The Governments of Canada and British Columbia are working together to help producers and processors maintain the health of their businesses by strengthening their traceability and biosecurity systems.
B.C. Minister of Agriculture and Lands Steve Thomson and Member of Parliament Andrew Saxton (North Vancouver) announced the investment of $3.5 million dollars at 'Discover Agriculture in the City' in Burnaby.
Deliver top quality food
"A strong traceability system will help Canadian producers strengthen their businesses and get the premium prices their top-quality products deserve," said MP Saxton, on behalf of federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Our Government is working with the provinces and industry to create a strong national traceability system that will help producers and processors minimise risks, strengthen their businesses and continue to deliver their top-quality, safe food to consumers at home and around the world."
Ready to respond to animal diseases
"The Province has been working with industry to build and implement traceability and biosecurity systems so we are ready to respond to animal disease and food safety issues," said Minister Thomson. "B.C. is already a leader in biosecurity measures, and having these systems in place builds consumer confidence. It also positions our agri-food industry to be competitive in both the domestic and international marketplace."
The two initiatives being funded include:
· $2.04 million for the Enterprise Infrastructure Traceability (EIT) to help producers, farmers, food processors and agri-food businesses with costs to purchase and install traceability infrastructure/systems to track products from receiving to shipping. The program consists of animal (product) identification, premises identification and movements recording. This funding will help proactive management of food-borne risks along the agri-food chain, contributing significantly to the health and wellbeing of British Columbians. The EIT program is being delivered through the BC Agriculture and Research Corporation, a subsidiary of the British Columbia Agriculture Council.
· $1.5 million will be allocated to the biosecurity program, which will help producers continue to improve their on-farm biosecurity procedures such as wearing barn-specific clothing and disinfecting farm equipment. Under this program the British Columbia Hog Marketing Commission will implement biosecurity standards for their commodity on approximately 31 farms. The biosecurity program is being delivered directly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.
Ongoing efforts to implement food safety, traceability and biosecurity measures are important for achieving a safe food supply into the future and will greatly improve the Provinces protection of animal, plant and human health. Completed projects include B.C.'s $14.5-million, high-security containment Level 3 laboratory in Abbotsford and a Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Support plan (FADES) that has been developed to enhance B.C.'s response to occurrences of significant disease events.
'Discover Agriculture in the City' is a three-day event, open to the public, designed to build awareness among urban British Columbians about the contributions farmers make to the economy, the environment and to the health of Canadians, as well as some of the innovative uses of Canadian agricultural products.
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