Members of the Nova Scotia Agriculture Department (that’s a province in Canada) told the public accounts committee no one in Nova Scotia has become ill because of problems in the province’s meat inspection program.
The Herald News reports the health types were there to give an update on their response to a report from the auditor general in November that said the department wasn’t doing a good job keeping watch over the province’s slaughterhouses and meat processing plants.
In the report, Jacques Lapointe said, among other things, there was a lack of monthly inspections and inconsistent followups when deficiencies were found, and there didn’t seem to be any enforcement action taken when deficiencies weren’t corrected.
Mike Horwich, the director of food protection with the department, told the committee, "We’ve accepted all the recommendations (of the auditor general) and we’re working toward each and every one of them. Some are further along than others, but we hope to implement them by at least the end of next year."
He described the system that prevents bacteria from getting through the slaughter process and into the consumer food supply as a series of fences along a track, and said that even if something happened that allowed the bacteria to get past one barrier, it would be stopped by another.
He said the department is working toward having regular monthly inspections. "We strive to achieve those, but again, those monthly inspections are just one barrier, they’re not the be-all and end-all. We are confident that the system that we have now and the process that we have now, with inspectors on site, ends up being part of a system that produces a really good product."