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REGINA, Sask., December 4, 2012 – The provincial government needs to do a better job of monitoring meat inspection safety in Saskatchewan, says Provincial Auditor Bonnie Lysyk in Volume 2 of her 2012 Report tabled today. In the Report, Lysyk draws attention to the fact that Saskatchewan is one of only three provinces in Canada that allows the sale of meat to customers without it being inspected.
Most meat sold to consumers in Saskatchewan is inspected. However, meat from 76 of the province’s slaughter plants comes from an inspected plant where no inspection of the meat itself takes place. This means that in these facilities, only the plant is inspected annually for cleanliness and its ability to keep the meat cold. The meat itself (i.e., the animal, the slaughter process, and the carcass) is not subject to inspection. Furthermore, the actual quantity of meat handled by these plants is not tracked. “People depend on the safety of the food supply,” says Lysyk. “The Ministry of Health should assess the risks to meat safety in the food supply, and consider updating its regulations accordingly.” The report also notes deficiencies in the plant inspection process that the Ministry of Health is responsible for overseeing. “The Ministry needs to do a better job of setting out detailed sanitation instructions and reviewing inspection results from plants that are considered at higher risk of producing unsafe meat,” says Lysyk. “It needs to verify that problems identified in these plants are fixed in a timely manner.”
The report also highlights the Ministry of Health’s lack of information about the level of diabetes-related care available throughout the province. “The Ministry doesn’t know who has diabetes and if those individuals are receiving the recommended care that could reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications,” says Lysyk. “Without this important information, it’s difficult for the Ministry and regional health authorities to know if their programs are working well, or if they’re on track to achieve their target of having 80% of people with chronic disease, including diabetes, receive care consistent with provincial standards by 2017.”
Additional areas noted in the report as needing improvement include:
The Report also details the Provincial Auditor’s follow-up work on past recommendations for 18 previous performance and information technology (IT) audits. The following agencies have implemented all of their recommendations in the specified subject areas:
Further details regarding these issues can be found in the accompanying Backgrounder. The full Provincial Auditor’s 2012 Report - Volume 2 is available online at www.auditor.sk.ca.
The Provincial Auditor is an Independent Officer of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. The Office of the Provincial Auditor serves the Members of the Legislative Assembly and the people of Saskatchewan by providing independent assurance and advice on the management, governance, and effective use of public resources.
For more information, contact:
Ms Bonnie Lysyk, MBA, CA
Provincial Auditor Saskatchewan
1500-1920 Broad Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3V2
Telephone: (306) 787-6398
Fax: (306) 787-6383
2012 Report - Volume 2: Auditor's Report Highlights Important Public and Environmental Safety Issues (PDF)