CFIA funds hort growers for food safety tools

Fruit, potato and hothouse produce growers who invest in field and traceability record-keeping software are now eligible to get some of that investment back, if they apply fast.

The Canadian Horticultural Council said in a memo Tuesday that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has granted its request to add such software and tools to its list of food safety equipment covered for reimbursement under the On-Farm Implementation (OFI) funding program.

The OFI program will shut down at the end of this month, the council noted.

The total OFI funding allocation for specialized equipment or technical support is a maximum of $750 per producer or packer, the council noted.

Specialized food safety equipment purchases must be cost-shared 50:50, and technical support cost-shared 70:30 (government:industry), the council said. Field and traceability record-keeping software and tools such as Field Manager PRO and Crop Smart now join other OFI program-approved equipment for the tree and vine fruit, potato and greenhouse crop industries.

Other costs approved for OFI reimbursement include traceback equipment such as labelers; specialty lighting such as shatterproof bulbs, bulb sheaths and protective coverings; water treatment equipmen; safety-related signage; pest control equipment, such as traps; and window screens, door screens and puckboard, as well as hand-washing stations.

For a producer to apply for OFI benefits, provincial program delivery agents must receive his or her self-declaration, including a copy of receipts for technical support received and/or specialized food safety equipment purchased, by no later than March 31.

“Applications received after the deadline of March 31, 2009 will not be eligible for reimbursement under the OFI funding program, as the program ends as of that date,” the CHC said.

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