Canada Overhauls Food Inspections

September 12/Ottawa/UPI -- Canada has earmarked $75 million to prevent a recurrence of a listeriosis outbreak that killed 22 and sickened hundreds more, authorities said.

"One year ago, we were reminded that the job of keeping Canadians safe is never done. There are always new opportunities to strengthen our food safety system," Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said.

The government will implement all 57 recommendations made by independent investigator Sheila Weatherill, The Toronto Star reported.

Weatherill's report recommended a third-party audit of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's resources after the agency was unable to say how many meat inspectors it employed, the Star reported.

Seventy of 166 new food inspectors will focus on ready-to-eat meats, such as the ones produced at Maple Leaf Foods in Toronto where the listeriosis outbreak began last summer, the Starreported.

The new actions are a start, but far more must be done to determine how food-borne illness occurs, University of Manitoba food microbiologist Rick Holley said.  

From the September 14, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition