Exploding watermelons? CANADIANS say 'no thanks' to Chinese food imports
Posted: May 26th, 2011 - 12:33pm
Source: Globe and Mail
So far, Chinese consumers have been the ones facing the brunt of China’s food scares and poisonings, but some Canadians are worried about the risk of unsafe products making their way into the food supply here. In the past month, Chinese inspectors have reportedly seized tons of contaminated milk, pork treated with steroids that sickened hundreds of Chinese citizens, and pork treated with sodium borate to make it look like beef. In Jiangsu province, reports emerged last week of watermelon crops bursting after farmers misused a chemical growth accelerator, forchlorfenuron.
When it comes to fresh produce, very little of what’s available in Canadian grocery stores comes from China, according to Frédéric Alberro, Quebec vice-president of the Retail Council of Canada, which represents supermarkets, including Loblaw and Metro. At Metro, for instance, the only Chinese products in the produce section are garlic, ginger and specific varieties of pear and apple.
David Wilkes, senior vice-president of the retail council’s grocery division, emphasizes that Canadian grocers are in the business of ensuring they deliver safe food to consumers, and they closely follow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) regarding what food is considered safe.
“We have one of the highest records of food safety around the world,” Mr. Wilkes says. “We are confident in the job that CFIA does.”
The CFIA was unable to respond specifically to questions about the safety of imports from China by press time. But a media relations officer wrote in an e-mail that it carefully reviews the requests of various countries to export food products to Canada.