A committee of the Canadian Horticultural Council (CHC) has met in Toronto to develop implementation plans for a national on-farm food safety framework for fruits and vegetables produced in Canada.

With grower representatives from across Canada, CHC staff and chairman Dr Douglas Powell of the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, the committee agreed to develop and implement a national on-farm food safety strategy that establishes a credible, transparent and cost effective framework that meets the needs and adaptation capacity of Canada¹s horticulture sector.

“Canadian farmers have a history of producing safe, high-quality produce,” said Dr. Powell. “But new knowledge, outbreaks of foodborne illness and consumer concerns mean that Canadian farmers, the first step in the farm-to-fork food supply chain, must do what they can to minimise the risk of foodborne illness.

“This committee will provide the tools to help farmers meet national and international expectations. Input from farmers is key.”

In 1999, the CHC developed a generic set of guidelines outlining good production and agricultural practices to minimise risk. Many CHC members are implementing these practices on their farms.

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“The committee will analyse the experiences of those who have already implemented the program to identify gaps and make sure it is as user-friendly as possible.  A set of record keeping forms will also be part of the programme”, said CHC President, Ken Forth.