Canada's Meat Industry Amongst World's Safest

    OTTAWA, Aug. 25 /CNW/ - Canadian consumers should be assured that
Canada's meat supply is recognized amongst the safest in the world.
    Our collective processing industry has worked in collaboration with the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to put in place scientifically robust,
innovative and world recognized food safety and quality systems to the benefit
of our valued customers and consumers at home and abroad.
    Most importantly, as federal establishments, we are governed intensely by
Canada's Meat Inspection Act and Regulations and the highly prescriptive and
comprehensive CFIA Manual of Procedures. We are also inspected regularly, and
randomly audited by highly professional and trained Veterinarians and Meat
Inspectors. All of which is undertaken to ensure Canadian meat products remain
among the highest in quality and safety in the world.
    Canada's meat processors all adhere to current good manufacturing
practices (GMPs), sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs), and HACCP
process controls. We are all subject to the CFIA's Compliance Verification
System and work is continually taking place to control, detect and eliminate
the incidence of all the food spoilage organisms and food pathogens including
Listeria monocytogenes, E coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter and Salmonella and to
continuously improve the food safety and wholesomeness of the Canadian meat
    To date, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in laboratory
testing, plant sanitation, equipment, conveyances, packaging, leading edge
technology, research and development. To support these commitments, meat
processing facilities employ highly qualified and professional food science
and microbiology experts to manage their food safety programs and many firms
have PhDs and veterinarians on staff.
    Overall, Canada operates an internationally recognized science-based risk
analysis food safety system in our meat industry. Meat processors, governments
and consumers all play an important role in constantly improving and
maintaining the quality and safety of our food supply.
    Despite the tremendous protective layers of safeguards and improvements
in processing technologies, post-processing contamination - even in the
consumer's home - remains a potential risk. The potential for contamination by
various bacteria dictates that proper food handling procedures and sanitation
are essential at any step of the food chain for protecting at-risk consumers
from this pathogen.
    How can consumers reduce their risk?
    Keep foods out of the temperature danger zone (between 4 degrees C and 60
degrees C or 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F). Keep the refrigerator at 4
degrees C (40 degrees F) or colder. Refrigerate food promptly. Thoroughly cook
or boil foods such as hot dogs and poultry products until they are steaming
hot. Use a meat thermometer and cook raw hamburger to at least 71 C.
    Wash hands before, during and after handling any type of food, especially
raw meat and poultry.
    Clean all utensils, cutting boards and work surfaces with a mild bleach
solution (5 ml/1 tsp. bleach per 750 ml/3 cups water) before and after using.
Separate utensils for raw and cooked foods.
    Follow "best before" dates especially on packaged goods with a long shelf
life and use immediately after opening.
    The Canadian meat industry is the largest of our food processing sector
with some 67,000 employees and gross annual sales of pork, beef, veal, lamb
and poultry of over $ 20.5 billion. Last year Canada exported over
$1.3 billion of beef and over $2.4 billion of pork to over 150 different
countries around the world.
    The Canadian Meat Council and its members are dedicated to consumer
safety and will continue to work directly with CFIA, related health agencies
and the Government of Canada to remain vigilant and proactive to provide
Canadians and our valued international markets the highest level of food
safety and quality each and every day.

For further information:

For further information: Jim Laws, Executive Director, (613) 729-3911,
ext 24

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