There’s no problems at Brandt meat plant except for the 23 sick from salmonella in headcheese and the undercooking

Sarah Schmidt of Postmedia News writes tonight in a story that will appear across Canada tomorrow that federal meat inspectors didn’t find any problems that needed fixing at a meat-processing plant in the months leading up to last week’s massive recall of Brandt deli meats.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency only identified sanitation issues, deficiencies in the company’s environmental testing program and possible undercooking after public-health officials linked a salmonella outbreak linked to Brandt meat, Postmedia News has learned.

The July 31 national recall of all ready-to-eat meats manufactured by G. Brandt Meat Packers at its Mississauga, Ont., plant followed 23 confirmed cases of salmonella associated with Brandt headcheese by public-heath authorities in British Columbia and one case in Ontario. It was B.C. health officials — not the government meat inspector stationed at the plant — who first alerted CFIA brass to take a closer look at the plant.

As a result of the investigation launched on July 14, CFIA issued the first of nine corrective action reports, including one singling out how well the meat was cooked and related record-keeping.

The case raises questions about the state of Canada’s meat inspection system two years after 22 Canadians died following the consumption of listeria-tainted Maple Leaf deli meats, also produced at a federally inspected plant.

In addition to finding salmonella in headcheese products manufactured at the Brandt plant, CFIA also found Listeria monocytogenes in the company’s Ham Suelze.

Caroline Spivak, a spokeswoman for Brandt Meat Packers, emphasized there have been no positive salmonella product tests for any deli meats other than headcheese. See, it’s just the headcheese, and if you eat that stuff, who knows what risks you are taking.

"There’s always a CFIA inspector that tests the product, so the company stands by its product and is not in the habit of undercooking their food.”

But they did. And got caught. Sorta.