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PRESS RELEASE: Canada Safe Food Consortium Gears Up to Feed Vulnerable Canadians and Frontline COVID

Updated: May 1

OTTAWA/VANCOUVER, April 22, 2020 - The Canada Safe Food Consortium (CSFC), a team of Canadian foodservice leaders, medical experts, and technologists, has created a safety protocol and safe and in-kind food supply chain to feed Canadians in long-term care facilities, those relying on community essential service providers, and those most vulnerable due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  


On Friday, April 16, 2020 Deputy Prime Minister Freeland acknowledged that Canada’s food supply chain has been impacted by COVID-19. Food banks and shelters are also reporting supply shortages and increasing costs, as demand exceeds their available supply of food. Canada’s food supply chain continues to be hit by COVID-19 resulting in food supply shortages, impaired accessibility, and pricing fluctuations.


The CSFC team has been working together since the early onset of COVID-19. They have rapidly shifted their shared capacities toward the development and implementation of a scalable safe food and in-kind supply chain model and accompanying protocols to keep all stakeholders in Canada’s food supply chain as safe as possible. The efforts of the CSFC team ensures that food and the foodservice industry are not the culprit of contagion or further contamination of food supply chains, but rather continue to be responsive to the complexities at hand while meeting community needs. 


The CFSC has two-million meals ready for deployment that have been prepared according to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Care Points (HACCP) and developed protocol, minimizing viral transmission during preparation and consumption of ready-made meals. “It is essential that we develop and implement innovative and responsible solutions that consider the full supply chain as well as create alternate in-kind supply chains to meet these increasing needs and situational complexities,” said Sandra MacInnis, Senior Business Advisor for Solution Foodservice Group. “This situation goes beyond traditional operational HACCP protocols and must consider an end to end protocol


The consortium’s goal is to supply ready-made meals at high volumes in the safest way possible, handled with the highest degree of stringency, beyond normal food safety practices, as this is of utmost importance at this time.  “Due to the ever-evolving impacts resulting from the global pandemic, we have shifted attention to identify the preventable risks to maintain the integrity supply chain. By leveraging the existing infrastructure and expertise, we can better support vulnerable populations and front-line responders, while mitigating the transmission risks in relation to food preparation and supply,” said Dr. Anthony Marotta, CEO of Peqish Food Company. 


Canadians living in poverty, as well as those who rely on communal food services such as food banks, soup kitchens and long-term care facilities, are at highest risk of not having access to healthy food and of COVID-19 transmission due impacts in the supply chain and mounting distress amongst charities and non-profits in Canada. Tanya Woods, Chief Philanthropist of Project K(IN)D notes that the UN World Food Programme has recently advised that "planning for in-kind food assistance is essential" and it really should be established immediately. Earlier this month we launched the first in-kind exchange platform to enable our food banks and community organizations to ask for help. Now more than ever we need governments and the business community to exchange expert knowledge, collaborate, and support in-kind solutions, like the CSFC is proposing, so that we can ensure all Canadians have access to the food they need each day.  We have the knowledge and resources to make a difference today, we need to act now - together.”


Government agencies, community organizations and companies are invited to learn more and get involved at: www.canadasafefoodconsortium.ca.


Sources:

UN News, "COVID-19: The global food supply chain is holding up, for now" (April 3, 2030): https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/04/1061032



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