OTTAWA, Feb. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Canada's food industry and government
regulators have an opportunity to work as partners to make a good
system even better, according to a Conference Board of Canada report, All Together Now: Regulation and Food Industry Performance.
"As a top-tier food producer, Canada is starting from a position of
strength. If we build on our current advantages by improving our
regulatory systems, we will have the best of both worlds -
internationally competitive food companies and a safe regulatory
environment," said Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Organizational
Effectiveness and Learning.
Food is one of the most heavily regulated sectors in Canada. Laws,
regulations, and administrative procedures come from all levels of
government. Businesses that innovate in areas such as food additives,
infant formula and novel foods, or those that wish to make a health
claim, face an especially heavy regulatory standard.
Despite the high level of regulation in Canada's food sector, a survey
of almost 1,200 businesses for the Conference Board's Centre for Food
in Canada found that a majority of respondents see regulation as either
somewhat or very positive for business performance. Furthermore, there
is no appetite in business for significant deregulation of the
However, the food industry has also indicated that it sees room for
improvement in the regulatory system. The main areas identified are
regulatory scope, the transparency of the pre-market approval system
and the functioning of the inspection system.
The Conference Board concludes that the food regulatory system would
benefit from a more performance-based approach. Setting clearly-defined
national objectives in areas such as safety, nutrition and health would
enable measurement as to whether regulatory activities achieve public
policy goals. Once objectives are set, food companies would be expected
to meet these performance benchmarks - as is done in countries such as
Australia and New Zealand.
The report identifies structural and process reforms that could help to
improve outcomes for food safety and nutrition, while supporting the
viability of food businesses. These include:
Defining national food goals and performance measures;
Enacting a new Food Act to replace the Food and Drugs Act;
Instituting an ombudsman to adjudicate disputes between companies and
Recognizing the growing role of private standards, and incorporating
both public and private systems into a co-regulation model;
Harmonizing domestic regulatory systems, and selectively harmonizing
Canadian and U.S. systems; and
Recognizing, on a selective basis, pre-market reviews of Canada's major
trading partners for innovative food products, to expedite the Canadian
This report is produced for the Centre for Food in Canada (CFIC).
Launched in 2010, CFIC is a multi-year Conference Board of Canada
program of research and dialogue. About 25 companies and organizations
have invested in the project, which will culminate in 2013 with the
development of a Canadian Food Strategy.
Link to report: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=4666
Link to Centre for Food in Canada: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/cfic.aspx
Link to Canadian Food Summit 2012:
SOURCE CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA
For further information:
Brent Dowdall, Media Relations, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 448