All posts tagged Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Media Update for April 17, 2011

Advance warnings negate benefits of inspections:

It seems that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is giving egg producers an easy ride when it comes to inspections. A blogger has posted that the CFIA gives as much as two weeks notice. Some producers have used this time to clean up and get their hen-houses in order. This, of course, negates the much of the benefit of an inspection regime. To be really effective, they should be random, unannounced and include real testing (as opposed to just inspecting the paperwork).

The CFIA should know better, but can’t seem to change itself. There were many lessons learned after the 2008 listeriosis outbreak, but they still haven’t implemented many of them – most notably the lack of inspectors. How can they promote a safety culture in the industry when they themselves are so negligent?

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Inspections lack surprise
Agri 007 (blog), April 13, 2011
Summary: If you’re speeding and get warning that there’s a policeman with radar over the hill, you slow down to the speed limit.  You’re not caught and disciplined, so you probably continue to speed. There appear to be lots of warnings for egg farmers in Ontario and grading stations that the enforcers are coming, so few are caught and disciplined.… Read the rest

Media Update for April 14, 2011

Canadian food safety criticized by Canadian Medical Association Journal:

I picked up another food safety story from one of my favourite blogs, barfblog. Doug Powell, who is a Canadian at Kansas State University, has a posting on the state of food inspection in Canada. This when we’re in the midst of another food contamination outbreak that has made more than a dozen people sick and may have killed one woman.

Powell’s post quotes a Canadian Medical Association Journal editorial on food safety (which criticizes Canada’s food inspection system), and former Canadian Food Inspection Agency President Ron Doering (who gives it lukewarm praise).

As Powell observes, and contrary to the statements of the quoted individuals, Canada is actually not all that good at food regulation. Or any regulation, I’d have to add. This, at least, is the assessment of Global Integrity, which gave Canada a poor rating on law enforcement.

We at Canadians for Accountability agree with GI for several reasons. First of all, there has been a widespread move towards so-called safety management systems (called, I believe, the “Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point” system in food safety) – where producers are expected to monitor their own systems and ensure a safety culture, and regulators generally only inspect the safety system as opposed to shop-floor compliance testing.… Read the rest

Media Update for January 23, 2011

The casual disregard of Canadians’ health by government and industry:

There were two stories in the last week which show the disregard Canadian governments and companies have for our health. In the first, Health Canada finally put a ban on various chemicals used to soften plastic used in children’s toys. This comes years after not only European countries – which are, of course, usually leaders in such things – but also the U.S.  Health Canada failed to ban their use elsewhere, though – such as in shampoos, deodorants and makeup.

The other story pertains to food safety. A meat plant in B.C. was caught covering up test results which showed E. coli contamination. This plant fell under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which has downloaded much of its inspection to the packers. Government inspectors now look at more paperwork than meat samples – which, in 2008, resulted in the listeriosis outbreak that killed 23 people.

One would think that after that disaster, the CFIA would rethink its approach. That clearly hasn’t happened, and not only do they not have enough inspectors to do what little they do but it looks like packers are once again putting profit ahead of safety.… Read the rest