the most innovative food waste reduction ideas in food processing, grocery retail, and food service;
taking the first steps to work alongside provinces, territories, and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program; and
the creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council to bring together the expertise and diversity needed beyond government to address the food challenges of today, as well as challenges in Canada's food system in the future.
The Food Policy for Canada aligns with the objectives of initiatives across the Federal Government, such as the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Heathy Eating Strategy, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, among others.
"Everyone at the table!"
"Our Government is committed to addressing food fraud, which is an emerging issue resulting in consumers and food business not getting what they are paying for. It can pose a potential health risk to consumers, reputational risks to our world-class Canadian food industry, as well as unfair competition for our producers. Through the Food Policy for Canada, we will address those risks and ensure our food system can prosper and grow."
- Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"I am proud to join Minister Bibeau here in Edmonton to announce important investments that will help Canada tackle the issue of food fraud, and help crack down on mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products."
- Randy Boissonault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre
Food fraud can be found in all different types of food but may be most often reported in olive oil, honey, dry spices, fish, and organic food products.
In certain cases, food fraud can be a health risk if someone has food allergies and/or when a hazardous material is added to food, such as melamine in milk. Food fraud can occur at any step in the food processing continuum (raw product, processing, packaging, etc.).
In Canada, it is prohibited to sell a food that is unsafe or falsely labelled. However, food fraud still happens and is an emerging issue around the world. It is estimated that fraud may cost the global food industry between $10 and $15 billion per year, affecting about 10% of all commercially-sold food products.
In 2017, Canada produced 92 million pounds of honey, worth $188 million, while imports were worth $41 million.
The Food Policy for Canada will also help the country meet its commitments under the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste, and encourage a sustainable food system.