Food security is a growing concern

MP Jean Crowder writes that access to local, safe, humane slaughterhouses is one concern she continues to hear.

Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP Jean Crowder

Local food security is a growing concern among my constituents.

Access to local, safe, humane slaughterhouses is one concern that farmers and food activists continue to raise.

It is clear that consumers and producers on Vancouver Island want small, local-scale slaughter and meat-packing plants, and we do have a number in neighbouring communities, including one in Westholme.

Even these provincially-regulated facilities are feeling the chill from the largest food recall in Canadian history and consumer wariness around the safety of our meat supply.

The first duty of any government is to keep citizens safe from harm. But it was American inspectors, not Canadian ones, who detected E.coli bacteria in beef from Canada’s XL Foods.

It took our government 12 days to issue even their first, limited recall. And the Agriculture Minister tried to reassure Canadians that no tainted beef had reached store shelves.

The next day, media began reporting on Canadians falling ill from tainted meat and the largest food recall in our history; fully a third of all Canadian beef products had to be pulled from the shelves.

The Conservatives’ priorities on food safety are wrong. They adopted “industry self-regulation” for food safety. They cut funding for food inspection in their last budget. And they’re wrong to not take responsibility for this and help all of the beef producers, large and small, that are seeing their sales decline.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency Reports on Plans and Priorities — signed and tabled by the Minister of Agriculture himself on May 8 — makes it clear why food inspection services are waning.

“Planned Spending is declining by approximately $46.6 million and 314 FTE’s from 2012-13 to 2014-15.” — 1.5.1 Financial Resources and Human Resources CFIA Reports on Plans and Priorities.

When consumers lose confidence, it’s the industry that pays the price.

According to experts, the BSE crisis cost the beef industry more than $5.5 billion. Our small producers were hurt just as much as the large producers even though they often do not have the same food safety problems.

The union representing workers at the XL Foods plant in Brooks confirmed that workers have been scared into refusing to report food safety issues at the plant. Among these serious concerns is a failure to properly clean knives on the production line and a processing speed that is far too fast.

Conservatives should start listening to worried families, take this crisis seriously and help mitigate the impact on Canada’s beef industry.

The priority should be the services Canadians depend on and the safety of our food supply.

Just Posted

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Waterfront Gallery ends 2019 with Christmas themed members show

Over 70 artists are on display for the Christmas exhibiton at Davis Road School

Paul Manly votes against first Liberal confidence vote ‘based on principle’

Manly was the only opposition party member outside the Conservative party to vote against Bill C-2

ILWU Local 508 organized toy drive to support families impacted by WFP strike

The toy drive raised over $2,500 in cash, over $1,000 in gift cards, and a big pile of toys

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

Most Read