Food Safety including the control of pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes is a priority for all sectors of the food supply chain including the retail sector.
Individual retailers have had company specific food safety programs in place for many years.
This new Health Canada – Retail Council of Canada Guidance document has been jointly developed by the Health Canada Bureau of Microbial Hazards and the Food Safety Committee of the Retail Council of Canada. The new document provides an overview of the priority food safety practices for pathogen control, including L. monocytogenes, in ready-to-eat refrigerated foods at retail.
In 2006 a generic HACCP-based Retail Food Safety Program was developed collaboratively by retailers with funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and scientific and technical support from CFIA. The generic HACCP-based Retail Food Safety document is referenced in the new joint Health Canada – Retail Council of Canada Guidance document and has been used by retailers to benchmark their existing programs.
In 2011 HC released its revised Policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Foods.
This new Guidance document is an additional tool in a full retail food safety resource package that includes a generic HACCP-based Retail Food Safety Program, a Distribution Centre/Warehouse Food Safety Program and FoodWise a retail food handler food safety certification program.
FOOD SAFETY & LABELLING
Canada’s grocers have a long history of providing safe and nutritious foods to our customers. Ensuring that the products we provide to our customers are safe is our top priority and our single biggest responsibility.
Canadians benefit from one of the safest food supply system in the world, and grocers strive for continuous improvement. Grocery retailers strongly support the establishment of credible and recognized inspection and control systems and collaborate with government authorities, industry associations and producers in order to ensure consumer confidence in the food supply.
In this section, you will find information about RCC’s advocacy on food safety and labelling, compliance and policy resources, and reports and news of interest.
Compliance & Policy Resources
The FoodWise Food Safety Certification Program provides grocery retail staff with a better understanding of the factors that influence food safety. The purpose of the program is to provide staff with the science behind the procedures that keep food safe. Staff will use this information to assist you in managing for food safety.
Typically, store managers and additional key management staff are certified but everyone needs to be trained to the level necessary to perform their job functions.
In order to ensure that grocery retailers are managing for food safety it is important that employees are trained and monitored for compliance with the food safety requirements specific to their job functions and re-trained as needed.
The FoodWise program covers a variety of specific employee’s job functions related to food safety, and provides employee training programs that include temperature control, food handling practices, cleaning and sanitizing procedures, etc.
For more information on FoodWise or how to implement into your stores, please contact RCC’s Education Department at 1-888-373-8245 ext 320 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The grocery retail industry has developed an efficient, collaborative system with industry partners and government to protect the health of Canadian consumers. Canada’s recall system ensures that any food products which have been identified as potentially unsafe are effectively removed from the market. More information on food product recalls can be found at the following sites:
Labelling & Health Claims
Labelling is an indispensable and vital communications tool between consumers and the industry. RCC members are committed to ensuring that consumers have the accurate and useful information they expect about the products they purchase. The Government of Canada regulates the labelling of food products, including nutritional information, food allergens, and health claims. Information on government requirements related to labelling can be found at the following websites:
- Food Allergen Labelling Reources (Health Canada)
- Health Claim Resources (Health Canada)
- Nutrition Labelling Resources (Health Canada)
- Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising (CFIA)
Frequently Accessed Sites
The following websites provide useful information for grocery retailers on food safety initiatives and regulations:
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Provincial and territorial food safety legislation
- Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - Quebec
- Information on various microorganisms (Bad Bug Book)
- CFIA “Reference Listing of Acceptable Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-food Chemical Products”
- Fight BAC
- Be Food Safe
- Food Retail and Food Services Code