"We are proud to be working with the Government of British Columbia on this initiative to make this important contribution to the province's food processing industry," Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board Chuck Strahl, observed. "Enhanced food safety systems help protect the health of Canadians."
The focus of the Food Safety Initiative is to work with the non-federally registered food processing industry to raise awareness of food safety issues and help producers meet food safety standards.
Outreach activities will be delivered by the Food Protection Services of the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control in partnership with the regional Health Authorities, the food processing industry and the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.
The province's food and beverage processing sector generated $6.15 billion in sales in 2004, of which $1.9 billion was exported. The processing sector, dominated by a large number of small and medium-sized firms, employs 31,000 people.
"This initiative will be particularly helpful for small-scale producers who are working to meet new food safety regulations," said provincial Agriculture and Lands Minister Pat Bell. "Together with industry, we want to ensure the highest level of food safety in our province on everything from meat to baked goods. Food safety standards provide even greater consumer confidence in B.C.'s food products."