Kelsey Johnson of iPolitics reports the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says no Canadian meat plants are at risk of losing their trade status with the United States and that issues raised in a 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture audit of meat, poultry and egg plants have been resolved.
“The final audit report confirms that Canada’s meat, poultry and egg inspection systems are equivalent to the U.S. inspection systems and that all Canadian federally registered establishments permitted to export to the U.S. can continue to export goods.”
The CFIA’s response came after The Globe and Mail reported Monday the agency had until March to respond to the Americans final findings. Failure to do so, the Globe report indicated, could see audited Canadians plants lose their ability to export products to the United States.
That’s simply not the case, the CFIA said Tuesday. “No, there is no risk of delisting,” Jordan stressed.
Canada’s food safety system, Jordan said, undergoes “routine” international equivalency audits and conducts similar audits on other countries. These audits, she said, are expected to “identify opportunities for improvement” in Canadian plants.
“This is very routine to have findings in all audits. It would be an unusual to have an audit that results in no findings.”
Still, the 2014 USDA audit of five meat inspection plants came two years after another USDA audit of seven meat plants raised similar sanitary concerns.
At the time, then Health Minister Rona Ambrose defended the CFIA, insisting Canada had one of the “healthiest and safest food safety systems in the world.”
Asked Tuesday about the USDA findings on plant sanitation, Jordan said the agency takes immediate action to rectify issues at the plant level. “Certainly, the sanitation issues are dealt with immediately, on the spot and inspectors have a range of tools they can use.”
So who does the Listeria and other microbial testing, the plants or CFIA or both? And why aren’t those results public?