Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Meat Programs
1.1. Objectives of the CFIA Meat Programs

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The portfolio of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food of the Government of Canada includes the CFIA, which is under the direction of the President of the CFIA.

In April 1997, the Parliament of Canada passed the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act creating the CFIA. The CFIA is responsible for the administration and enforcement of laws as described in section 11 of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act, including the current Meat Programs requirements under the MIA and its Regulations.

The CFIA Meat Programs functions with the collaboration of a wide variety of stakeholders. Within this environment of shared responsibilities, the CFIA's top priority is to ensure consumer health and protection through the enforcement of national and international food safety and inspection standards.

At the national level, as part of its regulatory policy development and implementation, CFIA Meat Programs consults all necessary stakeholders such as: producers, processors, consumers, unions, exporters, importers, scientific community and other Federal, Provincial and Territorial authorities.

At the international level, the CFIA participates in the deliberations of major international organizations related to Meat Programs including the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The CFIA also works closely with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), notably in the monitoring of reportable diseases. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Canada sets standards according to the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement (SPS), which states: "Regulations must be based on science, should be applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health and, should not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between countries where identical or similar conditions prevail".

International arrangements

Subsection 14(2) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act says:

In exercising its responsibilities, the Agency may negotiate and enter into arrangements for the implementation of technical requirements for the international movement of products or other things regulated under an Act or provision that the Agency enforces or administers by virtue of section 11.

Contracts and agreements

Subsection 14(1) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act says:

The Agency may enter into contracts, memoranda of understanding and other agreements with a department or agency of the Government of Canada or the government of a province and with any other person or organization in the name of Her Majesty in right of Canada or in its own name.

The objectives of Meat Programs are to ensure that, under the MIA and Regulations:

  • registration, licensing and operator's control programs produce, pack and store, in an hygienic way, safe and suitable meat products, fairly labelled for the intent to use on Canadian and international markets (and, as necessary, initiate an effective recall of meat products from the market);
  • ante mortem and post mortem examination and inspection of animals and meat products allow sick or otherwise unfit animals and, adulterated or otherwise unsuitable meat products to be identified, removed, segregated and disposed appropriately;
  • standards and identification of edible and non-edible meat products are met;
  • food animals are handled, slaughtered or killed under humane conditions; and
  • meat products are imported under equivalent Canadian standards

Meat Programs activities are aligned with the CFIA Corporate Business Plan and the Report on Plans and Priorities.

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