Quality Control In Our Facilities – Canada Has the highest Food Regulations In The World For Our Safety And Yours
The Quality Management Program (QMP) is a regulatory-based system that requires all federally registered fish processing plants in Canada to develop and implement an in-plant quality control program. As set out in the Fish Inspection Regulations, all establishments in Canada that process fish and seafood for export or inter-provincial trade must be registered with the Government of Canada. To become federally registered, a fish processor is legally required to develop a QMP plan of their own, following the “QMP Reference Standard”; submit it to the CFIA for review and acceptance; and apply it to their processing operations. The QMP uses the principles of “HACCP” (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point), an internationally recognized system for ensuring safe food production, to provide a high level of assurance that fish and seafood products produced in Canada are safe and wholesome to eat. However, the QMP also deals with non-safety issues, including fish quality and federal regulatory requirements such as labelling.
The QMP was established as a mandatory program in 1992, making it the first mandatory food inspection program in the world based on HACCP principles. Prior to this, fish inspection was conducted as a traditional food inspection program, with federal inspectors inspecting fish plants and testing their products. The QMP was extensively re-engineered between 1996 and 2000, with the active participation of the fish processing industry.
Along with promoting the production of safe and wholesome fish and seafood products and thereby protecting Canadian consumers, the QMP benefits fish processors in a number of ways. These include a streamlined process for the certification of final products for export; the privilege of using the “Canada Inspected” logo on their products; and a minimization of government intrusion and intervention in their day-to-day operations. Also, because it incorporates the application of HACCP principles, the QMP has been effective in maintaining access to international markets, at a time when many countries are introducing HACCP requirements for imported fish and seafood. This is important for Canada’s fish processing industry, which is heavily export-oriented: almost 90 per cent of the fish and seafood products produced in Canada are exported to foreign countries.