Statements by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Statement from Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on the Resumption of Operations at XL Foods Inc.

October 23, 2012, Ottawa, – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed to the Minister today that following an extensive investigation, oversight of cutting and de-boning procedures and testing, it is satisfied with the actions taken at XL Foods Inc. to produce safe food and as such has reinstated the operating licence. Effective today, the facility will be permitted to gradually resume slaughter and processing operations under enhanced surveillance and increased testing protocols. Minister Ritz made the following statement in response:

"Canadian consumers are our first priority when it comes to food safety.

Our Government will continue to provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with the resources it needs to help safeguard the health and safety of Canadians and their families.

The Safe Food for Canadians Act is just one more way we are helping keep Canadian families safe. I encourage all Members of Parliament to give this important Act their full attention and pass it expeditiously.

After all, Canadian consumers and their families have always been, and will continue to be, the Government of Canada's first priority when it comes to food safety."

Statement by Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz on the announcement by XL Foods Inc.

October 13, 2012, Ottawa - "My thoughts are with the workers and the community affected by this private sector business decision.

Consumer confidence is critical for Canada's beef industry, and that's why we won't compromise when it comes to the safety of Canadians' food.

I understand that the company has announced a measure on a temporary basis.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's food safety inspectors are working diligently to ensure that all safety issues at the Brooks plant are corrected.

Today's news does not change our government's commitment to ensuring safe food for Canadian consumers."

Government of Canada priority continues to be consumer health and safety

Plant will not reopen until Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirms safety

October 4, 2012, Ottawa – "Today, a headline in the Globe and Mail states, "Alberta Beef Plant Resumes Partial Operations". Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz had the following to say in response to this false report.

This is false - the XL Foods Inc. plant will not be allowed to reopen until the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed that it is safe.

Canadian consumers and their families have always been and will continue to be the Government of Canada's first priority when it comes to food safety.

Our record is clear:

  • Since 2006, our Government has provided significant funding including over $50 million in Budget 2012 building on the investment of $100 million in Budget 2011 to improve our food safety system.
  • Our Government has provided the resources to hire an additional 700 net new inspectors, which includes 170 net new meat inspectors.
  • Our Government introduced the Safe Food for Canadians Act last spring that will help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency keep Canadian food safe.

I remain in constant contact with the leadership of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities.

I also went to XL Foods Inc. yesterday to personally ensure that everyone - from the executive in Ottawa to the in-depth review team in the facility - understand that the health and safety of Canadians is our first priority.

The facility will not be allowed to reopen until the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed, in writing to me, that it is safe.

Canadians can be assured that they are and will continue to be our first priority."

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz

Statement by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on the XL Foods Inc., Establishment 38 Recall

October 3, 2012 – Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Canadian Food Inspection Agency President George Da Pont met with CFIA Inspectors at Establishment 38 today to verify the work being done and to ensure consumer health and safety is everyone’s highest priority. Minister Ritz gave the following statement following his meeting.

"Canadian consumers and their families have always been and will continue to be the Government of Canada's first priority when it comes to food safety.

Our Government and all Canadians expect a strong food safety system. That's why our Government is doing its part.

Our Government continues to provide the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with the resources it needs to help safeguard the health and safety of Canadians and their families.

Since 2006, our Government has provided significant funding to improve our food safety system.

Our Government has provided the resources to hire more than seven hundred additional inspectors, which includes one hundred and seventy meat inspectors.

This Government immediately accepted all fifty seven recommendations of the Weatherill Report and it's why we have acted on all of them.

That's why we will continue to make sure that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has the resources it needs to do its important job of protecting Canadians and their families.

It's why our Government introduced the Safe Food for Canadians Act last spring.

It's why I remain in constant contact with the leadership of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities.

And it's why I went to the XL Foods Inc. plant this morning.

I want to personally ensure that everyone - from the executive in Ottawa to the in-depth review team in Brooks - understand that the health and safety of Canadians is our first priority.

I saw first hand that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has a full contingent of inspectors and staff - sampling, testing and examining all product and procedures in the plant.

In fact, the CFIA has deployed additional resources to the plant to ensure Canadian consumers and their families are protected.

While we understand that ranchers, farmers and industry need a strong processing sector, we all agree that the success of the industry must be founded on food safety.

That is why the XL Foods plant will only resume operation when the President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has confirmed in writing to me that the health of Canadians is not at risk.

We will continue to improve the food inspection system through the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

I hope that those in the House of Commons will pass the Safe Foods for Canadians Act expeditiously so that the food safety system is stronger.

Canadians can be assured that the Canadian Government will continue to be the chief defender of consumer health.

I want to assure Canadians that as Minister, I continue to be in constant contact with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to make sure they are doing everything in their power to protect Canadian consumers and their families.

Canadian consumers are and will continue to be our first priority.

Thank you."