A recent Ontario government review of its meat processing industry has recommended the Canadian province adopt a powerful new agency to enforce food safety, using armed guards in case of confrontation.

Judge Roland Haines, the official judicial investigator, concluded that the meat consumed in Ontario was for “the most part safe and free of hazardous contaminants” but that food-borne illness remained a “significant public health issue”.

Administrative changes were recommended including significantly higher licence fees for abattoirs, which could lead to price increases for consumers. Judge Haines also recommended tough food safety enforcement such as spot checks and tests on trucks and abattoirs, backed with hefty fines for law-breakers.