The U.S. Agriculture Department has signaled significant food safety and sanitation concerns after auditing some of Canada’s meat, poultry and egg inspection systems, reports the Globe and Mail newspaper. The U.S. is Canada largest trading partner. In 2013, Canada exported agricultural products worth $21.8 billion USD to the U.S.
U.S. requires quick solutions
U.S. authorities have given the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) until mid-March to fix the problem, reports the Globe. If it fails to do so they could delist the particular Canadian plants they inspected. That would prevent them from exporting their goods to the U.S.
Canadian food inspection suffered cuts
There was controversy in Canada after the previous Canadian government cut the food inspection program. One year ago, the union representing inspectors said meat sold to Canadians was not as well inspected as that sold to the U.S.
That complaint came less than a week after the CFIA announced a recall of chicken products in western Canada and Ontario over fears of listeria contamination, as reported by CBC. The union told the public broadcaster that the CFIA had cut sanitation inspections by 50 per cent and pre-operation inspections by 30 per cent in plants producing for both domestic and international markets.
Food inspection improvement promised
During the October 2015 election campaign, the Liberal Party promised to increase food inspections. It was elected and, now that it forms the government, it remains to be seen whether it will keep that promise.