Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

CFIA eyes funding cut for BSE sample tests

(Resource News International) — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has considered cutting funding to a BSE sampling program that provides reimbursement to farmers who submit suspected animals for testing.

But a CFIA official stressed that the proposal was simply that, and will not be implemented any time soon.

Freeman Libby, national director for strategy with the CFIA, confirmed Thursday that under a strategic review the agency put forward a number of proposals with the aim to reinvest resources more effectively.

One of the proposals that will not be implemented at this time, he said, was to cut funds to a BSE reimbursement program that pays farmers $75 per animal tested. Libby said the reimbursement program was separate from the “highly successful” national BSE surveillance program, and any changes would not harm the country’s efforts to combat BSE.

Libby said the changes to the BSE sampling reimbursement program were still possible in the future, but added nothing would take place without consultations with all of the relevant stakeholders. “Whatever is done, Canada’s surveillance program will continue to meet all our international obligations,” said Libby.

After the strategic review, five other proposals are in the process of being implemented, said Libby.

First, under the avian influenza preparedness program, the CFIA has determined that certain capital expenses will no longer be required to effectively deal with any outbreaks, said Libby.

Second, pre-market label approval for meat and processed food and vegetable products will be brought in line with the labelling requirements currently in place for other commodities. “All commodities will be treated in the same vein in the future,” said Libby.

Third, a system of auditing the inspection of feed mills, in conjunction with the industry will be worked on, said Libby.

Fourth, the certification of commercial seed, currently overseen jointly by the CFIA and the Canadian Seed Growers Association, will be streamlined into an “industry based single window process,” said Libby.

Fifth, Canada’s three import service centres, which clear food products entering the country, will be combined into one centre. Libby said everything is already done electronically, so one centre will make things more efficient.

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