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Canada Revises E. coli Policy

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) revised its policy to control E. coli in raw beef products in an effort to provide clear guidance to industry and inspection staff regarding required control measures to address the risk posed by this pathogen. The update revises the provision on mandatory testing for precursor materials (PM) used to manufacture finished raw ground beef products to be sold at retail. CFIA will only permit exemption from mandatory testing to operators that have requested and provided an acceptable alternative control program that ensures untested PM will not be used for finished raw ground beef products at any level of distribution. The operators alternative control program must be documented in their HACCP system and must include procedures to verify the end use. CFIA advised meat processors to replace Annex O of the Manual of Procedures, Chapter 4, with this revised version. Plants have 30 days from April 27, 2015, to reassess and realign their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system to incorporate the requisite process controls.

The revision also updates Section 6.1, which notes that when shipping untested raw beef products to another establishment for cooking, both establishments must identify the presence of E. coli O157:H7 and have control programs in place for labelling untested product, segregation, inventory and traceability. The revision includes an update to the confirmation methodology requirements outlined in Appendix 2c.

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