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Collaboration between industry and government needed: report


A Conference Board of Canada report says that Canada's food industry and government regulators have an opportunity to work as partners to make a good system even better.

The report,  All Together Now: Regulation and Food Industry Performance found that the food regulatory system would benefit from a more performance-based approach.

This would mean setting clearly-defined national objectives in areas such as safety, nutrition and health.

And once objectives are set, food companies would be expected to meet these performance benchmarks as is done in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

In the report, structural and process reforms are identified that could help to improve outcomes for food safety and nutrition, while supporting the viability of food businesses.

These suggestions include defining national food goals and performance measures as well as enacting a new food act to replace the Food and Drugs Act.

Among the almost 1,200 businesses surveyed, the majority didn't see a need for deregulatiion in the industry.

However, areas of improvement in the regulatory system include regulatory scope, the transparency of the pre-market approval system and the functioning of the inspection system.

The report was produced for the Centre for Food in Canada, a multi-year Conference Board of Canada program of research and dialogue.

About 25 companies and organizations have invested in the project, which will culminate in 2013 with the development of a Canadian Food Strategy.

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