Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Déjà vu? Have we not seen this before?

CBC is reporting that there have been five confirmed cases of illness linked to a Costco store that sold meat from XL Foods, and five other cases under investigation. There has also been confirmation that a small plant in Calgary had a positive E. coli test from a shipment of meat from the XL Foods plant in Brooks. This after the Federal Conservatives assured the public that contaminated meat did not make its way onto grocery shelves.

Why was meat from the  XL Foods plant in Brooks allowed to be shipped to Canadian stores after Sept 4th, that is the date that officials were alerted that beef shipped to the Unites States was testing positive for E. coli. The recalls did not begin in Canada for another two weeks. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has so far recalled more than 1,500 products processed at the plant due to possible E. coli contamination.

In the wake of the Maple Leaf disaster in 2008 I wrote “Is there a more singularly important role for this government than the protection of our food supply? Sure we need shelter, infrastructure, mail etc, but safe food is a fairly reasonable request for Canadians. I want to be confident that the food that I purchase and serve my family is not going to make them ill...or kill them. I do not think that is  a great deal to expect in 2012 in a great industrialized nation like Canada.” How did our food safety system continue to fail so dramatically?

16 people died in August and September 2008 because of serious problems in the food inspection system. Not the least of which was the Conservative government's failed attempt to privatize the process, allowing some meat producers police themselves.

The key may be found in the soft on meat inspection, Albertan Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It looks as if Maple Leaf Foods, Schneider Foods, Cargill Foods and Lakeside Packers are controlling the Conservative Party . These companies are huge employers, particularly in places like Brooks, Red Deer and High River ALBERTA. Meat and meat products are Canada's largest agricultural export. Yes meat is big business in the heartland of the Reform/Conservative Party.

A government that fails to address noted concerns about the inspection process for food inspection in this country is negligent. People died before because this government wanted to cut red tape for its friends in the meat packing business.
If the very agencies charged with protecting our food supplies do not respond to potential health threats, how are we supposed to have confidence that anything we consume is safe? 

Why must people die or a crisis develop before these agencies react? 

Why is the business interest of a company put before our health and safety? 

Why does this government muzzle and fire scientists who point out the shortcomings of the underfunded food safety program?

Keep in mind, it could have been you, it could have been your spouse, your mother, your child or your neighbor that pays the price for this negligence.  
Is this the thin edge of the neo-conservative wedge that puts profits ahead of safety.

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