Regulation overhaul urged after listeria
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Regulation-overhaul-urged-after-listeria-outbreak
By Sarah Hills,
safety regulations could be introduced in Canada as pressure increases to
tackle the problems associated with tainted food after 20 people died in a listeriosis outbreak.
Institute of the Public Service of Canada
union said that it is launching a campaign to defend Public Science “in
the wake of the listeriosis tragedy” that was
linked to contamination at the Maple Leaf
Foods Toronto processing plant.
Monitor International’s Canada
Food and Drink Report Q4 2008 report said that the incident could have “wider
repercussions for the entire food and drink industry, with politicians and
the media calling for a complete overhaul of Canada’s food safety
The union says Canada is
facing a continuing crisis with tainted foods and unsafe products, which it
in part blames on a lack of resources for independent regulators and for food
Its new national
advertising campaign highlights the “harm deregulation and underfunding
are doing to public scientists’ ability to protect Canadians”.
Michèle Demers, president of
the union, said: “Listeriosis is only the tip of
the iceberg of the dangers deregulation is opening up in this country.
“By eliminating rules
and handing responsibility for safety to industry in sectors like
transportation, food and consumer products, the federal government is playing
fast and loose with Canadians health and safety.”
Maple Leaf identified listeria lurking deep inside two meat-slicing
machines as the most likely source of the contamination, which caused it to
shut down its Toronto
plant in August.
The Canadian Food
Inspection Agency requested that all federally inspected plants with similar
equipment conduct a systematic and thorough cleaning procedure.
However, the Public
Service Alliance of Canada, the union representing food inspectors, claimed
that the organisation is understaffed and spends too much time on paper
This echoes criticism
of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a former FDA official who
recently opposed the National Uniformity for Food Act at a Senate hearing
claimed the FDA is under-resourced, under-staffed, and essentially incapable
of overseeing potential threats to the US food supply.
Monitor said that the Maple Leaf incident could potentially damage sales of
processed meat products. Although it pointed out that in previous food health
scares, sales have rarely been affected in the long term, particularly when
the cause is quickly identified.