FVO report – Canada: meat and meat products for export in EU

The report describes the outcome of an audit carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) in Canada from 2 to 15 May 2014.

The objective of the audit was to evaluate the capacity of the Canadian competent authorities (CA), the Canadian Food Safety Authority (CFIA) to implement and to enforce the sanitary measures and the control systems put in place to fulfil the requirements for fresh meat, meat products, minced meat and meat preparations and casings for human consumption intended for export to the European Union (EU) under the auspices of the “Agreement between the European Community and Canada on sanitary measures to protect public health and animal health in respect of trade in live animals and animal products.” The initial scope of the audit was extended to cover also the official controls in relation to veterinary medicinal products (VMP) and residues in live horses and horse meat.

The FVO audit team visited five slaughterhouses with integrated cutting plants (two of these visited by both sub-teams on different days for horses or bovines/bison) and one casing establishment. The FVO audit team also visited one border crossing (horses imported from the USA), three feed lots (horse, bovine and bison), one wholesaler and one retailer of VMPs as well as one CFIA area office.

No major problems were identified in relation to general and specific hygiene requirements in any of the slaughter establishments visited. However, the casing establishment which was not exporting to the EU at the time of the FVO audit did not fulfil the requirements for EU listing. The CFIA does not ensure that the lists of establishments approved for export to the EU are kept up to date and communicated to the Commission as required. After the FVO audit was announced several requests for de-listing of establishments were made by the CA.

The FVO audit also identified shortcomings in relation to official controls over the traceability of bovine animals and bison destined for export to the EU.

No shortcomings were identified in relation to the implementation of the CFIA Ractopamine-Free Pork Certification Programme. The Growth Enhancement Products (GEP) free programme for bovines and bison is well documented but deficiencies in the design and the implementation of the programme question its robustness.

There are serious concerns in relation to the reliability of the controls over both imported and domestic horses destined for export to the EU. It cannot be guaranteed that horses have not been treated with illegal substances within the last 180 days before slaughter.

The residue monitoring in horse meat has been largely implemented as foreseen and in line with Codex Alimentarius requirements but the effectiveness of follow-up of non-compliant results has been variable. Whilst the CFIA puts the responsibility for follow-up of non-compliances largely on the shoulders of the slaughterhouses, the CFIA does not always fulfil its obligations for verifying and ensuring the effectiveness of the follow-up investigations and corrective actions. The CFIA is in this regard hampered by a lack of direct powers over primary producers and transient agents (dealers).

Here you can find the response from the Competent Authority to the report recommendations.

COOLing on mandatory origin labelling – Part 2 – Report published also on milk and other kinds of meat

In this report is considered milk and milk as ingredients in dairy products. The types of meat concerned are fresh and frozen meat from horses, rabbits, reindeer and deer, from farmed and wild game, as well from birds other than chicken, turkey, ducks, geese and guinea fowls.

Also in this case, the most recommended option is voluntary labelling.

Here’s the conclusions of the report:

“Currently for the foods under the remit of this report consumers may, if they so wish, opt for milk or meat products where origin information is voluntarily provided for by food business operators. This can be a suitable option without imposing additional burden on the industry and the authorities. Mandatory origin labelling would entail higher regulatory burden for most of the products assessed in the report and therefore, the question at stake is to assess whether the balance between costs and benefits is such that it would justify its mandatory indication.

Additional findings that emerge from this report are that:

– In spite of a consumers’ interest for the origin of milk, milk used as an ingredient in dairy products and for meats under the remit of this report, consumers’ overall willingness to pay for this information appears to be modest.

– When mandatory origin labelling scenarios are considered, consumers seem to express preference for this indication to be made at Member State’s level.

– Although the cost of labelling the origin of milk could be generally modest, its impact among operators will be uneven with some of them having to introduce additional traceability systems with substantial increases of costs, particularly those located in border regions or in areas non-self-sufficient in milk.

– The study shows that the mandatory origin labelling of milk used as an ingredient in dairy products can result in adverse economic impacts, further 14 traceability requirements and would be burdensome for highly processed products.

– There will be additional operational costs to impose mandatory origin labelling for the meats under the remit of this report.”

As often in these cases we face the so called “consumer’s paradox”: they want more and more information, but they are not ready to pay more for having them…

(Source: DG Agri website)