Thought for Food Blog

The votes are in: top 7 regulatory challenges for North America’s Food Industry today

In a survey conducted September 2016, professionals from North American food industry sectors including production, retail, wholesale, distribution, and service shared their thoughts. The purpose was to evaluate what the industry is currently struggling with and spark conversation on improving the regulatory system for both Canada and the United States.


Here are the results, including additional submissions made by those who had something specific to add to the conversation.


What challenges are you finding with the Safe Food for Canadians Act?

29% - Not enough clarity
29% - It’s becoming harder to understand what the government is looking for
18% - Not enough public notification of change
18% - Not enough consistency between Canadian regulations in relation to USA’s regulations
6% - Other Responses

“Government must clarify internally their expectations. There’s a lack of uniformity between inspectors versus outcome based approach.”


What are your conflicts with labeling requirements?

47% - Need more clarity on government requirements
23% - Bloggers and Consumer Advocates adding a lot of unnecessary confusion without full knowledge on government legislation
18% - GMO controversy confusing requirements for labeling
6% - Trends are leading labeling changes making requirements difficult to keep up with
6% - Other Responses:

“Compliance by all the stakeholders.”


What improvements are needed for recalls?

41% - Innovation in technology
18% - More clarification of labeling requirements
12% - Recall process needs to change
29% - Other Reponses:

“Common standards and web-based recall platform across the supply chain.”
“Better risk analysis.”


How are consumers impacting your food regulation?

59% - Consumers want more knowledge on what they are eating and using social media to find or share information
23% - Concern over GMOs/Organic vs. Non-Organic
12% - Forcing innovation in the industry through public interest in ingredients & labeling
6% - Information on recalls is more readily available, prompting consumers to respond


What are challenges you are finding with cross-border regulation?

53% - Not enough unity of regulation; hard to move products between Canada & USA
18% - Not enough clarity
18% - It’s becoming harder to understand what both governments are looking for
6% - Regulations are changing all the time


How can your peers help you succeed in compliance?

41% - Sharing experiences as an opportunity to learn
24% - Sharing information through associations
23% - Engage with regulators to be up to date
12% - Coming together to force change


What do you consider most important in collaborating with government, organization, service providers, peers etc.?

41% - Service providers need to know what their clients need
23% - Changing and improving the system
18% - Generation of ideas from constant collaborations
6% - Applying methods for funding and cost reduction best practices


In conclusion, the industry is challenged by communication around regulations, communication with the government and managing customer expectations. There are huge barriers when it comes to cross-border trade resulting from misalignment of US and Canadian regulations.

Download a copy of the survey report.

Experts in regulation from brands including Tim Hortons, Bento Sushi, Sobeys, Champion Petfoods, Maple Leaf and Kraft Heinz will be sharing their experience on tackling international regulation standards and compliance. Join the conversation at the 7th Annual Food Regulatory & QA Summit in Toronto. Click here for more info.

 IFIS Readers receive a 20% discount on summit registration using VIP Code: IFIS20


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EBSCO offers FSTA – Food Science and Technology Abstracts on EBSCOhost and EBSCO Discovery Service™. They, along with Research Information, recently sponsored the webinar, “Seven Key Questions to Evaluate Your Food Science and Nutrition Information.” Watch free on demand.

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