Canadian government vows not to doctor listeria report

Source of Article:


By Rory Harrington, 21-Jul-2009

The Canadian food processing industry is eagerly awaiting the publication today of an independent report into last year’s listeria crisis that killed 22 and sickened hundreds.

Sheila Weatherill handed her long-awaited review of the food scandal to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz which is expected to provide an assessment of how the federal government responded to the national contamination incident involving listeria-tainted meat from a Maple Leaf plant in Toronto.

However, the report will not make any recommendations about possible civil or criminal liability, but will outline proposals to prevent similar outbreaks.

The Government came under heavy fire yesterday for insisting on a 24-hour delay before making the document public and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was forced to issue assurances that it would not be doctored before its publication later today (Tuesday).

The food poisoning issue has loomed large on the Canadian political agenda and the government is expected to come under intense scrutiny with its publication. Critics have slammed the authorities for a lack of transparency with the Canadian Association of Journalists going so far as to award the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with their 2008 Secrecy Award.

Liberal MP Wayne Easter, the party’s agriculture spokesman, demanded the immediate publication of the report and all accompanying documents.

“We have concerns about this because of the way this government has handled this matter since Day 1,” he said. “The report from the government’s hand-picked investigator, with a limited mandate conducted in private, is not sufficient. They have road-blocked any attempts to provide more transparency about the events of last summer.”

Reports in the Canadian media claim some the review’s 70 findings will include calls for:

* Unannounced spot check at all meat processing plants;

* Food companies being obliged to report all public health threats not just those relating to positive bacteria tests, with publication of subsequent federal inspection reports;

* The country’s chief public health official to take a leading role in any future food-borne illness cases to ensure a swift and unified response.

Weatherill’s report took six months to compile five million pages of information and involved over 100 interviews. Its contents have been kept secret and Weatherill has dismissed claims that she has come under no pressure or been subject to political interference over its findings


Main Page

setstats            Copyright (C) All rights reserved under

            If you have any comments, please  send your email to