Double secret probation: ‘Special team’ to check work of CFIA inspectors

Health Minister Rona Ambrose is sending a special team to check the work of nearly 40 Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors at a meat processing plant in Alberta.

“I’m going to send them in to make sure everything is okay,” Ambrose said during question period Thursday, after NDP MP Laurin Liu said Canadians are at risk because of inadequate E. coli testing.

CTV News first reported Wednesday on government documents that show meat tainted with E. coli bacteria from the plant in Brooks, Alta., was detected by U.S. food inspectors in 2014.

That was two years after the government shut down the plant – formerly operated by XL Foods – after at least 18 people were sickened by meat containing the bacteria.

The documents also noted hygiene concerns, including employees standing in “two to three inches of pooling blood and contaminated water,” lack of running water in the bathroom sinks, and unflushed toilets with fecal matter.

JBS Foods, the Brazil-based company that now owns the plant, said any problems indicated in the inspections have been resolved.

Ambrose said that a 2014 Conference Board of Canada report that ranked Canada’s food inspection system first among 17 industrialized countries is proof the CFIA is “doing an excellent job.”

It’s proof politicians will cite bogus studies and believe their own press releases.