by SUSAN MANN
Provincial government changes to meat regulations that take effect Jan. 1, 2014 will make it easier for businesses to comply with the rules.
Laurie Nicol, executive director of the Ontario Independent Meat Processors, says there are a number technical amendments to regulations under the Food Safety and Quality Act “that will provide flexibility and reduce some regulatory burdens.” The changes will make the regulations more modern and “outcome based,” she adds.
The regulation changes cover a “number of critical control areas,” she says. The language is clearer, less prescriptive and the regulation is more outcome based. “There are many ways to achieve the same outcome but in the regulatory text it was very prescribed before,” she explains.
The meat processors association isn’t advocating for lower standards and companies still must have controls in place to cover, for example, the handling of dry storage. The regulation just isn’t going to specify any one way that it must be handled. As long as meat processors meet the food safety requirements of the regulations, there will be some latitude in how they accomplish them.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food says on its website the meat regulation changes are part of the “Open for Business strategy and reduces regulatory burden on businesses while continuing to protect the public interest.”
Another recent regulatory change under the strategy is to streamline approvals for on-farm anaerobic digestion facilities that treat up to 50 per cent off-farm materials, which includes organic waste materials from food processing and feed production. The changes will enable those facilities to be regulated under the Nutrient Management Act.
That will lead to faster approval times and lower costs but environmental protection requirements will continue. The changes were effective Oct. 25. BF