Canadian government and unions care little for food safety.
But, like any relationship souring, they seek to blame each other.
In response to the XL Foods E. coli O157 outbreak that sickened at least 18 people last year, and a subsequent report that blamed both the company and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for having a “weak food safety culture,” Bob Kingston, president of the agricultural union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, told Western Producer, with a straight face, “It was an open secret for a long time that there was a coziness between some of the CFIA people and the (meat packing) industry in Alberta.
“There were old school managers in that part of the country that were a bit of a problem. If they say there was a relaxed attitude (to food safety), some of that was a hangover and a lot of it has been addressed. Some of those managers have been replaced.”
CFIA president George Da Pont also said with a straight face part of the problem was the fact that many inspectors are embedded in plants for years, and “there is a possibility they might not be as rigorous after 10 or 15 years as they were at the start.”
Comforting to the sick people, and all those lost wages because of the recall.