Food safety is a fundamental aspect of public health and well-being, impacting society at large in several critical ways. It ensures the prevention of foodborne illnesses, which can have widespread health repercussions, economic costs due to lost productivity, healthcare expenses, and even long-term impacts on the livelihood of food producers. Moreover, maintaining a safe food supply bolsters public confidence in the food market, fostering a stable economy and ensuring the wellbeing of citizens.
In the context of Canada, ensuring the safety of the country’s food supply and sustaining the public’s confidence in the food they purchase is a crucial responsibility of government. At the federal level, food safety management is embedded in a broad policy framework for safe foods.
In the United States, food safety work is similarly critical and is overseen by various federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These organizations are responsible for regulating and overseeing the safety of the nation’s food supply. They establish guidelines and standards for food production, processing, and distribution, ensuring that food products are safe for consumption and free from contamination. The FDA, for example, is responsible for regulating most food products, including seafood, dairy, and produce, while the USDA oversees meat, poultry, and processed egg products. These agencies conduct regular inspections, enforce food safety regulations, and respond to foodborne illness outbreaks to protect public health. Additionally, there is a strong emphasis on consumer education regarding safe food handling practices, which is pivotal in preventing foodborne illnesses at the consumer level. This comprehensive approach to food safety reflects a commitment to safeguarding public health and maintaining trust in the food supply chain.
RSI experience in Food safety
RSI, with its long association with a key agency responsible for food safety, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), exemplifies this commitment. RSI’s work involves the development of the CFIA’s risk assessment and inspection process. This process includes comparative risk modelling, consideration of the potential for food fraud within the regulated industry, the effectiveness of risk controls, as well as concerns for animal welfare. These efforts are critical in ensuring that food products are safe for consumption and meet the highest standards of quality and safety.
Beyond Canadian borders, RSI has worked with both the US FDA and EFSA in Europe. Furthermore, RSI has, over the years, received multiple contracts to work with industry on various aspects of their food safety efforts ranging from development and implementation of internal policies to risk assessments and compliance.