Research profile: Sylvain Charlebois

Sylvain Charlebois, School of Public Administration

A review of Canadian and international food safety systems: Issues and recommendations for the future

In January 2019, the Safe Food for Canadians Act/Safe Food for Canadians regulations (hereafter SFCR) came into force and brought a more streamlined process to food safety practice in Canada. Food trade and production processes have evolved rapidly in recent decades, as Canada imports and exports food products; therefore, it is critically important to remain aware of the latest advances responding to a range of challenges and opportunities in the food safety value chain. Looking through the optics of the recent SFCR framework, research from the Agri-Food Analytics Lab recently published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety puts the spotlight on leading domestic and international research and practices to help strengthen food safety policies of the future.

By shedding some light on new research, the Lab also draws attention to international developments that are noteworthy, and places those in context to show how new Canadian food safety policy and regulation can be further advanced. The research benchmarks Canada through a review study of food safety best practices by juxtaposing (i) stated aspirations with, (ii) actual performance in leading Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) jurisdictions. This project has key practical implications. Comparing standards, acts and regulations (e.g., organizational processes, management controls, education, technologies and coordination) in jurisdictions at the supra-national level, such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), with actual, current levels of performance will yield insight on critical considerations for Canadian food safety practices leading the coming decade of practice and potentially improve food safety.

This project, which involved the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, was published in the September 2021 issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety.