Throw away the key; Canadian politicos to punish food safety offenders
Posted: June 7th, 2012 - 9:21pm
The Canadian government is unveiling a food-safety bill today that will hike penalties for serious offences to $5 million.
Sarah Schmidt of Postmedia News writes the bill, to be tabled in the Senate, could bring together as many as five food statutes with varying standards under one piece of legislation — the food provisions of the Food and Drugs Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Meat Inspection Act, the Fish Inspection Act and the Canada Agricultural Products Act.
The move follows a recommendation from Sheila Weatherill to simplify and modernize federal legislation and regulations that affect food safety. The government turned to Weatherill to conduct an independent investigation on the state of food safety in Canada after the 2008 deadly listeriosis outbreak linked to deli meats produced at a federally inspected facility.
Weatherill, who zeroed in on a "vacuum in senior leadership" among government officials, directed more than half of her 57 recommendations to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency following the death of 23 Canadians who consumed contaminated meat.
Under current rules, anyone convicted of a serious offence could be fined up to $250,000. Under the new act, penalties could be as high as $5 million, or, in the case of the most serious offences, even higher at the court's discretion.