North American Leaders Cooperating on Food Safety

Tony Clement, Canada's minister of Health, urged health ministers from around the world to consider enacting stronger consumer protection and food safety laws when he spoke during a luncheon at last week's World Health Organization 61st World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

Clement moderated a discussion on protecting people's health and safety. Health Canada reports that Clement also met with the health chiefs from the United States and Mexico to discuss cooperation in these areas.

"This year, the Canadian Government proposed tougher food and product safety laws that will prevent problems in the first place and increase penalties on actions that endanger people's health," said Clement. "Our discussion here is important today because when food and products cross borders, as they often do now in our global economy, federal governments have the responsibility to ensure their product safety standards are second to none."

The law was introduced as part of the Canadian federal government's new Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan. The law calls for a general ban on import, sale, advertising, or production of consumer products that are a threat to human health and safety; mandatory reporting by suppliers of serious product-related incidents; higher fines for violations; and a new federal government power to order recalls of unsafe products.

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