As we reported last month, Health Minister Jane Philpott is asking why senior CFIA management misled the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health as to the state of inspection in Northern Alberta processing plants.
Despite management’s claims to the contrary, disclosed internal CFIA documents showed the Agency had admitted in 2015 that the end of daily plant inspections had compromised acceptable standards.
Now, Bill Casey, the Liberal Member of Parliament who chairs the Health Committee, also wants some answers. Specifically, Casey wants the President of the CFIA to explain why Vice-President Paul Mayer testified to Committee members that there are inspectors present in every meat processing plant for every production shift.
Bob Kingston, Agriculture Union National President, subsequently wrote Casey to challenge Mayer’s testimony. The reductions in inspections were eventually reversed nearly two years after they were first put in place despite ongoing staffing shortages in the region.
In a November 24 letter to CFIA President Paul Glover, Casey said he wants the Agency to “provide a written response to the Committee explaining the discrepancy between Mr. Mayer’s testimony and the information provided to the Chair in Mr. Kingston’s letter” and “would also like to know when the Agency plans to undertake an audit of its resources to ensure it is able to comply with food safety requirements.”