Notice to readers: This report deals with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Department of Health and Alberta Health Services responsibilities for food safety in the province. In 2013 a review was released about the beef recall that occurred at XL Foods Inc.’s plant at Brooks, Alberta, between September and October 2012. The federal government is responsible for inspecting this facility. Accordingly, the processes used to regulate this facility are outside the scope of our follow-up audit.
Objective and Scope
In this audit, we followed up on the eight outstanding recommendations relating to food safety programs at AHS, Health and Agriculture and Rural Development. We focused on how they monitor food safety practices for food production, what information systems they use, and how they cooperate with each other and report on their results.
We have concluded that six more of the original ten recommendations have been implemented. AHS has improved its food establishment inspection programs and made them more uniform across the province.
Cooperation between organizations and between federal–provincial regulators has improved. Agriculture and Rural Development has improved its surveillance and information system management processes.
Two recommendations remain outstanding:
- Health needs to develop a strategic plan to demonstrate the effectiveness of its food safety program in Alberta. As well, the two departments must integrate their strategies to ensure a coordinated and effective approach to food safety. The outcomes of the integrated strategies need to be reported to Albertans.
- AHS and Agriculture and Rural Development need to consistently apply the province’s meat facility standards in their inspections of food establishments.