On the occasion of the conference "Canada - EU. An Evolving Business Partnership" held on 21 November at the Confindustria headquarters in Rome, at the end of the panel dedicated to the agri-food industry, we addressed some questions to Noemi Trombetti, Food Safety & Quality expert (ITA - Inspection Training Auditing Corporation, ESI - Euroservizi Impresa), concerning the Safe Food for Canadians Regulation (SFCR), the new Canadian food safety regulation in force since January 15, 2019, was the main topic of its conference report.
Dr. Trombetti, what will be the impact of the new legislation on our operators?
The new Canadian legislation was created in 2012 with the aim of making the food system even safer, focusing on prevention and allowing faster removal of unsafe food from the market. They will also be provided preventive controls which outline the measures to address potential risks to food safety. Obviously being the last born is a rule that makes a further step forward in the organization of a more powerful and effective regulatory framework.
How does the Safe Food for Canadians Regulation makes it more effective as already provided in terms of food safety from the Canadian system?
Canada now brings together in a single regulation 14 different regulations: from regulations on agricultural products to meat, milk, eggs, fish, processed products, etc. The reference source has been simplified and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has been modernized. In the USA, however, the FDA, Food and Drug Administration, establishes a series of food categories and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates another series (mainly of animal origin such as beef, chicken, pork and eggs), with a continuous and chaotic overlap that causes confusion for operators in terms of adjustment for export. Canada, from January, will, therefore, move towards simplifying the impact of food safety regulations on operators.
Returning to the impact on operators, what should be done to comply with the new legislation?
As I said, the regulation started its journey in 2012 as Safe Food for Canadians Act illustrating the new objectives. The SFCR clarifies how to achieve them. Traceability is established, as conceived in Europe according to the EC Regulation 178/2002. The compulsory License for Canadian Importers is established and a new preventive approach is created and based on the Preventive Controls, which will be added to the HACCP system. Importers and exporters will have to demonstrate that they have implemented the Preventive Controls Plan, otherwise, there will be a suspension of the license in one case or the customs block on the other.
Italian operators are ready?
With the Centro Studi Italia Canada, we have participated several times during this first year of CETA, to disseminate information on the subject. Today (Ed. Seminar held at Confindustria on 21 November), it emerged that representative organizations of operators from different food sectors still need to receive more and more correct information on the subject. Also to overcome any residual self-reference, based on the belief (often corresponding to reality) that Italian products are better than others in the world and that our system is the most effective in the protection of food safety. I think that occasions like that of today's conference, are the opportunities to prepare to face, without prejudice but with the proper information, the new challenges coming from the North American market, which sees us already historically protagonists, even thinking about our immigrant communities in the US and Canada. In this sense, I would like to say that the Centro Studi Italia Canada and the network developed with ITA and ESI are really working in favor of national companies and for their growth on the North American markets.