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.

China – FVO report on microbiological contamination in seeds for human consumption

The audit was carried out from 14th to 18th October 2013 to evaluate the official controls related to production and processing of seeds for sprouting intended for export to the European Union, becaus of the recent oubreaks of Shigatoxin producing E. coli (STEC) in EU and the large Chinese production.

The main Regulations applicable in EU for these products are:

– Reg. CE n. 178/2002 “General Food Law”;

– Reg. CE n. 852/2004 on hygiene requirements for food of non-animal origin;

– Reg. EU 211/2013 on the approval of establishments producing sprouts and the certification for imports into the EU of seeds for the production of sprout.

The objectives of the audit were only partially met, as the audit team was unable to visit primary producers of seeds for sprouting.

The Chinese Competent Authorities (CAs) have started to implement some of the requirements of the EU legislation on sprouts and seeds for sprouting, however there was no evidence provided regarding the hygienic conditions of seed production at farm level and there are no official controls for primary production of seeds for sprouting. The processing facilities visited by the audit team followed Good Hygiene Practices except in regard to the storage facilities. The effectiveness of the official control system is undermined by limited official sampling for microbiological contamination and the lack of representativeness of the official samples. The laboratories visited were accredited and suitable for the purpose of official microbiological analysis with the exception of Shigatoxin producing E. coli (STEC).

The system of official food safety controls currently in place cannot assure that the seeds for sprouting were produced under conditions which comply with the general hygiene provisions for primary production and associated operations set out in Part A of Annex I to Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 as required by Article 3 of Regulation (EU) 211/2013. This applies also for the 2013
harvest.

The Chinese CAs acknowledged the fact that official food safety controls on farms do not take place and proposed a future follow-up audit by the FVO to observe implementation of the general food hygiene requirements at farm level.