OTTAWA, ONTARIO – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (C.F.I.A.) Food Safety Enhancement Program government/industry steering committee, which includes North American Meat Processor Association’s Canadian Government Affairs Representative Robert de Valk, met last Friday to discuss the progress of various C.F.I.A. food-safety initiatives.

Since the Listeria outbreak last year, the Canadian government has committed nearly $500 million to improving the delivery of food-safety programs by federal departments. Industry representatives learned C.F.I.A. will spend about $223.4 million of the total amount over a number of years in three key areas: prevention, oversight and rapid response.

C.F.I.A. is continually updating the H.A.C.C.P. program, which all federally inspected meat and poultry plants must adopt and follow. C.F.I.A. has laid out its food-safety approach in its Food Safety Enhancement Program (F.S.E.P.). A revised F.S.E.P. manual is now in draft form and represents improvements made as a result of application over the last four years, as well as the food-safety incidents that have taken place in Canada and other countries, as well.

The revision to the F.S.E.P. manual will be subject to industry consultations later this year although the management commitment component, which flows from the Listeria investigative report, may be acted upon sooner. An advisory letter on the management aspect has been sent to industry recently. Completed changes of the F.S.E.P. manual are expected to take effect by April 2011.

The committee learned F.S.E.P. changes in some areas will simplify food safety record-keeping and improve the overall focus of the program on critical aspects of food safety. Chapter 18 of the C.F.I.A.’s Manual of Procedures has been rewritten, particularly the prerequisite program requirements.

The committee learned C.F.I.A. has engaged outside consultants to assess the agency’s use of resources to deliver food-safety programs. The results of this audit will be known later this year.

For an update on Canada’s food-safety initiative, read C.F.I.A.’s Progress on Food Safety as of March 31, 2010, document at: