National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program and Chemistry Food Safety Oversight Program annual report 2020 to 2021
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is dedicated to safeguarding food, animals and plants, which enhances the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy. The National Chemical Residue Monitoring Program (NCRMP) is an annual CFIA regulatory surveillance program which verifies compliance in certain foods to Canadian standards and guidelines for chemical residues and contaminants. The foods tested come from seven commodity groups, which are meat, fresh fruit & vegetables, dairy, eggs, honey, maple products and processed fruits & vegetables. The data collected from the NCRMP along with other surveillance activities enables the CFIA to identify trends that may warrant additional control strategies to maintain or improve compliance.
The NCRMP is one of several valuable surveillance tools that the CFIA uses to help ensure the very high compliance of foods to Canadian standards year after year. The NCRMP is carried out in accordance with Codex Alimentarius principles and guidelines and is an important part of the CFIA food safety framework that monitors Canadian food for potential chemical hazards. This program provides data to support the Canadian food production system and the integrity of Canada's chemical residue control system. These systems are equivalent to those of our main trading partners like the United States and the European Union.
In 2014 an initiative known as the Food Safety Oversight (FSO) Program was introduced to complement the NCRMP and to increase CFIA's oversight in the non-meat food sectors. In 2016 the CFIA increased sampling and testing of certain fresh fruit and vegetables that were not typically monitored within the program. The increased level of sampling and testing has continued into 2020. Some of these additional FSO program samples were collected at federally registered establishments or importers by inspectors in the same manner as the NCRMP samples. The majority of the FSO samples, however, were collected at retail locations by third party samplers under contract to the CFIA. Sampling of foods at both federally registered establishments and retail locations offers additional information on levels of residues and contaminants present in foods on the Canadian market.
The CFIA communicates non-compliant results from surveillance activities like the NCRMP and the FSO Program to farmers, growers/producers, importers, and retailers to identify areas of concern and to promote the safe use of agricultural chemicals and practices. This ongoing effort ensures that safe and healthy food is continuously available to Canadians.
This report summarizes testing results from both the NCRMP and the fresh fruit and vegetable portion of the FSO Program in food samples collected between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 (hereafter referred to as 2020/21). Over 95,000 tests for residues of veterinary drugs, pesticides, metals, and contaminants were performed on approximately 12,500 NCRMP and FSO monitoring samples and generated millions of results, which are summarized in Annex B of this report. This amount of sampling and testing was lower than the planned amount due to the Covid-19 global pandemic and resource constraints due to emergency response activities at the CFIA. Despite the reduction in chemical residue testing on domestic and imported food products, the CFIA has confidence in the reported results and conclusions provided in this report. The test results from samples taken as part of the NCRMP and FSO Program showed that the overwhelming majority of food on the market meets Canadian standards for chemical residues. The overall compliance rate was determined to be 96.6% which is consistent with past years.
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