The Office of the Inspector General has identified a couple of gaps in United States meat inspection and says harmful bacteria that slipped through was responsible for at least some food poisonings.
The Inspector General says U.S. meat inspectors ought to check mechanically-tenderized meat for harmful bacteria.
Had that been done in Edmonton, a number of consumers of beef from the XL Foods plant at Brooks, Alta., might have been spared illness last year.
So far the U.S.D.A. is only talking about labeling mechanically-tenderized beef, not testing samples for harmful bacteria.
The other issue raised by the Inspector General is boxed beef shipped to others who grind it for hamburger, cold cuts or other products.
That should also be tested, just as meat ground at the originating meat-packing plant is tested, says the audit.
The U.S.D.A. says it will be issuing instructions to its inspectors to test boxed beef.
Too bad we don't have something like the Office of the Inspector General to blow the whistle on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.