“Nothing about the CFIA would surprise me”, said Karen Selick, in a comment on a recent post on The Bovine. Well, here’s another case in point. Why should different, and higher, standards apply for meats being exported to Japan, than for meats sold to Canadians? Do Canadians not matter? Are Japanese export customers more important than Canadians? Is that what the CFIA was thinking? For those who might have wondered, when they read the story in the media a few months ago about the massive recall of meat from XL Foods in Brooks, Alberta, how such a thing could happen in a plant where 40 some CFIA inspectors are on the job, the memo described in the story below may be the answer. However, the report on this scandalous memo is not exactly as “out there” as the original recall story. Merely a few column inches on page 3 of today’s paper.
“Federal beef inspectors were told to ignore contamination on carcasses being processed for sale to Canadians at the XL Foods plant.
A memo from a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) meat hygiene supervisor obtained by CTV News instructed CFIA inspectors to closely examine carcasses being processed for shipment to Japan, but to ignore visible contamination on meat for Canadians.
“Our number 1 priority is to ensure this standard is met with Japan eligible carcasses,” said the memo.
“Ensure that non-Japan-eligible carcasses are not inspected for spinal cord/dura mater, OCD (other carcass defects) and minor ingesta,” the note said. “Ignore them.”
The president of the union representing workers at the Brooks, Alta., plant told the Star he was disturbed when he read the memo.
“I was shocked that the CFIA would give that kind of direction. No product should go out of the plant that’s unsafe,” said Doug O’Halloran, president of United Food & Commercial Workers, Local 401.
“I just don’t understand the logic that it’s OK for products that are not good enough for Japan to be processed and sold in Canada.”
He said that sort of contamination includes fecal matter and intestinal content, but the most dangerous was the spinal cord matter, which can affect the human brain….”