Calls for a public inquiry, greater autonomy for Canada’s pubic health inspectorate and a proposal to boost the number of inspectors through greater funding, were just some of the recommendations made by the Agricultural Sub-Committee late last week.
The company has called for the implementation of national standards for food inspection and declared the “patchwork of existing regulatory regimes cannot continue”. Maple Leaf also supported the committee’s suggestions for a comprehensive review of Canadian Food Inspection Agency resources, recognizing the need for sufficient number of inspectors to police and enforce the tougher safety regime.
Changes that result in faster identification of proven safety risks, either through greater cooperation between the government and other agencies or through accelerated testing and expansion of laboratory capacity were also key measures that need to be implemented, said a Maple Leaf statement.
Company president and CEO Michael McCain said: “The Committee has produced a comprehensive report that has important implications for advancing the strength of the Canadian food system.”
The report provided a clear direction for more improvements and Maple Leaf would take part fully in this process, McCain promised.
He added: "As a result of our responsibility for the listeria tragedy we had to improve, we did, and we will continuously. Maple Leaf will continue to take an advocacy role in the pursuit of improved practices across the industry, freely sharing our lessons learned and new approaches to food safety that contribute to a world class system for Canadians."