The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is beefing up its meat and poultry inspections after a USDA request to increase inspection frequency to meet U.S. food-safety standards.

CFIA National Inspection Manager Tom Graham says the agency has increased inspection frequency to one visit every 12 hours since last November to meet USDA requirements for exported meat, reports

Graham points out, however, that CFIA was never out of compliance with USDA. This most recent move is CFIA’s response to a new instruction from USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service following its last annual audit of CFIA procedures. Both parties emphasize that no Canadian meat was ever denied access to the U.S. market.

Canada’s increased inspection has had to rely on inspectors working overtime, and Canada wants to hire more inspectors. CFIA reports that the agency has $13 million in the budget to hire up to 100 new meat and poultry inspectors in 2010.

The 100 new inspectors would be in addition to the 70 inspectors on pace to be hired following and independent analysis and food-safety report which identified inspection deficiencies in the wake of the Listeriosis outbreak traced back to a Maple Leaf plant in August 2008.