By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo
Under the recently-announced federal-provincial agreement referred to as “Growing Forward,” a food safety and traceability program has been launched.
The initiative is a cost-share funding program developed to assist agriculture and agri-food facilities improve food safety practices and traceability systems in their operations.
There is funding assistance available to improve food safety on farm under three options:
•Project Option 1: Implementing a food safety program or a traceability system
This is designed for producers and processors who do not have a food safety/traceability plan, and are interested in developing and implementing one.
Applicants will plan and implement a food safety program, individual food safety practices, or a working traceability system.
Funding assistance is 75 percent, to a maximum of $20,000.
All Project Option 1 applicants must attend an OMAFRA information session before applying.
•Project Option 2: Supporting investment in an existing food safety program
This is designed to assist producers and processors in improving existing recognized food safety programs.
This option is available only to applicants currently certified, audited, or verified under a recognized food safety program, and whose project involves further food safety improvements to their existing food safety program.
Funding assistance again is 75 percent, to a maximum of $20,000.
•Project Option 3: Improving food safety or traceability
Applicants may purchase equipment, engage in training, or obtain certification, audit, or verification (first time only) of a recognized food safety program.
Up to $5,000 in funding per applicant to address a specific concern.
More complete details and additional information is available at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/infores/foodsafe/fsinitiative.htm
To facilitate applications under Option 1 and to provide more information on the program, OMAFRA is offering information sessions in various locations around the province.
A session is planned for Wednesday, June 3 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with teleconferencing to locations including Stratton.
This session is designed for food producers and food producers/processors.
Register through the Northern Ontario Regional Office (1-800-461-6132) by May 27. If there is insufficient demand, the session will be cancelled.
An information session specifically for food processors is planned for Thursday, June 25.