Saturday, 4 April 2009

Food Insecurity

Paul Caron, a former food inspector with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) began speaking out this week about the weakness of our nation's food security, specifically regarding our vulnerability to cases of bioterrorism or future outbreaks of naturally occurring diseases (eg Salmonella, Lysteriosis).

When probing for details, it's hard not to agree with him that the status quo is inadequate and embarrassing, especially given the high level of awareness generated during last year's Maple Leaf Foods fiasco. Examples of vulnerabilities cited, in the context of meat, include:

- Where the US inspects all meat entering their borders, Canada not only pre clears meat imports before they're even at the border, but gives exporters at least three days notice whether their shipments will be checked or not checked.

- Once crossing the border, it's not just that only 1/10 shipments are sent to inspection facilities for a closer look, but of that 1/10 - the foreign company that sends its meat to Canada can hand pick which specific facility will 'inspect' their product. Pretty independent, huh?

Moral of the story, in the absence of new measures, one can smuggle just about anything into Canada via meat shipments.


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