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Harper Government Protects Food Safety, Reduces Red Tape

For immediate release

Factsheet: Streamlining Food Regulations in Canada

OTTAWA - As part of the Jobs, Growth, and Long-Term Prosperity Act, the Harper Government today introduced amendments to the Food and Drugs Act that will continue to protect Canadian food safety, while reducing red tape that currently delays safe foods from getting to market.

"The current tools we use to regulate some food products are rigid and outdated," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "Our new approach will allow more timely approvals of safe, innovative products, while still protecting the health and safety of Canadians."

The new tools, called "Marketing Authorizations" and "Incorporation by Reference", will streamline regulatory processes, while maintaining the same rigorous pre-market safety assessments to support Health Canada decisions.

Currently, once Health Canada food scientists have made certain safety decisions - be it around a new food additive, vitamin or mineral nutrient or approving a new health claim on a food - it can take many months, and sometimes even years, to implement that decision through a change in the regulations.

Not only do these delays limit access to innovative and safe products for Canadians, but they also limit the department's ability to respond to new scientific information that might have an impact on the health and safety of Canadians.

With these changes, the Government will be able to focus its efforts and resources where they will have the greatest impact on the health of Canadians. These amendments will also help address the response to the  Weatherill recommendations, which were specific about the need for improved processes for food additives.