CFIA responds

by Aaron Wherry

A statement from the CFIA in response to reports about American audits of the XL Foods plant.

Contrary to assertions made today, Canadian food inspectors do look at the overall conditions of the plant such as how the carcasses are washed and the sanitation of equipment. Inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are in federally registered plants during all hours of operation. They verify that companies’ food safety controls are being effectively implemented. If at any time, inspectors observe issues that could threaten food safety, they take immediate action. Maintenance, equipment and general sanitation are all inspected at set frequencies. Our inspectors focus on making sure that the controls needed for safe food are being followed.

Secondly, as trading partners, Canada and the United States regularly audit each other’s food safety systems. The bottom line is that any issues identified in the course of these audits are addressed so that companies can continue to export their products. These audits only capture a snapshot of the situation in a plant, while CFIA inspectors have daily interaction with staff of federally registered meat establishments and make sure that preventive food safety plan is being implemented consistently and effectively.

As well, news reports have only used select information from certain audits and, as a result, paint a misleading picture of Canada’s overall food safety system. For example, reports have highlighted certain graphic examples from a U.S. audit report but failed to explain that the same report noted that the “CFIA and the establishment took immediate and appropriate corrective actions.”

Media reports also fail to mention that the XL Foods Inc. plant at the centre of the current E. coli issue has been audited by foreign countries ten times in the past three years. This plant has remained eligible to export its products up until just recently, which demonstrates foreign countries’ confidence in the facility and the CFIA’s oversight capacity.




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CFIA responds

  1. Do you guys even realize how saying “Everything is okey dokey” is not at all reassuring?

    • “Everything is okey dokey” doesn’t even say anything, let alone be reassuring or mean anything.

      Good comment, Thwim.

  2. Things will be even better when the Americans are asked if anyone
    here speaks Portugese. On the other hand, the line might develop some
    fascinatin’ rhythms.

  3. The CFIA is telling the truth and being good about it. The problem is that Harper, through “Flaherty’s” “budget” in the spring cut the CFIA to between 150 and 200 people who are inadequate.

    Stop blaming XL, start blaming Harper.

  4. SO the USDA comes in and finds E Coli, and for the past 7 yrs has flagged XL Foods as being a dump and unsafe….sorry I’ll go with the findings of the USDA – they found the E Coli first anyway. Its clear to me that the CFIA is a broken dept,mismanaged and clearly has a ineffective inspection system or incompetent and under the thumb of meat processors.

  5. “Media reports also fail to mention that the XL Foods Inc. plant at
    the centre of the current E. coli issue has been audited by foreign
    countries ten times in the past three years. This plant has remained
    eligible to export its products up until just recently, which
    demonstrates foreign countries’ confidence in the facility and the
    CFIA’s oversight capacity”

    I’ve been following this with an open mind, now i’m beginning to worry.

  6. Who is this CFIA person? Has Minister Ritz been replaced by someone with an all upper case name?

  7. “… reports have highlighted certain graphic examples from a U.S. audit
    report but failed to explain that the same report noted that the “CFIA
    and the establishment took immediate and appropriate corrective
    actions.”

    Takeaway message: the American system works.

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