Believe it or not, it's been nearly five years since Canada approved its comprehensive food safety legislation known as the Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA). The legislation was developed to streamline Canada’s food safety regulations, improve regulatory oversight, and increase international regulatory alignment with its key trading partners, particularly the United States. To implement the legislation, Canada recently published the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.
Foodborne illness affects an estimated four million Canadians annually, resulting in 238 deaths and nearly 12,000 hospitalizations. Since 2011, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has reported 84 recalls related to fresh fruits and vegetables, and more than 1,500 food product recalls attributed to non-federally registered establishments not covered by the existing commodity-based regulations. Health Canada has suggested the increasing incidents of food safety issues have been attributed to expanding consumer preferences for minimally processed foods (e.g. bagged salads) as well as new production and distribution systems.