An additional $2 million in federal support for the Canadian On-Farm Food Safety Program (COFFSP) will allow funding to flow to new applicants across the country and help enhance Canada’s reputation as a world leader in food safety.

This new federal funding, provided through the $60-million-per-year Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development (CARD) Fund, was announced in Winnipeg today by Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lyle Vanclief and Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) President Bob Friesen.

The funding will support new national commodity associations accessing the program, which will run until March 31, 2003. Under COFFSP there are currently 12 major national commodity associations working within a common framework to develop voluntary, consistent and compatible on-farm food safety programs.

“The federal government is committed to providing the agriculture community with the tools to develop and implement food safety measures right at the source – on the farm,” said Mr. Vanclief. “Canada is known around the world for producing safe food, and this program stands to further enhance that reputation.”

“Canada produces the best, safest and healthiest food in the world,” said Mr. Friesen. “With strong support for world-class programs like COFFSP, Canadian farmers will continue to reap the confidence of consumers in Canada and around the world.”

The COFFSP is a partnership between the federal government and national producer and commodity associations. The program provides funds to associations to develop strategies and tools to educate producers and to initiate the implementation of on-farm food safety initiatives consistent with the internationally-accepted definitions and principles of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach.

“This program displays the commitment of our producers to food safety and will further enhance consumer confidence at home and abroad,” Mr. Vanclief said. “It is an important part of our aim to make Canada the best in the world in food safety, environmental protection and innovation.”

To date, about $7 million has been allocated to the COFFSP, a program first announced in 1997. The CFA administers the COFFSP and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides the scientific and technical support to the participants in COFFSP.

CARD is the Government of Canada’s initiative to foster the increased long-term growth, employment and competitiveness of Canada’s agricultural and agri-food industry and agricultural rural areas. CARD supports change by providing the necessary tools to assist the sector in adapting to a new world economy and in capturing market opportunities.