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Agency Hits Back at TV Meat Inspection Attack

30 November 2012

CANADA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has hit back at allegations made on Canadian Television that meat inspectors were ordered to pass contaminated beef carcases at XL Foods' Brooks plant as fit.

CTV this week reported on a memo, which the CFIA says was sent four years ago to inspectors at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The CFIA said that the union, which represents inspectors, alleged the memo directed inspection staff at XL Foods Inc. to perform certain tasks for meat destined for export to Japan, while ignoring food safety controls for domestic meat.

"This is categorically false," the CFIA said in an official statement.

"The CFIA ensures that the same stringent food safety standards are applied to domestic and exported products. This was the case four years ago and it remains true today," the statement added.

"Within meat plants, there are specific inspection tasks conducted at various stations and production points in production. The memo referenced simply emphasised this division of labour.

"This information was clarified with the union and front line inspection staff over three weeks ago when the union first brought their allegations to the CFIA's attention. It was also explained in detail on two occasions to CTV.

"What the union and CTV fail to mention is that every carcase processed in Canada must meet Canada's high food safety standards. This is required by law," the statement added.

"There is zero tolerance for any form of contamination, and critical control points to detect problems are in place at multiple points throughout the inspection process. If at any time during inspection a potential risk to food safety is detected - regardless of the product’s destination - the line is stopped and product is held until the concern is resolved and product is in compliance."

The CFIA said that Canada’s food safety system is recognised as world-class and is constantly verified by the audits of our trading partners.

"The CFIA's first priority is safety. We are fully committed to providing Canadian consumers the protection they expect and deserve," the CFIA said.

TheMeatSite News Desk

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