The Canadian federal system designed to keep food safe to eat failed in December to prevent ground beef contaminated with E. coli from being offered for sale to consumers, according to a report by CBC News journalist James Cudmore.
The recall of 31, 000 pounds of ground beef by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) was not the result of an inspection by the agency, but as a result of a test of a random sample by a federally-co-ordinated public health surveillance program, FoodNet Canada.
And the CBC journalist also pointed out the recall was made three or four days after the “use by” dates of the packaged meat had passed.
The agency says its investigation is ongoing. “We are taking all necessary steps in order to protect Canadians from the risks posed by E. coli,” in a statement quoted by CBC,
Cargill Meat Solutions, which shipped the meat to Walmart stores across Canada’s four Western provinces, in a statement said it maintained a “robust food safety program”…”We are currently reviewing our processing and testing procedures as part of our investigation to determine if any changes are appropriate.”
The Official Opposition NDP agriculture critic Malcolm Allen criticized the inspection system: “That’s not a safety inspection system, that’s actually just a failure,” he said. “If by the time they actually make a recall, it’s days after the best before date, there’s nothing on the shelf to recall.”