November 10, 2008

           

Deadly outbreak of listeria prompts Canada to tighten testing regulations

                    

 

Canada will impose more stringent regulations that will force food companies across the country to test their deli meats for listeria, according to Canada's food watchdog.

 

The decision was made after a deadly listeria outbreak this summer, which killed at least 20 people and prompted the country's largest food recall.

 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has drafted new testing requirements introducing 2 new tests that food plants have to undergo, said CFIA spokesperson Marc Richard.

 

If a test comes up positive for listeria monocytogenes, the company would then need a re-test, and if a second finding is positive as well, the company would be forced to test a random sample of the quarantined meat for listeria, which is usually found in unpasteurised dairy products, raw vegetables and meat.

 

If the quarantined meat tests positive, it would have to be destroyed.

 

The new rules would also require companies to report a trend of positive listeria findings to government inspectors.

 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has also pledged to increase the number of inspectors.