1998/99 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 36th Parliament
FIRST READING


The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.


HONOURABLE CORKY EVANS
MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD

BILL 83 -- 1999

FOOD SAFETY ACT

 
Contents

Section  
1  Definitions
 
Part 1 -- Food Safety
2  Responsibility for safe food
3  No sale of contaminated food
 
Part 2 -- Licences
4  Designation of food establishment
5  Licences for designated food establishments
6  Compliance with licence terms, restrictions and conditions
 
Part 3 -- Food Safety Inspections
7  Appointment of inspectors
8  General inspection powers
9  Evidence of authority
10  Prohibition notices by inspectors
11  Seizure and destruction of food
 
Part 4 -- General
12  Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply
13  Offences
14  Offence penalties
15  Documentary and certificate evidence
16  Inspector may seize offence related things
17  Seized food forfeited
18  Injunction
19  Delegation of minister's powers and duties
20  Forms
21  Power to make regulations
22  Transitional matters
23-29  Consequential Amendments
30  Commencement

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:

Definitions

1 In this Act:

"contaminate" means to expose to conditions that permit

(a) the introduction of foreign matter, including filth, a poisonous substance or a pest,

(b) the introduction or multiplication of disease-causing micro-organisms or parasites, or

(c) the introduction or production of toxins;

"food" means food or drink for human consumption, and includes

(a) any substance that is manufactured, sold or represented for use as food or drink for human consumption,

(b) any ingredient that is mixed, or intended to be mixed, with food or drink for human consumption, and

(c) any agricultural product grown, raised, cultivated, harvested or kept for the purpose of producing food or drink for human consumption;

"food establishment" means any place where, or any vehicle in which, in the ordinary course of business, food is grown, raised, cultivated, kept, harvested, produced, manufactured, slaughtered, processed, prepared, packaged, distributed, transported, sold, offered for sale or displayed for sale, or is stored or handled for any of those purposes;

"inspection item" means anything required for or relevant to a food safety inspection conducted by an inspector under Part 3, including any food, plant, animal, soil, record, equipment, substance or other thing, whether solid, liquid, gas or a combination of any of them;

"inspector" means an inspector appointed under section 7 to the extent the inspector can act within the powers, functions, terms and conditions of the inspector's appointment under that section;

"licence" includes a renewal of a licence;

"operator" means a manager, an owner or a lessor of a food establishment;

"premises" means lands and structures, or either of them, and includes water and vehicles;

"vehicle" includes a boat, ship, vessel, aircraft, train, railway car or equipment, motor vehicle, all terrain vehicle, trailer or other movable structure.

 
Part 1 -- Food Safety

Responsibility for safe food

2 The operator of a food establishment is responsible for ensuring that its food is safe for human consumption.

No sale of contaminated food

3 An operator must not sell, offer for sale or distribute to a person any item of food that is contaminated or otherwise unfit for human consumption.

 
Part 2 -- Licences

Designation of food establishment

4 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, designate a type or class of food establishment as being subject to this Part.

(2) A person who operates a food establishment of a type or class designated under subsection (1) must hold a licence issued under section 5.

(3) A designation under subsection (1) may, in relation to food establishments where animals are slaughtered or processed for food purposes, be limited to a specified geographical area in British Columbia.

Licences for designated food establishments

5 (1) In accordance with the regulations, the minister may issue licences to persons for the operation of a designated food establishment.

(2) A person to whom a licence is issued under subsection (1) must pay the fee prescribed for that licence in accordance with the regulations.

(3) It is a condition of a licence issued under subsection (1) that the licence holder comply with this Act and the regulations.

(4) The minister may

(a) amend, add or impose terms, restrictions or conditions on a licence issued under subsection (1), and

(b) suspend, cancel or refuse to renew a licence.

(5) A licence issued under subsection (1) is not transferable.

Compliance with licence terms, restrictions and conditions

6 A person to whom a licence is issued under this Act or the regulations must comply with all terms, restrictions and conditions on that licence.

