What do honey, olive oil, and organic food have in common? They’re high on the list of food fraud cases in Canada.
Food fraud, defined as mislabeling and misrepresentation of food products to deceive consumers or create unfair competition, may cost the global food industry between $10 and $15 billion per year, affecting about 10% of all commercially-sold food products, according to the federal government. It is also a food safety risk for those with food allergies.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, recently announced $24.4 million through the recently launched Food Policy for Canada to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) crack down on food fraud.
The funding will support the CFIA in revamping of the current food fraud program, conducting more inspections, collecting more samples to uncover sources of food fraud, and gathering surveillance data for additional intelligence. The funding will also support the development of new detection methods and tools to help identify food fraud, and enhance efforts to bring awareness to partners to improve food authenticity, the government says.
Earlier this month, the government released a report announcing that surveillance and enforcement actions by the CFIA prevented nearly 12,000 kg of adulterated honey, valued at close to $77,000, from entering the Canadian market.
Through the Food Policy for Canada, the Government of Canada will spend $134 million through Budget 2019, to support new initiatives, including:
- a Local Food Infrastructure Fund designed to support a community-led project that improves access to safe, healthy and culturally diverse food;
- a new Canada Brand and Buy Canadian promotional campaigns that will aim to increase pride and consumer confidence in Canadian food;
- support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities;
- a challenge fund to support the most innovative food waste reduction ideas in food processing, grocery retail, and food service;
- taking the first steps to work alongside provinces, territories, and not-for-profit organizations towards the creation of a National School Food Program; and,
- the creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council to bring together the expertise and diversity needed beyond government to address the food challenges of today, as well as challenges in Canada’s food system in the future.