What Canada has to say about traceability

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Apr 18, 2005
by WLJ
Canada's food and feed-processing industries will need to take a proactive approach to the issue of traceability as consumers become more concerned about the safety and quality of what they are eating, according to presentations Tuesday at the Canada Grains Council 36th annual meeting.
Delegates at the meeting were told that although agriculture is barely on the minds of consumers, this sector was the driving force behind the need to improve food safety. Scott Dutton, a media relations official with IPSOS-Reid, a marketing-research firm, said a recent survey of 2,000 adults across Canada found that 35 percent of respondents were completely confident in Canada's food safeguards while 55 percent were somewhat confident. The results were considered accurate within plus or minus four percent, Dutton said.
Those not confident, one in 10, expressed concerns about animal diseases, such as BSE or avian flu, as well as food contamination and the use of pathogens.
Dutton said based on another survey of 1,600 adults in Canada, the food-processing industry in Canada will take the brunt of the blame for any kind of food safety issue that may arise. He said 38 percent of the respondents would blame the food-processing sector for the problem, 15 percent would link the problem back to the farm, 15 percent to the restaurant sector, 10 percent on transportation, 10 percent on the environment at home and about 9 percent on the grocery or retail store.
Kathleen Sullivan, general manager with the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada, or ANAC, said it was important for feed mills and feed manufacturers in Canada to be proactive and prepare to handle the inevitable traceability issue.
She said her organization which was formed in 1996 with a goal of bringing Canadian companies on line to Good Manufacturing Practices and on board with Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, or HACCPs, in the feed sector.
"It is important that consumers know that the feed which is going into these animals and will eventually be used in the food chain is also safe," Sullivan said.
Some 179 Canadian facilities are HACCP certified, of which 70 percent are feed producers and 33 percent are commercial feed mills, Sullivan said. She said cost is the problem in getting the smaller feed mills on board with the HACCP program. But she said ANAC is looking at how to streamline these safety programs from a cost perspective.
"It is only a matter of time before outlets like Walmart in North America begin demanding audits of their food suppliers," said David Trueman, with DB Information Systems from the U.K.
Because of that, he said it would be wise for food processors and feed manufacturers in North America to be proactive in coming up with product traceability lines and additional food-security proposals instead of waiting for government legislators to become involved.
Trueman warned Canadian food and feed processors that failure to be prepared for these changes will result in a loss of market. — WLJ


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