Final Report of an Audit Conducted In Four European Union Member States February 3rd Through February 21st, 2014
Evaluating The Food Safety Systems Governing The Production of  Beef And Beef Products For Export To Canada

2. Audit Objective, Scope and Methodology

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The objective of the audit was to verify that food safety system of the respective MSs governing beef meat products were functioning in the manner determined as equivalent to that of the Canada and were producing beef products which are safe, unadulterated, and properly labeled. The audit focused on public health (e.g. HACCP Systems, SRM controls, Microbiological controls) and animal welfare in beef plants performing slaughter/cutting & boning/grinding activities.

This was an in-depth assessment of the equivalence of previously approved EU beef meat inspection systems with special emphasis on:

  1. Inspection and certification of meat and meat products.
  2. Inspection controls in beef slaughter, cutting and boning establishments, including the following specific elements:
    1. Abattoir programs related to the suitability of animals presented for slaughter (residue and disease status), humane handling, and the control of evisceration and dressing processes.
    2. Ante mortem and post mortem inspection and microbial control program in beef slaughter plants.
    3. HACCP plans and prerequisite programs.
    4. Testing and control of E. coli O157 in raw beef manufacturing facilities.
    5. Control of BSE/SRM in raw beef manufacturing facilities.

In each country, the CFIA auditors were accompanied by the representatives from the FVO, the CCA and the regional and local inspection offices. Program effectiveness determinations focused on government controls and oversight within six key areas:

  1. Competent authority and official controls;
  2. Slaughter/processing controls, including animal welfare controls;
  3. HACCP systems, including the development, implementation and maintenance of HACCP plans, pre-requisite programs and sanitation controls;
  4. BSE/SRM controls;
  5. Microbiological controls, including the testing program for E. coli O157:H7; and
  6. Chemical residues controls.

Administrative functions were reviewed at each CCA headquarters and ten (10) local inspection offices in registered establishments, during which the auditors evaluated the implementation of those specific management control systems which ensure that each of the national system of inspection, verification, and enforcement were being implemented as intended.

The CFIA selected the establishments to be audited in the four MSs mainly based on logistics and their willingness to export beef meat products to Canada. Three beef slaughter establishments each were selected from Ireland and France, two MSs classified by the OIE as controlled risk status for BSE. Two beef slaughter establishments each were selected from Italy and Sweden, two MSs classified by the OIE as negligible risk status for BSE.

During the establishment visits, for each MS, particular attention was paid to the extent to which industry and the government interact to control hazards and prevent non-compliances that threaten food safety, with an emphasis on the CA's ability to provide oversight through supervisory reviews.

Table 1: Audit Scope Summary
Competent Authority/Establishment Visits Number of Sites Visited Locations
Competent Authority of the EU: DG SANTÉ 1 Belgium, Brussels
Competent Authority of Ireland: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) 1 Dublin
Competent Authority of Sweden: National Food Authority (NFA) 1 Uppsala
Competent Authority of France: Direction Générale de l'Alimentation (DGAL) 1 Paris
Competent Authority of Italy: Department of Veterinary Public Health, Food Safety and Collegial Bodies for Health Protection (DVPHFSCBHP) 1 Rome
Slaughterhouses and cutting/boning facilities in Ireland 3 Various locations
Slaughterhouses and cutting/boning facilities in Sweden 2 Various locations
Slaughterhouses and cutting/boning facilities Including a veal plant in France. 3 Various locations
Slaughterhouses and cutting/boning facilities in Italy 2 Various locations
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