Re. the Advocate’s March 16 editorial by Lee Giles concerning the revelation that Canadian meat destined for the U.S. is inspected more frequently than product staying in this country, even after 22 deaths were linked to Maple Leaf Foods meat products in 2008:
Food safety has been, and will continue to be, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) top priority.
The CFIA is making every effort to help protect the health and safety of Canadians.
Canada works closely with its U.S. and international counterparts to continually enhance food safety and protect consumers. There may be some differences in the inspection procedures in each country, but the meat inspection system of both countries are equivalent and both produce safe food.
In November 2009, the CFIA began changing inspection requirements to every 12 hours for all plants, whether they ship domestically or internationally.
The CFIA has received an additional investment of $13 million from the government of Canada to hire 100 new inspectors to handle this increased inspection as soon as possible.
This builds on the $75 million that the government of Canada has allocated to move forward on all 57 recommendations of the Weatherill report.
The CFIA has already hired, and is training, 35 meat inspectors. An additional 35 inspectors will be hired over the next two years.
The CFIA is working with our federal and provincial partners to continually improve our food inspection systems to address new challenges.