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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses claim against Island Corridor Foundation

Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation was seeking return of reserve land as railway sits unused

What’s in a name? Ladysmith’s historical streets re-examined

Several streets in downtown Ladysmith are named after generals that served in the Boer War

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Retired Ladysmith master mariner publishes memoir of a life at sea

John Anderson’s book: Of Times and Tides is a vivid memoir of decades in the shipping industry

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Most Read