Duncan’s food inspection policies leave a bad taste

Waiting for Canadians to get sick is not a food safety strategy.

Dear editor:

In June, MP John Duncan chose to make significant cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency by voting in favour of the Conservative omnibus budget bill. Liberals voted against these cuts because Canadians deserve to feel confident that their food supply is protected just as our farmers and ranchers deserve safe and stable business.

Unfortunately these cuts went ahead and undetected E. coli contamination at the XL Foods facility in Brooks, Alberta, led to the largest meat recall in Canadian history, spanning all the provinces and territories, plus 41 states. Alarmingly, the outbreak was first detected by US food inspectors, not CFIA, and it took over two weeks for the first recall to be issued. At least 10 people have fallen ill. Conservative messaging that everything is fine is cold comfort to those who are sick or were exposed to E coli.

Canadians expected the government to heed the lessons of the 2008 listeriosis crisis, which left 22 dead and 35 others gravely ill. Yet the comprehensive audit of our food safety system recommended by an independent review has yet to occur four years later.

Not only a terrible human tragedy, this may turn out to be the worst crisis in our beef industry since the discovery of BSE, or mad cow disease in 2003, which led to an immediate worldwide ban on all Canadian beef exports. Our cattlemen and food processors are at risk of another financial body blow, yet the Conservatives have just cut farm risk management programs, Agri Stability and Agri Invest.

Why is Mr. Duncan cutting support for farmers in crisis? Why is he supporting cuts that remove vital resources from food safety professionals and creating a space where the industry is responsible for more and more of its self-regulation?

Waiting for Canadians to get sick is not a food safety strategy. Liberals support our scientists and professionals who are on the front line of food safety and call on Mr. Duncan to do the same.

Frank Valeriote, MP

Liberal Party Critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food

Just Posted

Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre’s grad 2018

Grade 12 student Jade Hanuse was presented with her diploma from Principal Sheila Mcgrath.

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Port Hardy takes next step towards legal cannabis sales

Two public hearings were held to seek input on cannabis zoning bylaw

Kervin’s Corner: Eye sore or tourist attraction? District of Port Hardy to display windmill blade anyway

Do you like the idea of putting up the windmill blade on display in Port Hardy?

Port Harvey bylaw lands in supreme court

Property owners attempt to quash zoning bylaw allowing shipyard

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Amalgamation fails in North Cowichan and Duncan

North Cowichan says yes, but Duncan says no

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Mounties seize 1,500 pot plants in ‘extensive Shawnigan raid

Mounties searched a property in the 4800-block of Goldstream Heights Drive on May 30

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

Most Read