Canadian ag minister speaks about listeria outbreak report, CFIA

The unintentionally funny and still, inexplicably, Minister of Agriculture in Canada, Gerry-death-by-a-1,000-cold-cuts-and-isn’t-my-moustache-awesome Ritz, spoke at a press conference today. has already published some of the Q&A, which I have edited here for brevity:

Q:  Do you now recognize that, that CFIA, both those inspectors were over, do you accept that they were stressed and they were stretched too thin and that, and maybe explain why the audits were conducted?

A:  Well as you know, I’m not involved in the day to day operations, so I can’t speak to the stress of the front line operators. 

Q: We talk a lot about what went wrong, where the failures were, but 22 people died here.  Where’s the accountability?  Has anyone been fired and are you willing to compensate the families that were so aversely affected by this clear failure of our system?

A: Well there was a lawsuit, as you know, and there were compensations paid out through McCain’s.  Other than that, as I said, it’s a very complex issue. 

Q: But Maple Leaf Foods took responsibility.  Why can’t the government take some sort of responsibility?  Clearly, there were breakdowns within the government and that’s acknowledged in this report.

A:  Well our, our responsibility is to move forward with a better, better food safety system and I pledge to the victims and the, you know, their families and friends that we will move forward.  That’s my responsibility, I accept it.

Q: So there’s no compensation to them?

A: No.

Q: There won’t be any?

Moderator: Okay, that was our last question.  Thank you Minister.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time