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Follow-up after recalls a problem for food inspection agency, auditor finds

OTTAWA – The auditor general says the largest meat recall in Canada’s history has exposed serious shortcomings at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The latest report from auditor general Michael Ferguson says the CFIA struggles to follow up on routine recalls and to manage major files, such as the one last year at XL Foods.

READ MORE: Canada’s food safety watchdog orders fourth E. coli beef recall this month

Ferguson’s team found widespread confusion among CFIA officials during emergencies.

During the XL Foods recall, for example, the company received multiple calls from CFIA officials who apparently didn’t know that their responsibilities had shifted during the emergency.

MORE: Health Canada takes over food safety agency

The report says all those calls created confusion and added to the company’s already considerable workload during the crisis.

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There was further confusion after the CFIA ordered one distributor to recall products from a date that was not part of the recall.

WATCH: Health Minister Rona Ambrose  defends food inspection process in the wake of Auditor General’s report