The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) identified food safety as a top priority to ensure viability and growth of the fresh produce sector in the country.
CPMA said an incident in one commodity group or segment could have repercussions throughout the industry.
The group's membership is responsible for 90% of fresh fruit and vegetable sales in the country.
Goals of the Canadian Food Safety Fund (CFSF) are to develop educational programs and information on existing and emerging food safety challenges and to increase government outreach, in the US and Mexico, to address food safety issues.
Ron Lemaire, CPMA president, said it saw an opportunity to support research projects that would typically be cost-prohibitive to smaller companies that are members of the association.
“We actively recognized the need for ongoing Canadian-focused research and education in the areas of pathogens, regulatory changes and best practices so members can stay at the forefront of food safety in Canada.”
CPMA will be hosting information sessions on the upcoming Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) and the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in January and February in Canada and the US.
Jeff Hall, CPMA’s food safety expert, said it works with academia, governments and other associations.
“A part of our mandate is to provide members with information, through education, research or other projects, on food safety and related issues. We’re committed to partnering with a broad base to ensure that we create a body of research that will contribute to the long term sustainability of the industry.”