Friday, May 29, 2015

Meat council wants provincial inspection scrapped

The Canadian Meat Council has renewed its call for a single standard for meat inspection.

“We believe that the best option for reducing interprovincial barriers and promoting trade of meat products in both Canada and export markets would be to terminate the existence of a two-tiered system of food safety regulations and inspection in this country and move to one level of food safety inspection, which is federal,” said Henry Mizrahi, president of Lester’s Foods in Laval, Que., and past-president of the meat council, which represents federally-inspected meat plants. 

Some small Ontario-inspected meat companies were forced to close when the province moved closer to federal standards several years ago, but Ontario regulations are not yet a complete match.

Mizrahi told the council’s annual meeting in Ottawa recently that the small plants ought to get government help to meet federal standards.

“We want to ensure that these companies can continue to survive but under a unified system that provides the same food safety protections that we do,” he said.

Ninety-five percent of animals slaughtered in Canada are processed in federally registered establishments. Products produced in provincially registered facilities can be traded only within the province.

I have never understood how Canadians can justify the double standard. If the federal standards are too tough, then let the provinces lobby to make them sensible. But if they are warranted, how do the provinces justify their laxity?