CFIA response to Open Letter September 2013

See below for the response by Dr Bruce Archibald to the FSC Open Letter dated 18 September 2013

Date: 16 October, 2013 12:59:30 PM EDT

Dear Ms. Bronson:
Thank you for your email of September 18, 2013, regarding the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) interim policy on the term “local” and the concerns of Food Secure Canada.  I appreciate the opportunity to respond, and to let you know that your input will be included with the comments we receive from other stakeholders.
As you know, the CFIA has put in place an interim policy on “local” while we undertake our Food Labelling Modernization initiative.  In developing the interim policy, the CFIA reviewed the approach taken by some of Canada’s key trading partners and held discussions with its federal, provincial and territorial partners and the Consumer Association Roundtable.  The interim policy, while addressing the fact that many stakeholders expressed the view that the previous policy position was outdated, still retains a clear focus on “local” being limited to products produced only in Canada and in the region of the purchaser.
It is important to note that claims such as “local” are voluntary, and industry is encouraged to add qualifiers such as the name of a city to provide consumers with additional information.
Thank you for your offer to provide insight on the local food movement.  I encourage you and those you represent, to continue to participate in the Food Labelling Modernization (FLM) initiative to provide your views.  The FLM initiative is part of the Government of Canada’s Safe Food for Canadians Action Plan to modernize and build on Canada’s food safety system.  As you are aware, in the first phase of consultation on the initiative, we are engaging with stakeholders via the questionnaire to identify and prioritize issues within the focus of the project.  There will be more opportunities to engage on this initiative in the coming months, including during webinars and at face to face meetings.  Watch the FLM initiative web page for updates and information about meetings in your area. 
Again, thank you for writing with the concerns of Food Secure Canada.

B.A. (Bruce) Archibald, PhD
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments
1400 promenade Merivale Road
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0Y9