Canadian Election: A Glimpse into Harper’s Future For Food in Canada
The Food Industry in the US is a disaster and it’s already come our way under Harper’s watch. Over the last two, the Harper Republicans Conservatives have handcuffed Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors in the interest of letting companies run their own show.
This has proven to be a deadly experiment.
However, it’s common-place in the US, where death from from e-coli and other diseases has become routine.
Here’s an interesting investigation into the food industry in the US and what it might mean to Canadians if we elect another Harper government:
From the first reports of a salmonella outbreak this spring, it took a full 89 days before jalapeño and serrano peppers correctly came under suspicion as the culprit. During that period, as more than 1,440 victims trickled in to hospitals, federal officials struggled to trace the source of the outbreak, erroneously singling out tomatoes for weeks before homing in on peppers. No sooner had that outbreak tapered off than the high-end Whole Foods Market was forced to launch a massive recall of E. coli-infested ground beef.
But the new model (of privatized inspections) has also created some alarming potential gaps. For one thing, there’s no certification system for these third-party inspectors. Critics worry that retailers hire these companies not only to ensure food quality but also as a defense mechanism to help protect their public image in case something goes wrong. "These audits are like icing on the cake of litigation," says Bill Marler, the attorney who represented more than 100 victims in the 1993 E. coli outbreak case linked to the Jack in the Box fast-food chain. "Every major manufacturer does them, and every manufacturer pays no attention to them."
The price tag is important. With new technology, companies can do all sorts of wild—if at times unsettling—things to keep food free of bacteria. For one thing, they can zap it with radiation. The government approved irradiated meat in 1997, and regulators last month gave the nod to leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach. But irradiation is still controversial. Advocacy groups say it ruins taste and destroys nutrients, and consumer fears about irradiation have limited its adoption. More broadly, companies with effective new products—be they oxidizing sprays, viral cocktails, or microbe detectors—often struggle to find buyers, because of either costs or public concerns.
Brrr. In the upcoming Canadian Election, people who think this OK can go ahead and vote Conservative. Folks that actually like food should think twice, though. A Harper majority will spell massive privatization of not just the food industry, but all other industries.