Ontario beef processors lose licenses following CFIA investigation

Following months of decreased beef slaughter capacity in Ontario, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has cancelled Safe Food for Canadian licences for Ryding-Regency Meat Packers LTD., located at Toronto; Canadian Select Meats Inc. (operating under St. Ann’s Foods Inc); and The Beef Boutique LTD, (operating under St. Ann’s Foods Inc.).

CFIA says the decision was made after the agency received false or misleading information from the licence holders concerning E. coli lab results.

Without licenses, the companies are no longer able to slaughter food animals or prepare meat products for export, or to be sent from one province or territory to another.

Related: Ontario struggling with beef processing backlog

CFIA initiated a food safety investigation into the three companies in September, 2019, when it was determined that some products were potentially contaminated. Prior to the cancellations, the licences for the establishments were all suspended to ensure the safety of the public.

There were numerous food recalls related to E. coli O157:H7 in various beef and veal products associated with this food safety investigation, CFIA says.

CFIA has now concluded the food safety investigation and no additional recalls are expected in respect to this investigation.

‘Major blow to beef sector’

The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) are calling the lost licensing, “a major blow for the beef sector in Ontario.”

As beef farmers in the eastern part of Canada already face a serious need for processing facilities, the cancellation of the Ryding-Regency’s licence is a further hit on a marketplace that is already faced with too few processors to ensure a competitive, healthy market according to the BFO.

The organization plans to work closely with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and other partners to request immediate government aid in resolving threats facing Ontario’s beef farmers from the lack of processing capacity in eastern Canada.

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