It’s official – the On-Farm and Post-Farm Food Safety programs are now open again for the BC agri-food sector. The program is designed to improve food safety practices and systems across the industry and help your business succeed with food safety certifications, increased consumer trust, and increased profitability by accessing new domestic and international markets.
Update (April 8 2020): A new round of funding for the Post-Farm Food Safety Program has officially opened. Cannabis businesses are now officially eligible to apply (learn more here).
It’s also just in time to help you boost your food safety practices as the Safe Food for Canadians Act came into effect for most of the industry on January 15, 2019. Icicle can make all of these things happen for you with ease, from complying with regulations to improving your food safety program to obtaining and maintaining third-party certifications. Read more below or contact us to find out how.
On-Farm & Post-Farm Food Safety Programs
The agri-food industry in BC benefits from two programs that just opened with renewed funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership; both are open until the program deadline or until funding runs out, which is what happened in the previous funding cycle (so we recommend that companies apply early and soon).
For Farmers: On-Farm Food Safety Program
The On-Farm Food Safety (OFFS) Program provides up to $10 000 with 70% cost-sharing for eligible BC farm-based businesses to:
- Identify and document risks through food safety gap assessment (or pre-audits) to improve your food safety capacity;
- Proactively mitigate the risks identified through the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) or Best Practices (BPs);
- Achieve third-party On-Farm Food Safety System (OFFS) or HACCP food safety certifications through nationally and internationally recognized food safety accreditation bodies.
The program has a budget of $2 million for eligible applicants – that means agri-food businesses based in and operating in BC such as farmers/growers, producers/ranchers, and packers/co-packers who handle food products (excluding aquaculture) intended for human consumption (as opposed to supplements, pet food). Contact our team at 604-231-160 to learn more about eligibility requirements.
The program opened for applications on January 30, 2019. Best to apply now before funding runs out.
For Food Processors: Post-Farm Food Safety Program
The Post-Farm Food Safety (PFFS) program provides up to $20,000 with 70% cost-sharing for eligible BC food processors to:
- Identify and document food safety risks through a gap-assessment or pre-audit;
- Implement Food Safety Activities;
- Get food safety improvement services;
- Upgrade your facility and equipment;
- Achieve a third-party HACCP based Audit.
The Post-Farm Food Safety program has a budget of $3.375 million for eligible applicants – that means businesses that are based in and operate in BC such as processors, transporters, warehouses, distributors, packers, importers, and processing facilities not eligible for the OFFS program who handle food and beverages for human consumption. Contact our team at 604-231-160 to learn more about eligibility requirements.
The program opened on January 28, 2019. Best to apply now before funding runs out.
Important Notes about the Programs
Note that neither program is open for retail, restaurants, or other service operations; nor are unlicensed, unregistered, or uninspected facilities eligible to apply. There are also a couple of changes from previous years of funding:
- Applicants to the Post-Farm Food Safety program could previously be reimbursed on a 50% cost-sharing base. Both programs now provide 70% cost-sharing, which is to the advantage of participating businesses;
- The application process has become a bit stricter. For example, all applicants must either have recently undergone a gap assessment (or pre-audit) or, if they have not, they must use a portion of the funds to undergo one in order to be eligible to receive the rest of the funding.
Why Software Counts
So now you’re excited – here is the money you need to upgrade your food safety and traceability programs! The next question is: what’s the best way to do that? Spending money on facilities, equipment, and third-party certifications are certainly necessary. But will how will you handle and maintain your new acquisitions? How will you keep your facilities running smoothly, your equipment well maintained, and your third-party certifications easily obtained?
Both programs allow you to use funds to buy software, which is an obvious way to enhance food safety and traceability. Maintaining digital records of your operations and ideally automating many of them is by far safer for your company and for the public – just like we trust technology to do everything from conducting mathematical calculations (calculators) to flying airplanes and drones. The On-Farm and Post-Farm Food Safety programs are the perfect way to jumpstart your leap to automation technology.
But you can’t just buy any old software. The good folks who oversee the programs over at Food Processing Skills Canada know that not all software is equal, so they created a list of eleven pre-approved software vendors. We would argue that Icicle is the best one on that list – and our users agree.
Celebrating Icicle, the Only Pre-Approved Software Vendor from British Columbia
Icicle is unique in the field for our innovative design – but the way we build a model of your business so it can change and grow without further investment from you in time or resources is stuff that’s all under the hood. What shows itself immediately is that Icicle gets results. You will be able to do things like:
- Generate HACCP and HARPC plans on demand with just one tap or click;
- Dramatically reduce the time you spend preparing for audits and inspections (including SQF audits) by up to 40%;
- Easily obtain and maintain third-party certifications like Kosher, vegan, and SQF;
- Make better decisions for your business with increased oversight and analytics, trending, and reporting;
- Easily simulate recall drills and conduct mass balance calculations in just minutes;
- Reduce food waste and improve your relationships with your customers by improving inventory management;
- Benefit from even more Icicle features.
We also do the heavy lifting far beyond our competitors; with the recent introduction of farming and cannabis production to our software, food producers from seed to wholesale can benefit from Icicle’s proprietary technology, no matter which program you apply for.
How the Icicle Team Can Help You
Icicle is committed to the BC agri-food sector – this is our home base and the space in which the first Icicle users joined our revolution and give us the feedback we need to make Icicle better all the time. That’s why we offer a special service to BC companies who are driven to implement Icicle and utilize this funding opportunity: we help you do it.
In previous years, we assisted clients in the application process and every single one of those companies received the funding – that is, until the money for the program ran out. That’s why you could get in touch with us now, so you can secure your funds to get the best product on the market with help from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.