Friday, July 22, 2011

CFIA cuts to HACCP

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is slashing the frequency of its food-processing plant audits for compliance with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) protocols.

Instead of inspections two to four times a year, each lasting one to two days, the CFIA will now have a HACCP specialist doing an audit lasting four to five days every second year.

These audits will also apply when there is a food recall or when an inspector suspects the HCCCP protocols are not being followed.

I learned about this CFIA cut only because somebody tipped me off about changes at Gray Ridge Egg Farms which has been told it will now be HACCP audited once every two years.

Inspection standards are reverting to the Food Safety Enhancement Program.

In response to a call to CFIA, I got an e-mail saying "a new and revised Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP) came into effect on July 01, 2010. (They erred. It's July 1 this year.)

"FSEP was amended to reflect changes in the current food safety environment and to introduce a new method of verifying FSEP recognized establishments. 

"As a result, regular inspection was reduced for those establishments that were regularly in compliance to regulations. 

"FSEP audits have been substituted by complete reviews of the establishments HACCP system by an inspection team with a HACCP Specialist.

"This four to five-day review may be initiated in all federally-registered establishments that have implemented FSEP at a minimum frequency of once every two years; or following a recall; or should the inspector determine that the HACCP system may be potentially compromised.

'The overall impact of these changes has been to incorporate a more risk-based approach to inspection without compromising inspection presence in FSEP recognized establishments (meat, dairy, shell eggs, processed eggs, processed products, maple, honey and hatcheries)."

There is no word on whether the Americans will accept this change. It was they, after all, who forced CFIA's hand at meat-packing plants exporting to the U.S.