 
Part 3 -- Food Safety Inspections

Appointment of inspectors

7 (1) The minister may appoint persons, or persons within a class, to be inspectors.

(2) The minister, in an appointment under subsection (1), may

(a) limit the powers and functions that an inspector may exercise under this Act and the regulations, and

(b) make the appointment subject to terms and conditions.

General inspection powers

8 (1) For the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act and the regulations, an inspector may do any of the following:

(a) enter at reasonable times the premises of a food establishment or any place that the inspector believes on reasonable grounds is being used as a food establishment;

(b) inspect the premises and the equipment, facilities and food in or on those premises;

(c) make a record, including a record on film, audio tape, video tape or otherwise, of the premises and the equipment, facilities and food in or on those premises;

(d) suspend the operation of any enterprise or activity in or on those premises;

(e) stop and inspect a vehicle in which the inspector believes on reasonable grounds there is food, or an inspection item, in respect of which this Act or the regulations apply;

(f) open any container that the inspector believes on reasonable grounds to contain an inspection item;

(g) require to be produced for inspection, or for the purpose of obtaining copies of it or extracts from it, any record that the inspector believes on reasonable grounds contains information relevant to the administration of this Act and the regulations;

(h) require to be produced for inspection any food or other inspection item;

(i) take and remove samples of any inspection item;

(j) examine or test samples referred to in paragraph (i), or have either of these things done;

(k) do anything necessary to determine if this Act and the regulations are being complied with.

(2) The operator of a food establishment must pay the prescribed fee, if any, for an inspection of the food establishment under subsection (1) or for any action taken under paragraph (g), (j) or (k) of that subsection.

(3) The prescribed fee under subsection (2) must be paid to the government in the prescribed manner or as provided by regulation under section 21 (2) (p).

(4) The authority under subsection (1) must not be used to enter a private dwelling except with the consent of the occupant or the authority of a warrant under subsection (5).

(5) If satisfied by evidence given under oath or affirmation that

(a) the reason for entry described in subsection (1) (a) exists in relation to a private dwelling,

(b) entry to the private dwelling is necessary for any purpose related to carrying out an inspection under subsection (1), and

(c) entry to the private dwelling has been refused or there are reasonable grounds for believing that it will be refused,

a justice may issue a warrant authorizing an inspector or a peace officer to enter the private dwelling and conduct the inspection in relation to those parts of the private dwelling believed to be used as a food establishment.

(6) An inspector or peace officer acting under the authority of a warrant under subsection (5) may not use force to execute the warrant unless the use of force is specifically authorized in the warrant.

(7) In this section, "private dwelling" means a structure that is used as a private residence or a residential accommodation within any other structure.

Evidence of authority

9 An inspector must, on request, produce to a person whose premises the inspector enters, identification provided by the minister for this purpose.

Prohibition notices by inspectors

10 (1) If an inspector finds on inspection that this Act and the regulations have not been complied with, the inspector may prohibit the selling, offering for sale or distributing of any specified food from the premises of a food establishment.

(2) If, in the inspector's opinion, the equipment or methods used in a food establishment are unsanitary or unfit for the growing, raising, cultivating, keeping, harvesting, producing, manufacturing, slaughtering, processing, preparing, packaging, distributing, marking, storing, handling, displaying or transporting of food, the inspector may prohibit use of the equipment or methods.

(3) The inspector may make a prohibition under subsection (1) or (2) subject to any terms and conditions that the inspector considers appropriate.

(4) The inspector must serve on the operator of the food establishment notice of a prohibition under subsection (1) or (2), including any terms and conditions referred to in subsection (3).

(5) A person receiving notice under subsection (4) must comply with that notice.

Seizure and destruction of food

11 (1) An inspector who believes on reasonable grounds that food

(a) does not meet a prescribed standard for that food, or

(b) is contaminated or otherwise unfit for human consumption,

may

(c) seize the food or have it seized, and

(d) detain it, or have it detained, for examination or inspection that the inspector considers necessary to determine whether that standard has been met or whether the food is contaminated or unfit for human consumption.

