The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) has launched a food safety fund, identifying the issue as a top priority to ensure the ongoing viability and growth of the country’s fresh produce sector.
It said the establishment of the Canadian Food Safety Fund (CFSF) had come about because it understood a food safety incident in one commodity group or segment could have “devastating repercussions throughout the industry.”
“We actively recognized the need for ongoing Canadian-focused research and education in the areas of pathogens, regulatory changes and best practices so members can stay at the forefront of food safety in Canada,” CPMA president Ron Lemaire said.
“We saw a unique opportunity to help support research projects that would typically be cost-prohibitive to many of the smaller companies that make up our membership.
“The Fund will therefore facilitate and disseminate the important work, current and future, occurring in the produce industry.”
The CFSF’s main goals are to support vital, Canadian-focused, food safety research; to develop educational programs and key information for CPMA members on existing and emerging food safety challenges; and to increase government outreach, including in the U.S. and Mexico, to address food safety issues for CPMA members.
Through the CFSF, CPMA members can be confident that their organization is committed to continuous improvement within the Canadian food safety system.
Members will be able to suggest or initiate commodity specific projects to address opportunities or challenges faced by their businesses; contribute to the overall body of scientific knowledge which, in turn, will result in the development of new, more efficient, more economical practices within the industry; and seek out the advice of CPMA’s new food safety expert, Jeff Hall.
“CPMA is already working with academia, governments, and other associations to move these goals forward,” Hall added.
“A part of our mandate is to provide members with information, through education, research or other projects, on food safety and related issues.
“We’re committed to partnering with a broad base to ensure that we create a body of research that will contribute to the long-term sustainability of the industry.”
As a part of this renewed food safety focus, CPMA will be hosting a series of information sessions on the upcoming Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) and the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) which is now in force.
These sessions are available free to CPMA members and media and will take place in January and February 2018 in select Canadian and US locations.