New five-year review of food safety resources and inspectors, passed by Senate

OTTAWA – Senators have amended a bill on food safety to include a mandatory review every five years of the resources and inspectors available to enforce the system.

The review will be conducted by the federal agriculture minister.

But the senators stopped short of adopting a Liberal amendment that would have had the auditor general do the job.

Conservative senators — who have a majority on the committee handling the bill — say Parliament has no business micro-managing the duties of the auditor general.

But Liberals argue that the minister has a conflict of interest in reviewing his own provisions and so the review should be handled by a third party in order to give the public more confidence in the food they eat.

The bill overhauls the legal infrastructure of food safety and generally has the support of all parties, industry and unions.

It still needs to pass the House of Commons before becoming law.

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