Regulatory Cooperation Council – Meat Inspection and Certification Work Plan 2015

Regulatory area to be addressed

Meat Inspection and Certification

In the area of meat inspection and certification, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will work together and, where feasible, provide updates to their slaughter and processed meat inspection policies and procedures in an effort to enhance food safety, achieve closer alignment between inspection system requirements and eliminate unnecessary or duplicative requirements.

CFIA and FSIS will work together to identify areas of mutual interest and collaboration related to improving public health based on the best available science and technological advances in our respective meat inspection systems and modernization approaches. This work will also enable CFIA and FSIS to further streamline the efficient export and import of meat through electronic certification processes while ensuring the safety of the food supply in both countries.

Department/Agency
United States us flag

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)

Canada canadian flag

Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)

Work stream A

Enhance Regulatory Alignment

CFIA and FSIS will work towards improving the alignment of each other's meat inspection systems, based on equivalence work completed under RCC. I, as well as addressing particular areas identified in audits conducted of the Canadian and United States' respective meat inspection systems. In addition, CFIA and FSIS will explore ways to strengthen engagement between regulators and with stakeholders, which is fundamental to regulatory cooperation.

Planned initiatives and sub-deliverables by date (Work stream A)
Planned initiatives and sub-deliverablesDate

Collaborative Approaches to Inspection

  • 1.1 Develop an implementation plan to identify steps needed to enhance regulatory cooperation between FSIS and CFIA in order to strengthen food safety standards for facilitating the flow of meat and meat products between the two countries. This includes a commitment to enhance working relationships to ensure effective resolution of issues and to improve current practices of information exchange and engagement with stakeholders on food safety.
April – September 2015
  • 1.2 Complete corrective action plans for food safety issues that have been identified during routine equivalence audits conducted by FSISFSIS and CFIA of each other's meat inspection systems to ensure on-going compliance with regulatory food safety requirements.
April – June 2015
  • Implement corrective actions as per agreed upon timelines to ensure food safety equivalence is maintained.
On-going
  • 1.3 Collaborate on regulatory approaches such as the CFIA Modernization Slaughter Inspection Program (MSIP) and the USDA New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), to identify opportunities for collaboration on food safety and ensure equivalence, which ultimately enhances regulatory alignment.
April 2015 – March 2016
  • Work towards the alignment of outcome-based chilling requirements for raw poultry meat and testing methodologies in order to streamline regulatory requirements.
July 2015 – March 2016

Work stream B

Facilitate Efficient Import/Export of Regulated Products

Electronic exchange of certificates (e-Cert) will increase the efficient exchange of certificates between importing and exporting countries, improve reporting and security of the transmission of the certificates. This work plan builds upon existing initiatives within our respective countries to offer electronic service delivery to stakeholders.

In the United States, the Public Health Information System (PHIS) export certification module will enhance FSIS' export program by automating the Agency's paper-based processes, including establishment applications for approval for export, applications for export certificates, and the issuance of export certificates. In Canada, the Electronic Service Delivery Platform (ESDP) is currently under development and its project plan includes the identification of business requirements, time frames and stakeholder communication to ensure their business requirements are being addressed. ESDP intended to provide an electronic system that will enable industry to more readily access CFIA programs and conduct regular business transactions, using secure information exchange protocols.

The focus of this work plan will be to further streamline the efficient export and import of meat and poultry products between Canada and the United States through electronic certification processes by exchanging information on our respective systems and identifying options for the efficient exchange of electronic certificate information or certificate. The goal is to ensure maximum interoperability between our respective systems.

Planned initiatives and sub-deliverables by date (Work stream B)
Planned initiatives and sub-deliverablesDate

Electronic Certification

  • 1.1 Undertake cooperative discussions to exchange information about the status of development of our respective systems and to explore technical options that will maximize the interoperability of our respective electronic systems.
April - November 2016
  • 1.2 Develop and implement our respective electronic platforms with regular engagement to ensure compatibility between the systems.
April 2015 – December 2016
  • 1.3 Develop and implement a Canada-U.S. communication/outreach plan to engage stakeholders.
April 2015 - March 2016
  • 1.4 FSIS and CFIA establish guidance information and standard operating procedures for respective Agency personnel and industry stakeholders to guide the implementation and use of the FSIS and CFIA e-cert systems to facilitate the efficient flow of meat products across the U.S.- Canada border.
2017 (contingent on item 1.2)
  • 1.5 Identify lessons learned and best practices for continuous improvement of our respective systems.
On-going

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