Indeed, Mr. Chairman, there are various measures which contribute to food safety. Inspectors do their job, but they are supported by an entire team of professionals who aim to provide the best scientific advice possible, the best lab results, based on internationally-recognized and validated methods.
The agency has a network of 14 labs throughout the country, including 9 that carry out food sector analyses. The network is made up of experts, researchers and lab technicians who carry out food analyses according to various inspection programs to detect a number of pathogens such as bacteria, salmonella, listeria, E. coli, as well as viruses, toxins, parasites, pesticides, chemicals and allergens. All of these analyses are carried out according to nationally and internationally developed, validated and recognized methods.
The government's recent investment in the Food Safety Action Plan has allowed for a considerable increase in the monitoring of food safety and imported goods through a targeted sampling program which aimed, among other things, to ramp up the monitoring of imported goods in the agency's unregulated sector. In other words, over the last few years, the agency has carried out monitoring programs through its registered institutions. The Food Safety Action Plan's main purpose is to increase the monitoring of imported goods.
Allow me to tell you a little bit about the progress the agency has made over the last few years.
Under the Food Safety Action Plan, that has been in place since 2008-2009, a number of samples were tested including imported vegetables, imported ingredients, dairy, bottled water, and products that were processed prior to coming to the country, which were tested to detect the presence of allergens, microtoxins, bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and pesticides. During the first year of the program, the agency carried out seven targeted studies on vegetable products. Further, we tested for salmonella, listeria, shigella and E. coli 0157:H7, pathogens which are very well known within the sector. We took close to 2,000 samples within the first year, 6,800 tests were carried out on these samples, and we obtained satisfactory results in 99.9% of cases, which is very good.
In the second year, 2009-2010, we doubled our monitoring of imported goods, carrying out 14 studies on targeted products including, in this case, spices, fine herbs, products like peanuts, and again, we tested for the presence of bacteria and viruses on close to 8,200 samples. So, we more than doubled the number of samples collected and carried out over 24,000 tests in our labs. Again, we obtained satisfaction ratings of 99%. In the second year, we also tested for chemicals and allergens in over 22 monitoring studies, and again, achieved satisfaction rates of 98%. This year, we will be testing over 25,000 samples throughout our lab network. We have developed methods to support these analyses. Over the last two years, the agency and its lab specialists have developed over 19 new methods to monitor the safety of imported goods.
In closing, the agency also created a service to improve the efficacy of our food analysis; this service is offered seven days a week. So, the labs which provide food analysis services are now available seven days a week to ensure that analyses are done within the shortest timeframe possible. Through these various measures we feel that we can reassure your committee: we have increased the monitoring of imported goods.