The Conservative government is committed to making food as safe as possible for Canadian families. We are also committed to supporting Canada’s beef industry. Throughout my tenure as your Member of Parliament, I have always taken every opportunity to sell our beef in Japan and in Taiwan. During meetings with virtually every foreign representative in Canada when I was Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I always siad that Alberta’s Beef is the best in the world.
We all remember the BSE Crisis that hurt our local beef producers and the recent E. coli scare at the plant in Brooks, Alberta. Our government hasn’t forgotten either and we are moving forward to bolster confidence in our beef industry for Canadian consumers and our world-wide customers.
Canada already has a world-class food safety system. Our food safety-science capabilities are among the best. The Safe Foods for Canadians Action Plan aims to further improve Canada’s food safety system by strengthening food safety rules, provide more effective inspection, and renew our commitment to service and more information for Canadian consumers. This is welcome news for our local beef producers in Crowfoot and beyond.
Through the Action Plan, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will launch a number of significant food safety enhancements over the next two years. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has directed the CFIA to work with consumer groups and industries to develop new regulations that will bring into action the Safe Food for Canadians Act, passed in November 2012.
The CFIA is strengthening some of its beef safety rules and has implemented new mandatory requirements that will further control E. coli in federally registered beef plants. Also, in the next two months, federally registered plants that produce mechanically tenderized beef cuts, such as steaks or roasts, will be required to label those products as tenderized and include cooking instructions.
While these actions are specific to federally registered plants, Health Canada also intends to propose broader mandatory labels to identify beef that has been mechanically tenderized at retail outlets like supermarkets. This voluntary practice has been in place since 2012.
Since 2006, our Agriculture Ministers and our International Trade Ministers have made considerable progress opening up markets around the world for Canada’s Agricultural products. We have even managed to expand existing markets. The Food Safety Action Plan includes the CFIA’s building a secure electronic interface so it can share information and conduct transactions more effectively with industry and international partners, and introduce a clear, consistent set of inspection and enforcement rules that will significantly reduce red tape for Canadian food producers.
These high-profile food safety efforts add value to our products and are further proof of Canada’s commitment to provide the cleanest, safest, best-tasting products available in the global market. Our effort presents a challenge to our international competitors to meet these high standards.