CANADA: Greater focus on HACCP recommended
Posted: November 30th, 2011 - 4:23pm
Source: The Pig Site
CANADA -- A food microbiology professor with the University of Manitoba suggests approaches such as a stepped-up focus on HACCP offer greater potential as a food safety mechanism than does the labelling of food products according to their country of origin, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Last week a World Trade Organization panel investigating complaints by Canada and Mexico over US Country of Origin Labeling ruled the labelling measure, which came into effect in 2008, discriminates against imported livestock and is inconsistent with American trade obligations.
Dr. Rick Holley, a food microbiologist with the University of Manitoba, observes although the data is limited, it shows no correlation between frequency of foodborne illness outbreaks and the country where that food originated.
Dr. Rick Holley-University of Manitoba
Where that information is available in Canada, and it's not as extensive as I would like it to be, we haven't been able to see from that data that there's a correlation between offshore food being more dangerous than domestically produced food, just that simple.
You can easily have a foodborne illness outbreak occur as a result of the consumption of contaminated domestically produced food as you can food that's imported from offshore.
The probabilities are pretty well the same.
If you take a look at recalls, the recall information that's available is segregated between imported and domestic products, you do see a higher frequency of recalls associated with imported products where the violations are more related to non-food safety issues, cosmetic issues in terms of packaging and labelling.
Dr Holley recommends a greater focus on HACCP or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point programs meant to prevent contamination by focusing on areas of the production and processing chain where contamination is most likely to occur and a recognition by governments that they need to change emphasis and ensure food safety programme operations are up to snuff.