“The fourth will be finalized by March 31, 2014,” Burdman said.
The audit report specifically pointed to CFIA’s need to ensure that companies have comprehensive distribution records and that those records are maintained in an accessible and immediately usable format to speed traceability during recalls.
Other findings in the auditor general’s report included:
Follow-up procedures to ensure recalled food is actually removed from the stream of commerce also need to be beefed up;
- Procedures to verify that recalling firms corrected underlying causes of recalls were inadequate;
- Corrective actions have not been completed on a timely basis in the past;
- Many CFIA officials were not familiar with the agency’s emergency management plan for food safety;
- Rational for selecting recall dates and excluding other dates was not adequately documented;
- Food safety decisions were not communicated to key stakeholders, including many food safety experts in the agency;
- Terminology and expectations were not consistent; and
- CFIA had not assessed the information needs of stakeholders, including recalling firms.