On November 28, 2012, CTV reported on a four-year-old memo sent to inspectors at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The union, which represents inspectors, has recently alleged the memo directed inspection staff at XL Foods Inc. to perform certain tasks for meat destined for export to Japan, while ignoring food safety controls for domestic meat. This is categorically false.
The CFIA ensures that the same stringent food safety standards are applied to domestic and exported products. This was the case four years ago and it remains true today. Within meat plants, there are specific inspection tasks conducted at various stations and production points in production. The memo referenced simply emphasized this division of labour.
This information was clarified with the union and front line inspection staff over three weeks ago when the union first brought their allegations to the CFIA's attention. It was also explained in detail on two occasions to CTV.
What the union and CTV fail to mention is that every carcass processed in Canada must meet Canada's high food safety standards. This is required by law. There is zero tolerance for any form of contamination, and critical control points to detect problems are in place at multiple points throughout the inspection process. If at any time during inspection a potential risk to food safety is detected - regardless of the product’s destination - the line is stopped and product is held until the concern is resolved and product is in compliance.
Canada’s food safety system is recognized as world-class and is constantly verified by the audits of our trading partners.
The CFIA's first priority is safety. We are fully committed to providing Canadian consumers the protection they expect and deserve.