On September 28, 2012, Food & Water Watch filed a petition with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to revoke Canada’s food safety equivalency status. The non-profit charges that the USDA must do more to inspect Canadian meat imports, not less, as is proposed by “Beyond the Border”, a new plan between the Obama and Harper Administrations.
Regarding the huge and expanding recall of Canadian beef produced by XL Foods for E. coli 0157:H7, Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, “The XL debacle continuing to unfold this week shows why now, more than ever, our food safety trade relationship with Canada needs to be reviewed. Yet, the USDA is planning to further loosen the rules for Canadian imports.” According to the plan, starting yesterday the Beyond the Border pilot program will allow Canadian meat products to bypass USDA border inspection stations and enter directly into commerce in the U.S.
The USDA border inspection stations found the E. coli 0157:H7 contamination that alerted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the USDA that there was a problem with meat from the XL Foods plant.
Food & Water Watch originally filed the petition in 2008 after another massive recall in 2007 of 21.7 million pounds of contaminated ground beef products imported from Canada. According to Ms. Hauter, the USDA said they could not find that petition, so it was re-delivered. Ms. Hauter added, “it is time for the U.S. to review whether Canada’s meat safety system is really ‘equivalent’ to the United States’ inspection program.”