Tuesday, August 19, 2014

CFIA pot calls USDA kettle black

In a tit-for-tat review, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has audited some meat-packing plants in the United States and is calling for improvements.

The Americans issued a similar audit and comments about the Canadian Food Inspection Agency earlier this year.

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the U.S. food inspection system is working as intended but recommended some improvements,” writes Tom Johnson of Meatingplace Magazine.

CFIA’s report covers 12 meat processing plants, two USDA offices and a government microbiology laboratory. The audit took place from Feb. 5 to Feb. 22, 2013.

The report identified the following areas where FSIS could make improvements:

  • Animal welfare requirements for poultry and pork in the United States

  • Ante-mortem inspection procedures for poultry

  • Specified Risk Material controls in inedible products (i.e. related to mad cow’s disease) and appropriate validation regarding edible product

  • Immplementation of Food Safety and Inspection Service (of the United States Department of Agriculture) requirements for validation for 5-7 D reduction of Salmonella in U.S. establishments producing non-heat treated RTE (ready to eat) products
  • HACCP(Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) requirements and implementation in FSIS regulated establishments
Overall, however, the report concluded that the USDA/FSIS food safety system is performing “as intended in an adequate manner.” As such, no plants were delisted (i.e. banned from exporting to Canada) as a result of the audit.

CFIA found non-compliance issues at two plants, but the USDA/FSIS officials and plants made the appropriate corrective actions within 30 days of the audit.

From Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012, the United States exported 713,073,375 kilograms of raw and processed meat and poultry products to Canada.