The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it will no longer allow the importation of food and other goods from New Brunswick.
The decision comes after the province’s Food Safety and Inspection Agency said it found the imported food could be linked to human-caused climate change.
“We will not accept the import into Canada of food that has been contaminated by climate change,” said agency spokesperson Marie-Claude Bouchard.
“The safety of the food, as well as that of Canadians, must be the first consideration when we make food choices.”
The ban was lifted in November after a review of the agency’s rules.
The Food Safety Authority of Canada says its inspection team had detected three cases of foodborne illness linked to imported foods.
It’s also been unable to link a single case of illness to a food in Canada.
“This action is part of a broader and much larger initiative to strengthen our ability to identify and prevent food-borne illness outbreaks,” Bouchards statement said.
The Canadian Food Institute says the ban should have been lifted more than two years ago.
“They should have done it long ago, in the summer of 2016, when the first cases were detected,” said Greg Hochberg, a spokesperson for the group.
“There was no time to look at the food in question, and when there were more than a dozen cases in two years, you just start looking for a pattern.”
The Canadian Association of Food Inspection Agencies says the new rules should have allowed the import to continue in the meantime.
“Food inspections should be voluntary and there should be an incentive for companies to follow those rules, and that’s what the government has not provided,” said Jennifer Brouillette, a spokeswoman for the CAFOI.
“For companies that have a history of serious food safety violations, they need to be held accountable.”
The food industry is already scrambling to meet the new requirements, with the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Food Technology saying that, in response to the announcement, it will work with the CFIA to ensure that all of its food inspections will be conducted using standards that ensure that food is properly stored, handled and stored safely.
“It’s a new day for food inspections, and we want to make sure that all the necessary standards are being followed,” said Brouilerlette.
The CFIA said it is also working with the Food Safety Council of Canada to help ensure that the rules are implemented in a way that ensures food safety.