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Feds, province fund B.C. food safety systems plan

The British Columbia and federal governments will put up $3 million over four years from the Growing Forward ag policy framework to support food safety programs for processors.

“The funding announced today enables a proactive approach in working with the food processing industry to ensure the highest level of food safety in our province by preventing and controlling hazards before they happen,” provincial Agriculture Minister Steve Thomson said in a release Saturday.

The Food Safety Systems Implementation (FSSI) program will be delivered provincewide by the Nanaimo-based Small Scale Food Processors Association of B.C. (SSFPA).

The association had previously delivered a food safety implementation program using federal/provincial funding, and said on its website in late April that the 2009-10 funding will go to again deliver education programming and offer funding to food processors to implement good manufacturing practices (GMP) and/or HACCP-based food safety systems.

A 2009-10 workshop schedule and funding guidelines and applications are expected to be available “soon,” the association said on its site.

“Food processors preserve the quality and safety of our local foods so we can enjoy our favourites even once their growing season has passed,” Parksville-Qualicum MLA and former provincial ag minister Ron Cantelon said Saturday.

“Processors add value to B.C.’s award-winning products and I’m proud to see that our local farmers have built a reputation for high standards that will continue to improve under the FSSI program.”

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