Food safety and quality

Food safety is a major public health issue. Nowadays, producers who want to gain access to markets must comply with increasingly strict quality standards to meet the requirements of certification programs such as CanadaGAP, FSSC 22000, and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).

Methods to meet the highest standards

While regulatory authorities occasionally call upon IRDA to identify factors that can pose risks to food safety, the institute acts primarily in this area by working with producers to develop methods adapted to agricultural businesses that help them meet the highest standards, so they can produce healthy, high quality food.

Reducing risks at the farm

IRDA is guided in its fieldwork by its expert knowledge of the agricultural world. We have identified risk factors on farms and developed practices, some of which are widely used by farmers today, to reduce the risk of contamination. IRDA experts have also devised methods to manage and treat water and organic fertilizers, and have drawn up pre-harvest schedules that farmers adhere to in order to market pathogen-free foods.

Antibiotic resistance in the environment

Still in the realm of food safety, IRDA conducts research on antibiotic resistance genes found in the environment and in crops—research made possible by our unique facilities, which include a molecular biology lab and experimental plots. This public and animal health issue, one of particular concern to government authorities, has prompted IRDA to assess the effects of repeated fertilizer applications on farms and come up with recommendations to reduce the presence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms in the environment and, hence, on food sold in grocery stores.

Thanks to IRDA’s research, farmers now have access to government funding for pond aeration.