The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced yesterday that it has cancelled the Safe Food for Canadians licences of three Ontario meat packers tied to a massive recall of beef and veal products earlier this year, after carrying out what it describes as “a thorough and comprehensive review.”
Effective immediately, Toronto-based Ryding-Regency Meat Packers Ltd., along with Canadian Select Meats Inc. and The Beef Boutique Ltd. (both operating under St. Ann’s Foods Inc.) can no longer slaughter food animals or prepare meat products for export, or to be sent between provinces or territories.
The decision was finalized after the CFIA determined, during a routine food safety investigation, that the license holders in question had provided “false or misleading information” with regards to E. coli lab results.
The agency launched a food safety investigation into the three companies in September 2019, when it was initially discovered that hundreds of beef and veal products were potentially contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The licences for the establishments were all suspended prior to the cancellations, to ensure public safety.
The Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) is the biggest change in food regulation in over 25 years. It applies to all food, consolidates fourteen different food regulations into one, strengthens food safety requirements, including requiring traceability of food by all supply chain partners, and governs domestically produced, imported and exported food.
The SFCR came into effect on January 15, 2019 including new provisions requiring businesses to have a written and implemented food safety preventive control plan, along with processes in place for tracking and tracing food one-back and one-forward.
The case at hand underscores the importance for food industry companies to mitigate their risk for non-compliance by consistently meeting the more stringent new SFCR requirements and proactively taking any corrective actions needed to address potential deficiencies related to food safety practices and operational sanitation.
Need More Information?
The CFIA has created a number of online resources and tools to help companies better understand their obligations under Canada’s comprehensive new food safety regime:
- Getting Started: Toolkit for Food Businesses
- Licensing Interactive Tool
- Preventive Control Plan Interactive Tool
- Traceability Interactive Tool
Should you have any questions about complying with the SFCR requirements, don’t hesitate to contact us – our trade experts are here to help.