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Statement by Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz on the Independent Review of XL Foods

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/08/13 -- "Our government supports this independent review process. This is part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that Canadians continue to have one of the safest food safety systems in the world.

"We take the safety of Canada's food supply very seriously, and we remain committed to the continuous improvement of Canada's strong food safety systems that allow Canadian consumers to shop with confidence.

"As our government committed, there will be an independent review that will be made public. We look forward to receiving the Panel's report so that we may review its recommendations." - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz

BACKGROUNDER

Appointment of Independent Expert Advisory Panel-Review Into E. coli Outbreak

Canada's food safety system remains among the best in the world, but events such as the XL Foods Inc. beef recall that occurred in September and October of 2012 underscore the importance of ongoing review and continuous improvement.

As a result, the Government of Canada has appointed an Independent Expert Advisory Panel to conduct a review of events and circumstances related to the XL Foods Inc. E. coli O157:H7 investigation and recall.

The review team includes recognized scientific, public health, and industry experts. The team consists of Dr. Ronald Lewis (Chair), Dr. Ronald Usborne, and Dr. Andre Corriveau.

The review will carry out the following:

(i) examine the events, circumstances, and factors that contributed to the E. coli outbreak in XL Foods Inc. products, including the design, implementation, and oversight of food safety preventative control programs, inspection policies and protocols, and information exchange between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and its food safety system partners, including XL Foods Inc. and foreign regulators;

(ii) consider whether the Canadian Food Inspection Agency or XL Foods Inc. could reasonably have detected the contamination prior to beef products entering into distribution and commerce; and

(iii) review the effectiveness of the response of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, in light of the additional resources provided to it since 2006 by the Government of Canada, in conjunction with the response of its food safety system partners, including XL Foods Inc. and foreign regulators, to the E. coli outbreak, including but not limited to the effectiveness of their prevention, detection, recall response, incident management, and investigative activities, as well as their collaboration and communication with one another, the public, and stakeholders for the purpose of ensuring consumer safety.

Based on the findings and conclusions, the team will make recommendations, within the existing resources of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, to strengthen prevention strategies and regulatory oversight.

In keeping with the Government's commitment to transparency, the final report and any recommendations will be made public once completed.

For more information on the panel review team please visit http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/consumer-centre/food-safety-investigations/xl-foods/advisory-panel/eng/1360360148361/1360360313541.

Contacts:
Media Relations
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-773-7972
1-866-345-7972

Jeff English
Press Secretary
The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
613-773-1059

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