February 27, 2024

Auditor General Critical of Canada’s Food Recall Procedures

Canada’s Auditor General is critical of that country’s food recall procedures. In the 2013 Fall Report, several areas that need improvement were listed. While the first three steps in the recall process, which includes identifying the issue, conducting an investigation, and making decisions worked well, follow-up activities were criticized. Chapter 4 of the report details the investigation of Canada’s Food Recall System.

RecallThe CFIA didn’t have documentation it must collect to make sure that firms properly dispose of recall products or take action to identify and correct the underlying cause of the recall issue. In addition, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s emergency procedures were not finalized or regularly tested. When the emergency response pan is activated, changes in governance are not well understood, leading to confusion.

The report looked at three high profile large-scale recalls in 2012 and found that “the CFIA did not adequately document the considerations, analysis, and rationale for important food safety decisions or communicate this information to key stakeholders.” Despite those problems, there were no additional illnesses associated with the recalls.

The report recommends that the CFIA should clarify the information is needs and should require industry to maintain this information in a complete, accessible, and immediately usable format. They should also review and update guidance for monitoring and documenting the correction or disposal of recalled products. Policies and procedures for following up on underlying causes of a recall should be clarified., and these corrective action requests should be monitored. The CFIA agreed with all of these recommendations and is implementing them.


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