The federal government is proposing to give itself the power to fine meat-processing plants that break hygiene and other operating rules meant to protect human health, reports CTV News. The government’s new authority would help it to protect consumers, it said.

"These proposed new fines demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that Canada's stringent food safety requirements are being followed," Lisa Murphy, a CFIA spokeswoman, wrote in an email from Ottawa. "AMPs (administrative monetary penalties) will help the CFIA better protect consumers from food producers that fail to comply with federal food safety requirements."

The Canadian Meat Council, which represents Canadian meat companies, said that the fines are not needed.  Spokesman Ron Davidson said that the government is only seeking to apply fines to meat processors instead of the entire food industry.

"The meat industry does not believe there is a necessity for yet another enforcement tool," he said. "We are not pleased that it is being imposed on us ahead of the other sectors. Every inspector is going to have the opportunity to impose fines."

The CFIA said initially fines will be recommended by inspectors, but issued by area investigators to ensure consistency. The agency said it wants to see how well the fines work in the meat industry before using them for other food commodities.

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Source: CTV News