It’s official – the On Farm and Post-Farm Food Safety programs are now open again for the BC agri-food sector, with a big twist. Now that cannabis is legal in Canada, cannabis producers are eligible to apply.
Update (April 8 2020): A new round of funding has opened for the Post-Farm Food Safety Program and cannabis businesses are officially listed as eligible.
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 PFFS 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.
Why Software Counts for Cannabis Safety
It may seem counterintuitive to some that cannabis producers can apply under a food safety program – isn’t cannabis a drug, to be regulated like other pharmaceuticals? Well, that isn’t actually the best way to see things.
Cannabis is first and foremost a plant, and cannabis production is much more likely to face the challenges of the food industry than pharmaceutical companies. The biggest challenges ahead might have to do with dosage, etc. – but they also include basic things like mould, chemical residues, pests, and proper employee handling. A legalized cannabis industry also has to worry out new issues like ingredient traceability, which can be extremely complex in the industry that hasn’t had to implement comprehensive procedures, but it is absolutely essential to public health and safety.
Cannabis producers are faced with a unique opportunity: because they have joined the food industry later in the game, they can get started on a better footing than your average corn or wheat producer could ever imagine. They can start right off the bat with the most advanced and comprehensive automation technology for cannabis production available today. How do we know this? Because Icicle is already doing all you need and more for the food industry.
The good news is that automation and manufacturing software like Icicle is covered under the OFFS program. We are also the only BC company on the list of 11 pre-approved software vendors, and one of only two that has the specialized features need to support cannabis production.
How the Icicle Team Can Help You
Icicle is committed to helping the burgeoning cannabis industry grow in the safest possible way, for the industry and for the public. That’s why we offer cannabis producers a free sample HACCP plan to get started on the right foot.
We also 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 of the PFFS program, 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.