Followup after recalls a problem for Canadian food inspection agency, auditor finds

It’s sortofa repetitious Canadian thing: a bunch of people get sick and some die, an investigation is carried out, problems are noted, the bureaucrats say they’ve already fixed things and everyone goes back to sleep until the next outbreak.

So it’s not surprising the auditor general says the largest meat recall in Canada’s history – that would be the E. coli O157 outbreak last year bureaucratlinked to the former XL Foods in Alberta — exposed serious shortcomings at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The latest report from auditor general Michael Ferguson says the food inspection agency struggles to follow up on routine recalls and to manage major files, such as the one last year at XL Foods.

Ferguson’s team found widespread confusion among agency officials during emergencies.

During the XL Foods recall, for example, the company received multiple calls from agency officials who apparently didn’t know that their responsibilities shifted during the emergency.

The report says all those calls created confusion and added to the company’s already considerable workload during the crisis.

There was further confusion after the agency ordered one distributor to recall products from a date that was not part of the recall.

So why not make food producers publicly accountable, rather than to a bloated agency, and market food safety at retail that can be verified.