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Canada, Manitoba Partner to Protect Animal Health

29 March 2012, at 7:31am

CANADA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) have announced an information-sharing agreement that will strengthen food safety and animal health management in Manitoba and across the country.

"This partnership is another way the Government of Canada is working to help the agriculture industry respond quickly and effectively to a food or animal health issue," said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Consumers can have confidence in our ability to provide safe, high quality food stuffs to kitchen tables at home and abroad."

"Natural disasters and disease outbreaks can have serious and negative impacts on the agriculture industry and its producers," said Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn.

"Through this agreement, Manitoba's already well-established Premises Identification Program, which is used to help manage animal health emergencies, will be linked to other federal and provincial systems and will serve as a critical pillar of a national traceability system."

Provinces are responsible for identifying and verifying premises. The federal government is the lead on animal identification and movement reporting. This partnership will allow the CFIA and MAFRI to share information and coordinate efforts to more effectively deal with issues such as livestock diseases that can threaten animal health and food safety.

During Canada's last outbreak of avian influenza, the CFIA used Manitoba's well-established Premises Identification Programme and mapping capacity to locate farms at risk. The province is currently working with the poultry industry to expand the capacity to alert producers to potential biosecurity risks.

A similar information-sharing agreement was signed between the CFIA and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development in 2009.

This initiative is in line with the commitments made by federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers in 2006 to phase-in the National Agriculture and Food Traceability System, beginning with livestock and poultry.