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CFIA To Go Public With Companies’ Safety Violations

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is going online with the outcomes of its enforcement work on food safety.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on March 16 announced the CFIA will issue reports on such activities, including information such as:

Food imports that have been refused entry into Canada;

Federally registered food establishments whose licences have been suspended, cancelled or reinstated; and

Notices of violations with warning and penalties, including identifying repeat offenders of animal transport regulations.

Currently, the CFIA said, it will post information on all notices of violations with warning and penalties and identify the company name of repeat offenders of animal transport regulations.

“There is a demonstrated public need for this type of disclosure,” the agency said on its website. “This movement towards greater transparency is shared by other federal regulators in Canada and the U.S.

“Making this information public is a fair, balanced and measured approach to protecting the safety of Canada’s food supply and the resources upon which it depends. And, ultimately, it promotes public confidence in the federal government’s enforcement actions,” CFIA said.

“However, this is only the first phase,” the agency added. “The CFIA intends to eventually publish the names of all company violators, in a phased approach.”

Among the most recent such examples on the CFIA’s website are:

A shipment of milk powder from the United Arab Emirates, prohibited entry on Dec. 31, 2010, citing CFIA’s animal health regulatory requirements;

Twenty notices of violation of animal transport regulations, carrying $52,000 in total penalties, by Nadeau Poultry Farm, topping a list of “repeat violators” between April and December 2010; and

The cancellation of the CFIA licence of goose processor Northern Goose in October 2010, citing “failure to adhere” to the federal Meat Inspection Regulations.

The relevant section of CFIA’s site will also include the agency’s previously available listings of prosecution bulletins, published whenever “a conviction is obtained.”

“This will give our inspectors another tool in the tool box to shine the light of transparency on repeat offenders and companies that try and import unsafe food,” Ritz said in a release.

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