Associations representing Canadian meat packers
and processors want the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to stick to
HACCP principles indrafting new Listeria
CFIA and Health Canada began a review of
Listeria inspection regulations last fall after bacteria contaminated deli
meats from Maple Leaf Products killed 20 and sickened more than 50 others.
Recently CFIAcirculated draft changes to the meat
industry for feedback with the goal of establishing a final policy by
The industry has set up a working group on Listeria monocytogenes to assist in development of the new
regulations, Jim Laws, executive director of the Canadian Meat Council,
which represents slaughter plants and primary processors,
tells Food Chemical News. It is also developing guidance on "best
practices for Listeria control in meat-processing
The industry thinks CFIA's
emphasis should be on requiring companies to conduct regular environmental
testing in processing plants to make sure Listeria is under control,
he says. "Eliminating or reducingListeria to
undetectable levels in the processing environment is thesurest way to prevent contamination of ready to eat
CFIA did not respond to Food Chemical News' request for
a copy of its draft proposal, but one meat industry official who has seen
the document is not a fan. CFIA's changes are
"heavy handed," says Robert DeValk,
Canadian representative for the North American Meat Processors
Association. Instead of relying on HACCP's focus
of checking all potential points of contamination in processing
facilities, CFIA proposes to ramp up final product testing, he observes.
At the Pork Seminar, in Banff, Alberta,
last month, Suzanne Duguette, CFIA's
national meat processing specialist, confirmed that the new
regulations will include plant environment and final product testing as
well as mandatory reporting of any positive results to the agency.
The HACCP approach is to concentrate on checking processing
operations "all the way to the final product," DeValk says. "You have to bereally
rigorous in testing work surfaces."
HACCP calls for some final product testing to verify
that the Listeria prevention measures are working but it shouldn't be the
main wayof monitoring plants, he says.