USDA criticises Canadian meat inspection
The findings were based on the USDA’s audit of seven food processing facilities, two labs and five CFIA offices in 2012.
Based on six components, the audit found that CFIA performed “adequately” in maintaining equivalence and meeting the criteria, and the USDA pointed to three areas of concern. These were non-compliances in hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) implementation in a beef slaughterhouse, non-compliances in sanitation performance standard in a swine slaughter establishment, and additional requests for further clarification on CFIA’s RTE policy and more information regarding the Shiga-Toxin Producing E.coli program.
The USDA confirmed that the CFIA took immediate actions to correct the areas of concern and also set in measures to prevent and strengthen its establishment in the future.
However, a spokesperson from the CFIA said: “Canada has one of the safest and healthiest food systems in the world, and we are committed to keeping it that way. The USDA’s recently released audit confirms that Canada’s meat inspection system is effective. The audit also confirms that all of the issues identified in the audit have been corrected to their satisfaction.
“Opportunities for improvement that were identified have all been addressed to the satisfaction of US authorities. Similar findings were observed during a recent Canadian audit of US meat facilities, which will be publicly released in the coming months.”
The spokesperson further added that Canada regularly audits and is audited by trading partners, which ensures confidence in these foreign meat inspection systems.