Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Blood on the Floor:' New Brunswick Auditor Warns of Unsafe Food Practices

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Blood on the Floor:' New Brunswick Auditor Warns of Unsafe Food Practices

Article excerpt

N.B. auditor warns of unsafe food practices

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FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's auditor general conjured up the gory scene of hanging meat carcasses dripping blood next to ready-to-eat bologna and pepperoni, as she called for stronger measures to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

Kim MacPherson said unsafe food practices are a factor in food poisoning of an estimated four million Canadians each year, and cited the 2014 death of an 87-year-old woman who ate turkey at a community dinner in Nackawic, N.B.

She showed pictures to illustrate violations uncovered by her auditors as she released her annual report Tuesday.

In one case, auditors examined an abattoir that had no processing licence, where hanging carcasses were stored near spaghetti sauces as well as the ready-to-eat meat, she said.

In other cases, she said six of the nine inspectors they observed did not record all violations.

"The bloody and damaged packaging on the shelf, the blood on the floor, a risk of contamination, meat being stored directly on the metal shelves, and storage directly on the floor. These are examples of violations that were not recorded," the auditor general said.

Her office found the Department of Health has processes to monitor and enforce policies to ensure the safety of meat for public consumption, but they are not consistently followed.

"We found that there are unaddressed food safety risks that exist in New Brunswick. Stronger enforcement action is needed for operators who fail to comply, and the current manual inspection system has limitations for capturing inspection results," she told members of the legislature Tuesday.

MacPherson said 97 per cent of the meat sold in New Brunswick comes from outside the province, and is inspected before it is imported. However she said the other three per cent, which is slaughtered within New Brunswick, does not get an inspection.

"The department staff told us that they believe that most people assume all meat sold in New Brunswick is inspected and we also believed this. …

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