Agency plans to act on samples found to be noncompliant.
OTTAWA, Ontario – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is planning a second round of tests of retail sausage products after a government-funded study found 20 percent of tested products were mislabeled.

The study, which was published in the journal Food Control, revealed that 6 percent of beef sausage also contained pork; 20 percent of chicken sausage contained turkey while 5 percent contained beef; and 5 percent of pork sausages also contained beef. “Five samples labeled as turkey sausage contained no turkey and one pork sample was found to contain horse meat,” the study said.

CFIA said in a statement to MEAT+POULTRY that the study provides “…intelligence regarding expected levels of contamination in these types of products.”

“As a regulator, the CFIA plays an important role in protecting the safety of Canada’s food supply and is committed to greater transparency to further strengthen trust in our regulatory decisions,” the agency replied.

“The results of this study found that 80 percent of products tested were accurately labelled and contained only the meat species identified. Of the samples considered non-compliant, only a small percentage had levels of substitution that would be considered deliberate (or above 5 percent).”

Researchers with the Univ. of Guelph used DNA barcoding and PCR technology to detect and quantify meat species in a sample of 100 raw meat sausage samples that were labeled as containing beef, pork, chicken or turkey. Researchers also tested all the samples for horse meat. Sausage products with more than 1 percent of a contaminant species were considered contaminated.

“In the case of this study, the purpose of sampling and testing was to gauge the state of compliance in this sector so as to inform future inspection activities,” CFIA said. “Follow-up activities were conducted for samples that predominately contained another meat species, which were determined to be related to one single establishment. Further, the CFIA and BIO are conducting a second round of testing and sausages from this establishment are included in this round of testing.

“The CFIA will take appropriate actions on any samples identified as non-compliant in this round,” the agency added.