Ottawa: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) continues to tackle food fraud so consumers can be confident the food they buy is safe and accurately represented and businesses can compete fairly in the market.
The agency has shared the latest food sampling results in its Food Fraud Annual Report. This year the CFIA tested the authenticity of 6 foods that are commonly misrepresented. Overall, the testing showed a compliance rate of 92.7% for fish, 77.5% for honey, 99.1% for meat, 86.9% for olive oil, 64.3% for other expensive oils, and 90.8% for spices.
Meat is a new addition to the report this year and had a high rate of compliance. The findings for the rest of the commodities are consistent with last year’s report, showing that the CFIA’s efforts to protect consumers and the food industry from food fraud continue to be effective. This annual testing not only helps the agency address existing risks, it is also used to plan future sampling and inspection strategies to better target areas of high risk.
When potential food fraud was discovered, the CFIA took action, preventing more than 100,000 kg of misrepresented food from being sold in Canada. These actions include destroying, relabelling or removing products from Canada.
Everyone has a role to play in combatting food fraud. Industry is responsible for properly representing and labelling its food products and providing consumers with information that is neither false nor misleading. Anyone who suspects that a food product is not accurately represented can report it to the CFIA.
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, said: “Canada has one of the best food safety systems in the world. Through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada, our government is working to prevent, detect, and deter food fraud so Canadians can feel confident that the food they buy is accurately represented and safe to eat.”
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, said: “Our government takes food fraud seriously. When food is misrepresented, it prevents consumers from making an informed choice, and can create an uneven, unfair market. This report highlights the excellent work being done to protect consumers and food businesses from this deceptive practice.”
Gaspare Colletti, President ex-Officio, Canadian Spice Association, said: “As the voice of the Canadian spice industry, the Canadian Spice Association has always promoted the highest food safety standards in the spices produced and sold by its members. We therefore welcome the CFIA’s initiative in carrying out these surveys, and fully support its efforts to fight food fraud at all levels of the food supply chain.”
Chris White, CEO and President, Canadian Meat Council, said: “Our meat processors work hard to ensure products are among the safest in the world and to create standard procedures to prevent misrepresentation such as mislabelling, adulteration or substitution. We are pleased to see this report confirms a 99% level of compliance in the meat processing sector. Trading partners and Canadians alike can continue to be confident when purchasing federally inspected meat products.”
• Canadian law prohibits the labelling, packaging, treating, processing, selling or advertising of any food in a manner that is false, misleading or deceptive to consumers regarding the character, value, quantity, composition, merit or safety of the product.
• CFIA’s enforcement actions are guided by the Standard Regulatory Response Process.
• Under the Food Policy for Canada, launched in June 2019, the Government of Canada invested $24.4 million over 5 years for the CFIA to tackle food fraud.
• The CFIA works closely with Health Canada, which supports these efforts by addressing health and safety risks related to food fraud, and researches potential new methods to detect adulteration in food.