(2) If the examination or inspection indicates that all prescribed standards have been met and the food is uncontaminated and is fit for human consumption, the inspector must notify the owner or person from whom the food was seized and release it to that owner or person.

(3) If the owner or person referred to in subsection (2) does not reclaim the food, the inspector may have it detained, denatured, disposed of or destroyed.

(4) If the examination or inspection indicates that a prescribed standard has not been met or that the food is contaminated or unfit for human consumption,

(a) the inspector may detain or mark the food, or have either done,

(b) the inspector may condemn the food and order that it be quarantined, decontaminated, denatured, disposed of or destroyed, and

(c) the minister may order the recall of that food if any has been sold or distributed.

(5) Notice of an order issued under subsection (4) (b) or (c) must be served on the operator of a food establishment affected by the order.

(6) A person receiving notice under subsection (5) must comply with that notice.

(7) The owner and any person entitled to or in possession of food seized, detained, marked, condemned, quarantined, decontaminated, denatured, disposed of, destroyed or recalled under this section are jointly and severally liable to the government for all expenses incurred in doing any of those things.

(8) The expenses referred to in subsection (7) constitute a debt due to the government and are recoverable by action in any court of competent jurisdiction.

 
Part 4 -- General

Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply

12 Section 5 of the Offence Act does not apply to this Act or the regulations.

Offences

13 (1) A person who contravenes section 3, 4 (2), 6, 10 (5) or 11 (6) or subsection (2), (4) or (5) of this section commits an offence.

(2) When applying for a licence under this Act or the regulations or when requested, ordered or directed by an inspector, a person must not supply false or misleading information.

(3) A person does not commit an offence under subsection (2) if, at the time the information was supplied, the person did not know that it was false or misleading and, with the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have known that it was false or misleading.

(4) A person must not obstruct, impede or refuse to admit an inspector or peace officer who is performing duties and exercising powers given by or under this Act, the regulations or under the authority of a warrant.

(5) A person must not aid or assist another person in obstructing, impeding or refusing to admit an inspector or peace officer who is performing duties and exercising powers given by or under this Act, the regulations or under the authority of a warrant.

(6) If a corporation commits an offence under subsection (1), an employee, officer, director or agent of the corporation who authorizes, permits or acquiesces in the commission of the offence also commits an offence.

(7) Subsection (6) applies whether or not the corporation is prosecuted for the offence.

Offence penalties

14 (1) An individual who commits an offence under this Act or the regulations is liable to a fine of not more than $5 000 or to imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or to both.

(2) A corporation that commits an offence under this Act or the regulations is liable to a fine of not more than $25 000.

(3) An individual or corporation under subsection (1) or (2) is liable to the penalty referred to in the applicable provision for each day or part of a day on which the offence occurs or continues.

(4) When sentencing a person convicted of an offence under this Act or the regulations, the court may order the offender to pay compensation or make restitution to the government or a person for the actual loss or damage caused by or arising out of the commission of the offence, including, without limitation, compensation or restitution for

(a) any costs incurred in connection with any inspection related to investigation of the offence, and

(b) any costs incurred in relation to investigation of the offence.

(5) An order for compensation or restitution under subsection (4) is in addition to and not in place of any other fine or penalty described in this section.

(6) If an order is made in favour of the government or a person under subsection (4), the government or person may, by filing the order in a registry of the Supreme Court, enter as a judgment the amount ordered to be paid and that judgment is enforceable against the offender in the same manner as if it were a judgment against the offender in civil proceedings in that court.

(7) Nothing in this section precludes the government or any person from taking any civil action or exercising any right of recovery against a person who commits an offence under this Act or the regulations.

(8) In any prosecution under this Act or the regulations, if it appears that the defendant has committed any act or omission in respect of which, were the defendant not properly licensed, the defendant would be liable to a penalty under this Act, it is up to the defendant to prove that the defendant is properly licensed.

Documentary and certificate evidence

15 (1) A copy of a document granted or issued by an inspector or other person authorized under this Act, and certified by the inspector or other person as a true copy is, without proof of the inspector's or person's signature, appointment or authorization,

(a) evidence of the document, and

(b) evidence that the person granting or issuing the document was authorized to do so.

(2) In any prosecution under this Act, a certificate as to the results of an analysis that is signed, or purports to be signed, by an analyst is evidence of the facts stated in the certificate and conclusive evidence of the authority of the person giving or making the certificate without proof of the person's signature, appointment or authorization.

(3) A person against whom a certificate under subsection (2) is produced may, with leave of the court, require the attendance of the analyst who signed the certificate, for the purpose of cross examination.

(4) In subsection (2), "analyst" means an analyst designated by the minister for the purpose of conducting analyses or tests under this Act.

Inspector may seize offence related things

16 (1) If, on inspection under Part 3, an inspector has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under this Act or the regulations has been committed, the inspector may seize anything, whether an inspection item or not, that may constitute evidence of the offence.

(2) Anything seized under subsection (1) may be

(a) detained until the thing is no longer required in a trial or other proceeding and all provisions of this Act and the regulations have been complied with, or

(b) disposed of or destroyed as the minister may direct.

Seized food forfeited

17 (1) If a person is convicted of an offence under this Act or the regulations, any food by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed is, on that conviction, forfeited to the government, and may be disposed of or destroyed as the minister may direct.

(2) The forfeiture provided for under subsection (1) is in addition to and not in place of any other fine or penalty imposed under this Act.

Injunction

18 If an inspector or the minister has reason to believe that there is or will be non-compliance with a notice of prohibition under section 10 or with an order under section 11 (4), the inspector or minister may apply to the Supreme Court for an injunction restraining a person from doing anything that is prohibited and, until final disposition of the action, the court may grant an interim injunction.

Delegation of minister's powers and duties

19 (1) Subject to the regulations, the minister may delegate to any person or class of persons any or all of the minister's powers, duties and functions under this Act or the regulations, except the power set out in section 20 (a).

(2) The minister may include any limits or conditions the minister considers advisable with respect to a delegation under subsection (1).

Forms

20 The minister may do either or both of the following:

(a) prescribe certificates, stamps, marks, tags, labels and forms for use under this Act;

(b) specify certificates, stamps, marks, tags, labels and forms for use under this Act.

Power to make regulations

21 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) establishing standards for food and food establishments, and for the growing, raising, cultivating, keeping, harvesting, producing, manufacturing, slaughtering, processing, preparing, packaging, marking, handling, distributing, transporting, storing, displaying, selling or offering for sale of food, providing for the maintenance of those standards and providing for the duties of inspectors in relation to these matters;

(b) respecting methods to be followed and equipment to be used in growing, raising, cultivating, keeping, harvesting, producing, manufacturing, slaughtering, processing, preparing, packaging, marking, handling, distributing, transporting, storing, displaying, selling or offering for sale of food;

(c) establishing requirements for control, supervision and management in a food establishment and for systems to ascertain whether the Act and the regulations are being complied with;

(d) respecting design, construction, equipment and sanitation of food establishments, requiring approval of design and construction plans for proposed food establishments and prohibiting or restricting the uses of a food establishment;

(e) providing for measures to be taken for preventing contamination or spoilage of food, establishing types and levels of bacteria, antibacterial agents and other substances or agents that may contaminate food or do not occur naturally in it, requiring the treatment of food for the purpose of destroying pathogenic bacteria and prescribing the manner or methods of that treatment;

(f) respecting the development, establishment, implementation and operation of one or more food safety programs, including, without limitation,

(i) developing and providing educational, research and promotional material or training respecting food safety,

(ii) establishing or authorizing one or more bodies or organizations to administer food safety programs,

