The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently announced that it would be conducting face-to-face engagement sessions in five Canadian cities in October 2013 (Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver). These sessions will provide the public (consumers, food industry participants and other stakeholders) with an opportunity to raise food labelling issues and to provide input to the CFIA on the Canadian food labelling modernization initiative that is presently underway. A key goal of the sessions is to "collect and prioritize" issues that are important to consumers, industry and other stakeholders. The CFIA will be in attendance at the sessions and has indicated that representatives from Health Canada will be present at the engagement sessions to participate in the discussion.
The sessions will also provide an opportunity for the CFIA to update consumers, industry and other stakeholders on the status of the Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan (Action Plan) and other initiatives being undertaken under the Action Plan. The Action Plan was announced on May 17, 2013 and "focuses on continuous improvement in food safety based on science, global trends, and best practices"7. It sets out specific steps that the CFIA will take in four key areas: (1) stronger food safety rules; (2) more effective inspection; (3) a commitment to service; and (4) more information for consumers.
Information on other initiatives under the Action Plan will also be presented by the CFIA at these sessions, specifically the proposed regulatory modernization for federal food inspection and the proposed Imported Food Sector Product Regulations.
The CFIA has noted that feedback from the engagement sessions will contribute to "key food safety and consumer protection initiatives that the CFIA is pursuing in order to modernize food safety and bring the Safe Food for Canadians Act into force"8.