Canadian meat, poultry placed under more scrutiny

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON ― Beginning this week, additional import requirements for meat and poultry products from Canada are being instituted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (F.S.I.S), announced Dr. Richard Raymond, the U.S.D.A. undersecretary for food safety, on Nov. 3. The action is being taken as the result of Canada’s Ranchers Beef Ltd. being recently identified as a likely source of the massive Topps Meat Co. E. coli O157:H7 ground beef recall, which ultimately put that processor out of business.

"Effective [this] week, F.S.I.S. will increase testing for Salmonella, Listeria Monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7 and will require that shipments be held until testing is complete and products are confirmed negative for these pathogens," Mr. Raymond said. "In addition, Canadian meat and poultry products will receive increased levels of re-inspection by F.S.I.S. to confirm they are eligible to enter commerce when presented at the U.S. border."

The F.S.I.S. will also immediately begin an audit of the Canadian food-safety system that will focus on Ranchers Beef Ltd. and include similar facilities that export beef to the U.S., according to Mr. Raymond.

"The audit and stepped up actions at the border are being conducted because of concerns about testing practices at Ranchers Beef Ltd. that were discovered as part of the ongoing investigation," Mr. Raymond said. "F.S.I.S. will review the preliminary findings of this audit to determine whether there is need to continue these additional interim requirements."

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