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.

FVO (Food and Veterinary Office) – Audit reports – Belgium: microbiological criteria

Food and Veterinary Office – Audit reports
Belgium – Public Health – Microbiological Criteria (Reg. EC 2073/2005)
Country: Belgium – Audit number 2013 – 6861
Audit period Jan – Feb 2013 / Published 19/09/2013
Competent Authority response to the report recommendations: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fvo/act_getPDFannx.cfm?ANX_ID=7361
Competent Authority comments on the draft report: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fvo/act_getPDFannx.cfm?ANX_ID=7362
In the conclusions of the opening report the FVO found that the level of detail and the frequency are not adequate for certain commodities, that the controls have not covered all relevant aspects of the Reg. EC 2073/2005, the sanctions are not proportioned and the implementation of the controls was not fully effective in certain cases (meat preparations, fishery products and food of non-animal origin).
“The organisation of official controls at FBO level in relation to Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 in general and to food safety and process hygiene criteria in particular, varies widely between the different types of commodities in terms of level of detail and frequency which are not adequate for certain commodities. For most of the commodities under review, the procedures for official control at establishment level included very limited aspects concerning compliance with the different requirements of Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005. The official controls were not adequately documented to have covered all relevant aspects of this piece of legislation in most cases. The implementation of these controls was not fully effective in several cases assessed (in particular for meat preparations, fishery products and food of non-animal origin). Numerous shortcomings were not detected by the CA. A lack of CA action for long-standing deficiencies, in particular as regards sampling and testing methods and action in case of non-compliant test results (including for food safety criteria) was noted. Moreover, the sanctions given were not proportionate in the cases reviewed by the FVO audit team in the dairy sector. The official controls carried out by the private certification and inspection bodies carrying out validation of FBOs’ own control systems have not been effective in some of the establishments visited by the FVO audit team.”
After the inspection the FVO extended to the Competent Authority eight reccomendations, which you can find at the end of the report and in the above linked documents (Comments and response of the CA based on the report).