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

UPDATE: Police say false bomb threat came from computer and printer in the school

“The threat was a hoax by a student,” said Port McNeill RCMP.

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles still undefeated, dominate Oceanside Generals in Port Hardy

Who can stop the North Island Bantam Eagles? The answer so far this season is, well, no one.

VIDEO: North Island Atom Eagles tie Victoria Ice Hawks, fall in rematch

The North Island Atom Eagles will be back in league play action at home in January.

Strong winds expected to hit north, west Vancouver Island: Environment Canada

Environment Canada said southeast winds will reach speeds of 70 to 90 kilometres per hour

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

Mental health issue suspected after spike belts end Island Highway car chase

Woman in her 30s detained after Tuesday afternoon incident in Lantzville

PHOTOS: Salvation Army’s luncheon brings a blast of Christmas spirit to the North Island

North Islanders, around 300, filled the Island Copper Room as they enjoyed lunch and dessert.

Most Read