OTTAWA, June 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency must
focus its activities on the protection of Canadians. This is the position on
the listeria crisis which Option Consommateurs is presenting at this hour to
the Sub-Committee on Food Safety of the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Consumer protection is not an explicit element of the mandate or the
mission of the Agency. Officially, its task is to manage food safety and to
promote the industry. According to Ms. Anu Bose, Head of the Ottawa office of
Option Consommateurs, "We believe that these objectives are contradictory and
that they place the Agency in a potential conflict of interest. The protection
of Canadians must be the priority."
François Décary-Gilardeau, an agri-food analyst at Option consommateurs,
pointed out that the listeriosis outbreak cost the lives of 22 Canadians:
"almost three months passed between the first case and the official recall.
The Agency was unable to protect Canadians adequately during the listeria
crisis. Its operations do not meet democratic requirements. Food is everyone's
business; it is not right that decisions be taken behind closed doors."
Option consommateurs is therefore calling for greater transparency in the
operation of the CFIA. Ms. Bose said, "if the Agency really wishes to rebuild
its credibility with consumers, it must re-examine its structure with a view
to openness and transparency. It should draw inspiration from international
best practices. In the UK, the regulatory body's motto is 'Putting the
consumer first.' In Canada, the priority is unclear."
The complete statement is available on the website of Option
Mr. François Décary-Gilardeau, agri-food analyst at Option consommateurs
et Ms. Anu Bose, Ms. Anu Bose, Head of the Ottawa office of Option
Consommateurs, will be available for interviews after the end of the hearing
at about 6:00 p.m. ET.
Option consommateurs is a non-profit association, established in 1983,
dedicated to the defence and promotion of consumers' rights. To this end, it
is involved in about 30 class actions suits and follows closely files related
to energy, agri-food financial services and commercial practices.