Archived - Statement
Response to Concerns around Inspection Activities in Canada

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Earlier today, the Agriculture Union representing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) inspectorate voiced several concerns about the quality of meat inspection in Canada.

Through the work of the CFIA, the Agency is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians.

First and foremost, food safety is the top priority for CFIA and since 2008 the Agency's overall spending has increased significantly because of increased investments in food safety programs.

CFIA field inspection staff has grown by 19 per cent since 2007, though the number of Field Inspection Staff can fluctuate due to changes in demand for service, such as opening and closures of federally registered establishments. As a result, the Agency's complement of Field Inspection Staff may vary throughout the year by as much as five per cent or 150 to 200 field inspection staff.

The CFIA is a science-based agency that takes a modern, risk-based, outcome based approach to all its activities, operating with the first priority to be food safety. Inspection work focuses on areas of highest risk first, the areas of focus may change during the year based on emergencies and shifting priorities.

As these decisions are made, the effective delivery of the CFIA's food safety programs and the overall health and safety of our food system is always top of mind.

There may be some differences in the inspection procedures of each country, the meat inspection systems of both the U.S. and Canada are similar and both countries have earned reputations as world leaders in food safety. It is important to note that differences in inspection procedures are trade related but not food safety related. In fact, the Conference Board of Canada rates Canada's food safety system number one out of 17 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

The CFIA has increased its focus on prevention, preparedness and response to minimize risks to human, animal and ecosystem health. The Agency is undertaking a series of major initiatives focused on legislative, regulatory and inspection renewal and modernization. These initiatives will allow the Agency to deliver inspections more efficiently, achieve greater industry compliance with food safety requirements and better protect consumers.

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