Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said on Wednesday that the agency had begun publishing information on its website about the compliance and enforcement activities that it undertakes to protect the safety of the Canadian food, animal and plant supply.
Ritz said: “Food safety is a top priority of the government of Canada and we are listening to Canadians. We know consumers want more information and we are delivering that transparency around what we are doing to protect Canadian families. This will give our inspectors another tool in the toolbox to shine the light of transparency on repeat offenders and companies that try and import unsafe food."
In particular, the CFIA said it will reveal data about food imports that have been refused entry to Canada; federally registered food companies that have had their licenses suspended, cancelled, or reinstated; and notices of violations with warning and penalties, including identifying repeat offenders of animal transport regulations.
Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union, Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents federal food inspectors and lab technicians, said: "We have always encouraged full disclosure of food safety information to boost consumer safety and confidence. This initiative is a step in the right direction."
The published compliance and enforcement data also include backdated information. Information on food shipments that have been refused entry to Canada can be accessed here . Information on license suspensions and cancellations can be accessed here . And notices of monetary penalties can be accessed here .
Last year, an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Postmedia News found that 77 percent of Canadians were either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned about the safety of the Canadian food supply, up from 66 percent in 2007.