Reputation Enhanced by Response to Health Issues

by 5m Editor
8 November 2011, at 9:48am

CANADA - The chief veterinary officer and chief food safety officer says the country's response to animal health issues has helped strengthen Canada's reputation as a reliable supplier of safe food products, Bruce Cochrane writes.

The economic importance of swine health to competitiveness and trade was discussed last week as part of the Canadian Swine Health Board's third Canadian Swine Health Forum.

Dr Brian Evans, the chief veterinary officer and chief food safety officer with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, says the paradigm is significantly different than it was 10 to 20 years ago and those changes mean we have to be much more vigilant.

Dr Brian Evans-Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Nobody is going to buy unsafe or unhealthy products.

There's no market for that at the global level or at the domestic level and so swine health is a very important determinant of market confidence.

I think other countries around the world now, they historically have seen Canada as a country very strong in disease control and health.

This has long been the definition of Canada in terms of our food safety programming and our animal health programming.

What has transpired over the past period of time in response to global events like the pandemic H1N1 scenario, in response to other disease circumstances, the global community I think its trust in the integrity of the programming done in Canada and the recognition that it is a collective effort.

It's not just government.

It's not just industry.

It's individual producers working with their industry associations.

It's a real Team Canada kind of approach or a community of practice approach which, from an international perspective, resonates well because it allows them when events do happen and they will because we can't prevent absolutely everything but our ability to respond to them responsibly, quickly and effectively enables the international community then to bring into their decision making that recognition factor and to minimize any impacts that it might have on their trading relationship with Canada, and allows us to maintain with them that reputation as a trusted supplier both of genetics which are important for them enhancing their production, but also for the food supply which is important to their consumers.

Dr Evans notes the agricultural food processing economy has actually now moved ahead of the auto sector as one the major economic determinants of Canada's success and the swine sector is a very important element of that.