Quebec seeks to crack down on meat fraud

Reports that pork is making its way into ground beef and veal is prompting the Quebec government to boost food inspections.

Agriculture minister says he's alarmed by reports of pork finding its way into ground beef

Food and Agriculture Minister Laurent Lessard said Quebecers have the right to know what's in their meat. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

The Quebec government wants to crack down on fraudulent meat-packaging practices at supermarkets in the province, and is promising to immediately boost inspections of minced meat. 

Food and Agriculture Minister Laurent Lessard said his ministry is concerned about recent reports that suggest pork is finding its way into ground beef and ground veal. 

Retailers who package their own minced meat will now be subject to inspections by provincial and municipal health officials. 

"Consumers have the right to know what they're buying and what is on their plate," said Lessard, who is also minister of transport.

"Food substitution is fraud and the situations that have been reported are unacceptable."

The move comes following an investigation by the French-language network TVA, which tested a small sample of minced meat bought in different Quebec supermarkets.

DNA testing, the network said, revealed that three of the four packages they purchased actually contained traces of pork, which is generally a cheaper meat.

Fines in Quebec for improperly labelling food products range from $500 to $3,000 for a first-time offense, and can reach as high as $9,000 for repeat offenders.