OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will upgrade its food safety system and hire more inspectors in the wake of a listeriosis outbreak in 2008 in which 22 people died, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said on Friday.
Ottawa will spend C$75 million ($69 million) on implementing all 57 recommendations made in a July report on the outbreak, Ritz told a news conference.
The report said the food safety system was caught unprepared and acted without a sense of urgency after the outbreak, which was linked to contaminated deli meats from a Maple Leaf Foods processing plant.
The government said on Friday it would:
* hire 166 new food safety staff, of which 70 would be food inspectors
* ensure health risk assessment teams are always available to help support food safety investigations
* improve communications to the public during an outbreak
* improve tracking of potential food borne illness outbreaks through a national surveillance system;
* improve detection methods for listeriosis
* initiate an independent audit to ensure the food inspection system is working as well as possible.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway