The beat goes on.
Brian Evans, executive vice-president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, wrote in the Globe and Mail this morning that the only part of a July 24 meeting between officials from Maple Leaf Foods and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that concerned listeria centred around consistency between Canada’s approach to import testing and monitoring, and that of other countries.
Michael McCain of Maple Leaf said the same thing in a March 4, 2009, press release,
"While we welcome open discussion of the outbreak in any and all reviews to ensure appropriate lessons are drawn from this tragedy, we take the strongest possible exception to any inference that we withheld information from the public."
As I said March 4, those explanations are probably true.
But CFIA and Maple Leaf — especially Maple Leaf if it’s the world-class thingy it claims to be – need to publicly state, for the record, who knew what when, instead of continuous damage control every time someone asks a question.
Evans also writes today that,
These consultations had nothing to do with the listeria outbreak that was brought to light several weeks later and to which the agency responded quickly and professionally.
No one can judge whether the agency responded quickly and professionally because a detailed timeline of who knew what when is simply not available. If McCain really valued “open discussion of the outbreak” they would publicize their own listeria test results leading up to the public recall in an outbreak that killed 20.