The Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) plan to streamline their approach to food safety by merging two programs, website Freshcut.com reported.
They claim key benefits for the Canadian fruit and vegetable industry include ensuring consistent and complementary food safety standards from producers and packers to wholesalers and repackers.
Other plus points include lessening the confusion around overlapping programs, or requirements, and adopting an industry-wide food safety system that meets customer requirements.
The two trade bodies see the merger as maintaining strong links between the various levels of the value chain and competing more effectively with other internationally recognized programs.
A single program will also integrate audits, audit checklists, auditor training, government technical reviews and international benchmarking processes – saving time and money.
The two programs will be integrated under an autonomous corporate entity that will function independently of both CHC and CPMA.
Work on the initiative will continue through 2012-13, with funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Integrated Food Safety Initiative under Growing Forward.
It’s expected the new program will be available by 2013-14.