Canada has boosted requirements for testing and reporting of listeria in processing plants that make cold cuts and other ready-to-eat (RTE) meats.

The new requirements take effect immediately, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and will mean production facilities must implement “rigourous environmental testing” for listeria and to “immediately” report positive results to CFIA.

A CFIA sampling procedure, will ensure compliance.

“In the coming weeks, the CFIA will initiate a process to ensure that Canada’s trading partners are ready and able to provide an equal level of listeria control for the products they export to Canada,” CFIA said.

CFIA will “verify the effectiveness” of actions that plant operators take to respond to positive listeria findings. CFIA said it will undertake an “expanded detection program” for listeria and other foodborne microbial pathogens. 

Maple Leaf’s ready to eat meat processing plant in Toronto was responsible for a listeria outbreak last summer that killed 20 across Canada.   Michael McCain, Maple Leaf’s chief executive officer, promised to exceed the new standards being imposed by the government.

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