CFIA shuts down first new P.E.I. lobster processor in a decade

“The CFIA has determined that adequate controls for safety (at Red Cove) were not reliably implemented in the facility on a regular basis."

Mike Carson
Published on May 18, 2014

Malpeque lobster fisherman Chris Wall sent us this photo of a two-toned lobster found in his catch in the middle of June.

©Submitted photo

HOWARDS COVE - A Howards Cove seafood processing plant has not had its registration renewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

A CIFA spokesperson said Red Cove seafood processing was allowed to resume operations following an earlier suspension on April 14 under ongoing inspection by CFIA. On May 8, CFIA decided not to renew Red Cove’s registration.

Red Cove Seafood Products Inc. in Howard’s Cove was given the first new lobster processing licence in more than a decade on April 30 this year.

It was one of the first new applications to be considered by the provincial government since the province’s agreement with Ocean Choice expired on April 14.

That deal had prohibited the government from issuing any new lobster processing licences for the last 10 years as part of the company’s deal to take over the failed Polar Foods operation.

“The CFIA has determined that adequate controls for safety were not reliably implemented in the facility on a regular basis, which is in violation of the fish inspection regulations,” the spokesperson said. “Specifically, (Red Cove Seafood Processing) was unable to consistently maintain minimum regulatory standards for construction, equipment sanitation and process controls.”

Licences and registrations of federally registered establishments or companies can be suspended, cancelled or refused renewal for failing to comply with CFIA acts and regulations.

“The safety of consumers is the CFIA’s top priority and the agency will work diligently to ensure that there is no potential risk to customers,” the spokesperson said.

Red Cove also requires a permit from the provincial Department of Fisheries.

A spokesperson from the province said that in order to acquire a provincial permit, a company needs to be licensed by CFIA.

The province did issue its permit to the company on April 14 but suspended it on May 8 following the move by CFIA.

The CFIA suspended operations at Red Cove on two earlier occasions.

On Sept. 27, 2013, the company had its licence suspended after the CFIA determined that “adequate controls for safety were not reliably implemented in the facility on a regular basis.” Red Cove was back in business on Oct. 9, 2013, but suspended once again for the same violation on Nov. 1, 2013.

Calls and emails to the company were not returned.