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National Microbiological Monitoring Program Annual Report 2014-2015


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) develops and delivers programs and services designed to protect Canadians from preventable food safety hazards. The CFIA works to ensure that food safety emergencies are effectively managed, that the public is aware of and contributes to food safety, and that consumers and the marketplace are protected from unfair practices. Canada's food safety requirements apply equally to the domestic and imported food sectors.

The National Microbiological Monitoring Program (NMMP) is a food surveillance program managed by the CFIA to verify industry compliance with microbial standards, facilitate access of Canadian food products to international markets, provide information on the effectiveness of food safety control measures and interventions, and maintain consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply. Under the NMMP, a broad range of imported and domestic food products are sampled by CFIA inspectors. These foods are frequently sampled at federally registered establishments (i.e., those that produce food products that are exported or traded inter-provincially), which are inspected by CFIA inspectors. Samples may also be collected at other establishment types, such as warehouses, distribution centres, and wholesalers.

Food products of the following commodities were tested under the NMMP in the 2014/15 fiscal year (April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015): red meat and poultry products, shell eggs and egg products, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables and processed fruit and vegetable products. Food products within these commodities were selected for testing on the basis of known food-hazard combinations. The NMMP also performed environmental sampling at Canadian federally registered establishments to verify the producer's ability to control the presence of pathogens within the processing environment and confirm that food products are produced under sanitary conditions.

Product and environmental samples collected were sent to CFIA laboratories and tested to verify industry compliance with food microbiological safety and quality standards. All samples were subject to appropriate follow-up actions by both industry and the CFIA. Such follow-up actions could include follow-up inspections, additional sampling, product disposal, corrective action requests, food safety investigations, product recalls, etc.

In the 2014/15 fiscal year, 13910 tests were performed on 5589 domestic and imported products under the NMMP. Specifically, 9179 tests were performed on 4038 domestic products and 4731 tests were performed on 1551 imported products to verify their compliance with food safety standards. Results indicated that domestic products were 99.8% compliant whereas imported products were 98.6% compliant. Overall, a 99.5% compliance rate for combined domestic and imported products was observed. In addition, there were 2266 tests performed on 1826 environmental samples, of which 98.0% were assessed as compliant.

The results of the 2014/15 NMMP sampling activities indicated that the vast majority of food products available in Canada between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015 were compliant with food standards. The few noncompliant samples that were detected resulted in appropriate follow-up actions by the CFIA and industry. These actions allowed the CFIA to continue to safeguard Canada's food system and the health and well-being of Canadians.

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