Summary of Cuts – Undermining Canada’s Food Safety

Dedicated border clearance and tracking of imported meat products

Currently, meat imported into Canada is cleared at the border separate from other commodities because this product carries an especially high risk to consumers.  This CFIA unit clears 50,000 meat import shipments every year.  It also carefully tracks key safety metrics such as compliance rates, nature of safety requirement violation and who the repeat offenders are.

There will be less inspection scrutiny of this high risk imported product and key intelligence that enables tracking of it will likely be lost when this program is cut because of the shortage of resources.

Consumer Protection Review

Widespread violation of consumer protection rules have recently been reported and industry has long pressured government to water down these provisions.  According to CFIA executives, industry pressure and lack of resources are driving this Agency-wide program review.

Consumer protection inspectors work to ensure the accuracy of company claims on product labels, and to verify the accuracy of:

  • product nutrition claims: this is critical safety information for anyone suffering from illnesses like diabetes, heart disease or life threatening allergies (already cancelled).
  • restaurant menu claims (already cancelled).
  • product net weight claims. Unless consumers go around with their own scale they might not be getting what they paid for.

Consumer protection retail inspections of local manufactured and imported food products have already been cancelled.

Pre-market approval of meat labels

Pre-market approval of meat labels was established for this high risk product to avoid the kind of fraudulent and other problematic claims found in other food products.  This program was a best practice where label details are approved and checked to make sure everything is accurate thereby allowing consumers to make safe decisions.  Cancellation of this program will convert this proactive practice to a reactive one in which inspectors try to clean up the mess once problems are found on the grocery shelves instead of before the product reaches consumers.