Producers can get cost-sharing grants for storage, sanitation, biosecurity, plant and animal health, and animal welfare, as well as surveillance and emergency preparedness systems
Awide-reaching food safety program has been launched in Manitoba as part of Growing Forward 2.
The $2-million program, called Growing Assurance — Food Safety, will provide cost-share grants of up to $25,000 to producers and processors.
“This is about ensuring food safety from farm to fork,” Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn said at a press conference in Winnipeg.
For example, food processors can apply for funding to cover 65 per cent of the cost of establishing a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point program. Upgrades to food safety programs or establishing a traceability system are eligible for cost sharing of 50 per cent, up to $10,000.
“Consumers today are asking, ‘Where is my beef coming from? Where is my pork coming from?’” said Kostyshyn.
“Food safety is a priority” for his government, said Interlake MP James Bezan, adding the on-farm component of the program will help producers address issues such as storage, sanitation, biosecurity, plant and animal health, and animal welfare, as well as surveillance and emergency preparedness systems.
A portion of the $2 million will support programming for the Verified Beef Production program and biosecurity programming based on the Canadian Swine Health Board standards.
The program is open to both small and large producers and processors, noted Ken Werner, president of Winnipeg Old Country Sausage.
“It’s putting everybody on the same page, we’re playing on the same field,” Werner said. “Whether you’re a small guy just making a little bit of stuff or a large business, people are still eating what you’re making and people want to know that product is going to be safe.”
The grants will put additional safety programs within the reach of smaller and mid-size businesses, he said.
When he first brought in comprehensive food safety programs more than a decade ago, the owner of the century-old business thought it would be a hassle, but time proved him wrong.
“It worked out really well, and our employees are really engaged in the process,” Werner said.