Toddlers dominate food safety discussion in Canada
Posted: April 16th, 2012 - 3:51am by Doug Powell
Why does it have to be overseen by veterinarians?
Do inspectors have pathogen-seeking goggles?
In Canada, the years following the 2008 listeria-in-Maple-Leaf-deli-meat outbreak that killed 23, the federal inspectors' union has had the public discussion volume set to shrill.
It’s now reached 11 as the federal government wants to make cuts to various levels of the civil service but offers no rationale, and the union blindly proclaims any cuts to federal meat inspectors would be “devastating.”
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, who inexplicably still has his job after joking on a conference call during the 2008 listeria outbreak he was dying death by a thousand cold-cuts -- while people were actually dying – blindly reiterates that there is "no way" the federal government would ever compromise food safety.
Sarah Schmidt of Canada.com has asked for precise numbers — more than once. But for some reason, neither CFIA nor Gerry Ritz’s Office has responded to this request for specific details and numbers. Instead, this is what the media has received, in the form of a statement from Ritz (reproduced in part):
“The Agency will not make any changes that would in any way place the health and safety of Canadians at risk. In fact, Economic Action Plan 2012 includes an additional $51 million over two years to enhance food safety, building upon the $100 million in last year’s budget. Ensuring safe food for Canadian families is CFIA’s priority and these changes underscore that commitment. Since 2006, the Harper Government has provided the investments for the CFIA to hire 733 net new inspection staff. Agriculture is a competitive modern industry, and changes will modernize Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada allowing it to concentrate on innovation, marketing and reducing barriers for business.”
Ger, make your case, explain what government-back inspection does and does not do. Union types: make a case about the necessity of your role, using examples and data. Then maybe the two sides can work on something that actually makes fewer people barf; cause I thought this was all about food safety, At this point you both sound like my 3-year-old who goes into a trance-like meltdown when she’s in a mood or can’t get what she wants and huffs and puffs and repeats the same line 10 times.