Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Free market food safety

Inspectors failed to adopt more rigorous U.S. measures reads the G&M headline and the accompanying article includes this statement from Steve :
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that the massive Maple Leaf meat recall highlights the need for Ottawa to overhaul its meat-inspection regime.
"It's necessary to reform and revamp our food- and product-inspection regime after some years of neglect," he said yesterday. "As you know, in the recent budget, we put considerably more inspectors and resources into this."

But scroll down to read former CFIA inspector Bob Kingston :

"Under the old system, inspectors had a more hands-on role on the plant floor, did more of the tests themselves and had more freedom to investigate.
Under the new rules, instead of heading to the plant floor to inspect with their own eyes, inspectors are sent to the office to confirm that the meat packer has performed the required tests and the results are satisfactory."

"We don't swab for listeria any more. The industry does all that themselves," he said. "They just document all this stuff. We read their reports. If their reports say they do everything fine, then they do everything fine."

The Maple Leaf Toronto plant was one of the plants where the CFIA began testing the new industry-based inspection system a year ago. To date 15 victims of listeriosis have died.

Health Minister Tony Clement :

"Government policy was to hire 200 more inspectors, that's what we've done since we achieved power in January '06," he said from the U.S. Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo.

"When it comes to health and safety, you can't scrimp and save; you've got to do your job on behalf of Canadians and that's what we're doing."

What you're doing, Tony, is privatizing food safety as outlined in the SPP and lying about it.
Presumably a full scale government assault on CFIA for being unable to deliver under these conditions is now underway and more industry-based oversight will be recommended.

SPP : Outsourcing food safety to industry - Part 1 and Part 2

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