for March 25, 2011
A food safety scientist with the University of Manitoba is hopeful an additional 100 thousand dollar federal commitment to support the food inspection efforts of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will result in greater consistency among inspectors.
As part of its 2011 budget, the federal government has committed 100 thousand dollars to Canadian Food Inspection Agency over five years for inspector training, additional science capacity and the electronic tools necessary to support the work of front-line inspectors.
Dr. Rick Holley, a food safety and food microbiology professor with the University of Manitoba, says different standards are applied to food inspection at the federal, provincial and municipal levels and the manner in which different inspectors apply those standards are also inconsistent.
Clip-Dr. Rick Holley-University of Manitoba:
The interpretation of the seriousness of a deficiency is variable in the eyes of inspectors with different levels of training.
What happens is mixed messages then get sent to the plant about the need for a change and its importance and that leads to a loss of credibility on the part of the inspection staff in the eyes of the people at the plant and that's unfortunate.
It comes from I think the various levels of training thresholds that inspection staff have.
Some of them come with veterinary degrees ands usually these folks are well trained and fully understand elements of the safety system's operation that are more important than the others.
Then there are other inspection staff that have lower extents of training that also perform inspections but under direct or indirect supervision of the more senior people.
So it's the heterogeneity in the training and experience of the staff that lead to the inconsistent interpretation of a particular situation which is troublesome.
Dr. Holley says if all players within the food area live up to their responsibilities the end result is a greater probability that the products will be safe.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork Council