(iii) developing supervisory programs of, or systems for inspection of, records, premises and products of food establishments other than those food establishments required to be licensed under this Act,

(iv) prescribing fees to be paid by operators to run and maintain food safety programs, and

(v) other matters the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary for the administration of food safety programs;

(g) providing the means to ensure compliance with the regulations by

(i) imposing on and collecting from operators penalties for non-compliance with or contravention of the regulations,

(ii) prescribing the conditions under which, and the time at which, the penalties are payable,

(iii) prescribing the amount of the penalties and the method by which they must be calculated, and

(iv) prescribing that the penalties collected be applied to a fund established under paragraph (h);

(h) establishing one or more funds to be used to develop and provide educational, research and promotional material or to provide training respecting food safety, providing for the payment of penalties under paragraph (g) to be directed and remitted to an established fund and prescribing the manner in which the penalties are to be paid into and out of an established fund;

(i) authorizing the minister to

(i) appoint a person or persons to manage and administer a fund established under paragraph (h) and to make payments from it in accordance with the regulations, and

(ii) establish terms of reference, duties and responsibilities for the person or persons appointed;

(j) establishing a licensing scheme for one or more types or classes of food establishments, including, without limitation,

(i) establishing qualifications to be met for obtaining a licence,

(ii) requiring and prescribing a fee payable for a licence and for a licence application,

(iii) providing for the issue, renewal, suspension, cancellation or reinstatement of a licence,

(iv) establishing terms, restrictions and conditions that may be included or imposed in respect of a licence, including inspection, supervision or other requirements to meet and comply with codes, standards, rules and guidelines,

(v) establishing the circumstances under which a licence may be suspended, cancelled and reinstated,

(vi) establishing procedures for conducting a suspension, cancellation or reinstatement proceeding, and

(vii) providing for other matters necessary to establish the scheme;

(k) establishing or authorizing one or more bodies or organizations, on specified terms and conditions, to administer a licensing scheme under paragraph (j) and to enforce licensee compliance with this Act and the regulations, and prescribing the fees that the body or organization may charge for a licence or licence application;

(l) establishing qualifications and standards to be met by food establishment staff, prescribing their duties and functions and providing for examinations as to the competency of food establishment staff, the nature and extent of those examinations and standards required to pass them;

(m) providing for the issue of licences to food establishment staff, the classifying or categorizing of licences in accordance with the qualifications of the applicants, the terms of the licences and the fees to be paid for the licences, and providing for their renewal, suspension, cancellation or reinstatement;

(n) specifying the fee payable under section 8 (2) for one or more of the actions that an inspector may take under that section;

(o) specifying the manner in which a fee specified under paragraph (n) must be paid to the government;

(p) authorizing a body or organization to operate an inspection service, specifying the manner in which a fee under paragraph (o) must be paid to the body or organization and authorizing that body or organization to retain all or a portion of the fee collected;

(q) respecting information, records and reports required for an inspection, including, without limitation, prescribing their form and content and the manner in which the information, records and reports must be given and kept;

(r) respecting the inspection of animals and carcasses to be used for food, including, without limitation, providing for

(i) the volume of business required before inspection will be granted,

(ii) the inspection hours,

(iii) the fees for inspections and related matters, and

(iv) the withdrawal of inspection services;

(s) providing for and setting standards and criteria for the detention, condemnation, quarantine, decontamination, denaturing, disposal and destruction of food that is contaminated or otherwise unfit for human consumption or of an ill, diseased or contaminated animal, carcass, plant, crop or other thing;

(t) providing for sampling, testing and analysis of any or all lots, deliveries or shipments of food and any other sampling, testing and analysis that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary in the public interest, providing for the manner and conditions of sampling, testing or analysis and designating laboratories to perform testing and analysis;

(u) prescribing fees and charges payable to the government in respect of the following:

(i) analyses, tests and investigations conducted under this Act or the regulations;

(ii) filing of applications, records or reports with the minister;

(iii) provision of material or training referred to in paragraph (f) (i);

(iv) licences and licence applications;

(v) creating an offence for the contravention of a regulation and prescribing a penalty for that offence;

(w) respecting the use, or standards for the use, of a certificate, stamp, mark, tag, label or form prescribed or specified by the minister under section 20, and making it an offence to misuse, imitate, deface or alter any of those things;

(x) respecting the delegation of the powers, duties and functions of the minister;

(y) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act;

(z) exempting a class or type of person, food or food establishment from the application of all or part of the Act or a regulation, permitting the minister to make such exemptions and prescribing the conditions of those exemptions.

(3) In making regulations under this Act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may do one or more of the following:

(a) make different regulations for different classes or types of persons, food or food establishments, and establish a classification system for this purpose;

(b) make different regulations for different geographical areas in British Columbia;

(c) delegate a matter to a person;

(d) confer a discretion on a person;

(e) make regulations

(i) considered necessary or advisable to more effectively bring a regulation under this section into operation and facilitate any transition from the operation of the Meat Inspection Act or the Milk Industry Act to the operation of this Act and a regulation under this section, and

(ii) continuing or preserving and dealing with licences, certificates or permits issued under the Meat Inspection Act and the Milk Industry Act before their repeal by this Act, and dealing with proceedings commenced or any actions taken in respect of those licences, certificates or permits, including deeming that all or parts of those Acts and their regulations remain in force, after the time their repeal takes effect under this Act, for as long as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary and advisable.

(4) A regulation under this section may incorporate or adopt by reference, and with any changes the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers appropriate, all or part of a code, rule or standard, as amended before or after the making of the regulation and relating to the subject matter of this Act, whether the code, rule or standard is promulgated by any governmental authority or by any association or other body of persons.

(5) If all or part of a code, rule or standard is adopted by regulation, publication in the Gazette of a notice of the adoption referring to the code, standard or rule and stating the extent of its adoption and setting out any variations to which the adoption is subject, is deemed sufficient publication without publishing in the Gazette the text of the code, rule, standard or part adopted.

Transitional matters

22 (1) On the day that section 26 of this Act comes into force, the assets and liabilities of the Dairy Products Promotional Fund, established under the Milk Industry Act before its repeal by this Act, are transferred to the British Columbia Milk Marketing Board.

(2) If the British Columbia Milk Marketing Board wishes to exercise its powers to set and collect levies or charges from dairy farmers and to use those levies or charges in the promotion of dairy products, the levy or charge must not be imposed on a dairy farmer who, at the time this section comes into force, was exempt from payment of fees or from having fees deducted for the promotion of dairy products under section 41 (1) (e) of the Milk Industry Act as it read before its repeal.

 
Consequential Amendments

 
Animal Disease Control Act

23 Section 3 (1) of the Animal Disease Control Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 14, is repealed.

24 Section 15 (1) and (2) is amended by striking out "in accordance with the Milk Industry Act." and substituting "in accordance with the Food Safety Act and its regulations."

 
Meat Inspection Act

25 The Meat Inspection Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 283, is repealed.

 
Milk Industry Act

26 The Milk Industry Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 289, is repealed.

 
Milk Industry Amendment Act, 1997

27 The Milk Industry Amendment Act, 1997, S.B.C. 1997, c. 9, is repealed.

 
Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 1998

28 Sections 6 and 7 of the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 1998, S.B.C. 1998, c. 11, are repealed.

 
Municipal Act

29 Section 680 (d) of the Municipal Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 323, is amended by striking out "Milk Industry Act," and substituting "Food Safety Act,".

Commencement

30 This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

 
Explanatory Note

This Bill combines various existing legislative regimes concerning food safety, so that licensing, inspection and standard setting components are updated and integrated into one source of legislative authority. As part of this consolidation, the Meat Inspection Act and the Milk Industry Act are repealed. To acknowledge industry initiative and facilitate the development of national or inter-jurisdictional food safety measures, standards may be adopted from those established within industry or by other governmental bodies.


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