The Canadian aquaculture industry recognizes that the production of safe fish and shellfish products is of paramount importance. Canada’s food safety system - which involves a partnership between the industry, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada - is second to none in the world.
Canada’s Quality Management Program
All Canadian aquaculture products are processed at federally registered fish processing plants. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regularly inspects aquaculture products at these plants to ensure that they meet government standards for safe, high quality food. In addition to these inspections, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency also oversees the Quality Management Program that requires all federally registered plants to develop and implement an in-plant quality control program. This program employs an internationally recognized science-based control system that ensures that all aquaculture products conform to the highest safety standards.
Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program
The Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP) is under the joint management of three federal agencies: the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; Environment Canada; and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The CSSP reduces the risk of consumer illness due to contaminated or poor quality shellfish by:
- ensuring that all bivalve molluscan shellfish are harvested from growing areas which meet the approved federal water quality criteria
- recognizing and remediating pollution sources
- ensuring that harvesting, transporting and processing is done in an approved manner that maximizes the safety and quality of Canadian farmed shellfish.
The CSSP meets the standards and criteria established in the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, a program administered by the US Food & Drug Administration. As a result of meeting these high standards, Canada is one of only three countries in the world that are presently approved to export live shellfish to the US market.
Provincial Codes of Practice
Many provincial aquaculture associations have developed Codes of Practice that set mandatory standards for the husbandry and fish health management practices of their members. These Codes represent a commitment by the association’s members to manage their farms in a manner that yields aquaculture products that meet the highest quality and safety standards.
The Healthy Salmon Program
To ensure that therapeutant use on fish farms complies with the requirements of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance administers the Healthy Salmon Program for salmon farmers in Atlantic Canada. This program requires that salmon farmers keep well-documented records of the purchase, handling and use of all antibiotics. When harvested salmon arrive at a processing plant, these records assure the processor that, if the salmon had received antibiotic treatment, the proper use and withdrawal time of the antibiotic was strictly followed. A coordinator of The Healthy Salmon Program also conducts farm audits which include an assessment of: on-farm fish health management practices; therapeutant handling, storage and use; the recording system used for tracking treatments and withdrawal times.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Quality Management Program
Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program