Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Harper’s new meat inspection rules were already in place at the Maple Leaf plant.

Contrary to what we were told last week, "the Maple Leaf Toronto plant was one of the plants where the CFIA began testing the new inspection system a year ago". The inspector responsible for the Maple Leaf plant in Toronto also had to supervise up to half a dozen other facilities.
At the Maple Leaf plant behind the listeria outbreak, a single federal inspector was relegated to auditing company paperwork and had to deal with several other plants, a CFIA manager and an union official revealed, contradicting the impression that officials had left last week that full-time watchdogs were on-site.

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, said the union official.

"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."
According to a Dr. Richard Arsenault a manager from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The federal rules require only that inspectors perform three or four random tests annually at a plant, the rest of the time, inspectors rely on the company, which is required to do at least one test a month for each type of product.

"It's like in aviation, we can't look under each jet engine of an airline, but we can make sure the maintenance service works," he said.

"We expect the companies to be responsible and not just go through the motions to placate the inspectors."

"All I can say is that with the new system that has been set up, there's always an adjustment phase," Dr. Arsenault said, when asked about Mr. Kingston's criticism.
Well that's an understatement.

Meanwhile our Prime Minister has said that the massive Maple Leaf meat recall highlights the need for Ottawa to overhaul its meat-inspection regime and has rejected any suggestions that the federal government is not doing enough.

This is one time that I agree with you Mr. Harper, your government has done too much.

Harper's free enterprise ideology has put our food supply in jeopardy and he has not been forthright in coming forward with the details of his new rules and it's implementation.

Harper's government bears direct responsibility for this outbreak of Listeria and the deaths of up to 12 Canadians.

Reference: Globe & Mail here.


Skinny Dipper said...

What really bugged my about the Maple Leaf listeria contamination issue was all the other brand names that were listed as being possibly contaminated. When I heard names like Schneiders, Shopsy's and Hickory Farms, I suddenly realize that I don't know which meat products to buy. I guess I'll go veggie until the carrots start mixing with the cream corn on my plate.

Pardon the pun. With meats, I'm not into cross-contamination.

Beijing York said...

I too was surprised by the number of brands owned by Maple Leaf Foods. It reminds me of the pet food contamination crisis in that all these different brands/labels were actually packaging food from the same plant. Seems like free market economics results in less competitors but larger corporations who create their own competitive brands.

Walks With Coffee said...

If this doesn't hit front page news, what will.

What does it take for the media to stop coddling Mr. Harper?



Geekwad said...

Maybe Skinny Dipper is joking, but this actually was one of the reasons I stopped buying animal flesh about six months ago. I could no longer trust the product to be either safe or humane. I'm not really a vegetarian, but I have vastly reduced the amount of meat I consume. It was as much about not supporting the trade with my money as anything else.