Fred Andersen, President of F. B. Andersen & Associates Inc. in Red Deer , says the most significant change in the field of quality assurance will be an increased move to mutual recognition of quality assurance and food safety programs between countries. This will be accompanied by an integration of food safety and quality assurance programs.
“Currently countries all have their own programs,” he says. “The ISO 9000 standards are universally accepted. The European Union wants that plus compliance to their programs i.e. GMP 13, FEMAS. The recent announcement of the publication ISO 22000, a food safety management system should continue that integration.”
Andersen expects to see an increased focus on record keeping as traceability at the farm level becomes the key to accessing new markets. “The careful records that seed growers have been keeping will become the reality for virtually all producers,” he explains. “This will become a challenge because of the number of programs there are to track.”
Andersen is proud of the reputation has for quality assurance. “Canadian producers are keeping an eye on the world market place and reacting to the demand for these programs wisely,” he says. “There are systems available, but producers are diversifying and we need to have more coordination to ease the burden on them.”
Record keeping systems which add value and reduce the pressure on producers and processors will be a crucial addition to the industry’s toolbox. These records will have to be designed to meet everyone’s needs, tracking pesticide use, loans, quality assurance programs and customer demand among other things. “This is an area for R&D to look at,” he says. “I’d like to see systems developed which can, in fact, integrate these records and reduce the load on producers who have a myriad of other tasks to attend to.”