BTC: Still nothing to see here

The Toronto Star and CBC roll out a joint investigation on food safety, linking the present situation to a 2005 report that highlighted various shortcomings in the system.

And the critics continue to rave.

The review contains “shocking” examples of incompetence, says Michael McBane, national co-ordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition. And holes in the food safety system are growing, he says. “The Harper government has made a bad situation worse by going with further self-inspection measures, moving to more deregulation, more voluntary compliance,” he said. “I think all parties need to rethink this. And I think Canadians need to push all parties to get a clear commitment to revert to government regulation”…

Amir Attaran, a member of the University of Ottawa’s faculties of medicine and law, fears for the public’s safety. “Because of some decisions to deregulate food inspections … it’s fair to say that the government is endangering Canadians’ lives three times a day: It’s called breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Attaran, one of the editors at the Canadian Medical Association Journal who demanded a public inquiry into the listeriosis outbreak in its most recent edition. “Unless we have a very serious look at food safety regulation to re-empower food inspectors … we’re going to see (a major outbreak) happen again,” he said…

Doug Powell, a Canadian food safety expert working at Kansas State University, said any warnings officials received from the review appear to have been ignored. “It’s contentment with mediocrity. The bureaucrats don’t seem to care very much. They all talk a good game, but they never think it will happen to them, so they just go on.”

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