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Minister Blackburn Meets with the Canadian Food Processing Industry to Secure Growth and Competitiveness

Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada Announces:

Ottawa, Ontario, April 19, 2010 – More than 50 representatives of the Canadian food processing industry gathered today in Ottawa at the invitation of the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), to discuss steps to securing a strong and competitive future for the Canadian food processing industry. “This Government understands that the economic recovery of our country depends on the stability and performance of sectors such as food processing,” underlined Minister Blackburn. “This is why we are committed to continuing our hard work to guarantee the success of this sector.”

In close collaboration with industry, Minister Blackburn committed to finalizing by the end of 2010 an action plan for the food processing that responds to the sector’s needs. The Food Processing Competitiveness Industry-Government Action Plan will help to equip the industry to address current market challenges and position Canada as a world leader in food processing.

The Government also committed to concluding new consultations with industry and consumers on proposed amendments on “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” guidelines by seeking the view of Canadians on exempting specific ingredients which are difficult to source in Canada. In addition, Minister Blackburn underlined the Government’s
commitment to continue aggressively pursuing international markets and trade agreements, investing in innovation and addressing outstanding regulatory issues to facilitate trade.

Since the last round table chaired by Minister Blackburn in June 2009, a variety of programs and policies have been deployed by the Government in collaboration with industry to strengthen the sector’s competitiveness at home and abroad.

Substantial investments include funding through Canada’s Economic Action Plan (EAP) to assist the sector in increasing its competitiveness by adopting new production technologies, and Canada Brand funding for consumer-targeted promotions of Canadian agri-food products in international markets. Substantial investments were also made in regulatory processes, novel foods, as well as in research into health benefits of innovative foods.

The food and beverage processing industry is the largest manufacturing employer in Canada and produces annual shipments worth $19 billion.

For more information, media may contact:
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Sophie Doucet
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn