The non conformer's Canadian Weblog

February 5, 2009

Health, food safety, Recall and our well being.


The food-safety issue just won’t go away
The Gazette (Montreal) –  Last week’s poison-peanuts case reminds Canadians again that our food-safety system leaves a lot to be desired. Eight Americans died and hundreds more have been sickened in an outbreak of salmonella cases traced back to Peanut Corp.
More than 200 peanut-related products now on Canada’s recall list The Canadian Press
US peanut company may have knowingly shipped tainted goods
The Associated Press – Globe and Mail – New York Times – Washington Post
all 5,377 news articles »..

Let me say it again and again that Self regulation is an unacceptable form of masturbation  rather too often. That applies to Professionals, importers, manufacturers, corporations, the police, civil and public servants.  

Recently we have been reading, hearing about bad food, contaminated food. We were supposed to have a federal department looking after our welfare, food inspections, health matters, but we find out too often instead that it is another typical  back passing, pretentious department, that is willing to take their pay home but not willing to work for it. Now most of the problems that arise through food contamination are raised by the importers or manufacturers themselves and then a voluntary arrangement is usually made with the company to remove those goods from the marketplace and shelves. “This has not always been successful.” We need real, enforced regulations. All food processing plants should be required to have a safety plan and document their compliance. And  standards for imported foods must be upgraded. There’s also consensus that real inspections should be carried out according to common requirements meaning a food safety system  which the sets rules that all players in the food industry must comply with and one that is enforced.


OTTAWA—The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is not doing enough to make sure pests and diseases that destroy crops and trees stay out of the country, Auditor General Sheila Fraser said Thursday. In a  report, Auditor General Sheila Fraser raised alarms about backlogged inspections meant to prevent disease and infestations from invasive alien plants and pests. Canada’s agriculture and forestry sectors produce goods worth about $100 billion a year – industries that can be irreversibly damaged by pest infestations, Fraser said. Yet she found that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is facing a backlog of plant health risk assessments that would take a year to clear.The agency’s pest surveys focus on known invaders to the virtual exclusion of emerging threats, she said. “Our audit findings are serious. The agency needs to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the way it handles imports under its plant health program.”  

While Stephen Harper does nothing good about it? President Barack Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the investigation and peanut product recalls continue in the salmonella outbreak. “I think that the FDA has not been able to catch some of these things as quickly as I expect them to catch,” Obama said . “And so, we’re gonna be doing a complete review of FDA operations.” Obama said Americans should be able to count on the government to keep children safe when they eat peanut butter, and that includes his 7-year-old daughter, Sasha, the AP reported. “That’s what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week,” Obama said. “And you know, I don’t wanna have to worry about whether she’s gonna get sick as a consequence to having her lunch.”
Meanwhile, the recalls of peanut product continued to mount. As of Monday, more than 80 companies had issued recalls for everything from cookies, crackers, cereal and candy to ice cream, trail mix and dog treats . 
We now know that inspectors from the Georgia Department of Agriculture repeatedly noted dirty food contact surfaces, mildew and metal shavings in food preparation areas. But the agency never closed the plant. The company ignored 12 positive test results in a two-year period showing the presence of salmonella. Instead of stopping production and thoroughly cleaning, Peanut Corp. continued to ship its products to market . The Food and Drug Administration hadn’t inspected the plant in eight years.
Since 2006, numerous large  outbreaks have occurred – everything from E. coli-tainted spinach to pet food contaminated with melamine, the ingredient that sickened so many Chinese infants when it showed up in infant formula, bakeed goods, cookies, chocolate bars.. In 2007, Veggie Booty, a fully processed snack for children, caused severe salmonella poisoning in dozens of toddlers. The same year, the FDA recalled canned products containing botulism toxin; state and federal officials went to corner stores all over the country to help remove products that could have caused severe paralysis and death. It was the first major recall for this deadly toxin in decades.  Last summer, Salmonella Saintpaul caused a massive outbreak that was traced first to tomatoes and then to hot peppers. Peanut butter caused another nationwide outbreak, affecting more than 600 people in 2007. While Agriculture Department-regulated meat and poultry plants are visited by a federal inspector every day, the FDA has no minimum inspection mandate. This results in infrequent inspection, averaging one inspection per plant every 10 years. Especially disturbing is how antiquated the penalties are against companies that knowingly violate their food safety responsibilities. There are no civil penalties, and the criminal penalties under the statute would expose Peanut Corp. of America officials to a modest fine of $1,000 per violation, and less than one year in jail. With eight people dead from peanut butter, this is hardly a fair punishment. And it provides little incentive for the industry to improve its food safety practices.,0,7592990.story
 Real food safety  it’s an issue close to the heart and the kitchen table of every  citizen – an issue that  cannot be ignore..
In Canada, the recall of various peanut products has now grown to 120 items. Another 19 products were added to the recall list late Tuesday. Among them is Kawartha Dairy Heavenly Hash Ice Cream in 1.5 and 11.4-litre sizes. Also included are another 17 American products under Cinch, Detour, Oh Yeah!, Disney, Sinbad Sweets and no-name brands.
“It was filthy and nasty all around the place,” And a whistle blower hotline is needed because many of the employees often talked among themselves about the bad factory conditions, but   most workers did not complain to management because they wanted to keep their jobs.
First we need still a full  review of the waste, fraud, and abuse that has plagued governmental. efforts. What is also needed is a program to remove public officials from office that take our money and spend it on their own false pet projects while many of our people still are not getting the help that they need.
Federal Deficit , economic, job creation and capital expenditure programs… are still untrustworthy. Being a past  senior civil, mechanical , projects engineer, project manager myself here now are   the major problem I righty still do had with capital expenditure projects even under PM Jean Chretien and never   mind next under PM Stephen Harper firstly: and it is  is that when you give do monies for a specific capital expenditure projects to the Provinces, Municipalities as well, and just like in many of the non profit organizations now too, a significant portion of the money firstly never even gets to the intended sources but it is diverted elsewhere.. Diverted to: such as paying for existing deficits, debts, unprofitable civil and public services, departments, Crown Corporations too, ineffective overheads, unrelated operating costs  in the provincial , municipal departments. Now since all that happens even before it hits the supposedly private sectors we need to address that too. Now next as to the supposedly private sectors and related projects expenditures , totally honest and fair governmental competition bids still tends not to exists. So no one can make me into a believer that this all of this taxpayer’s money will solely go all into a valid job creation program spurring on the general economy. The existing projects, capital expenditure safeguards are still just not totally there, not the related transparency, accountably as well.. even even you try to use an ex retired, RCMP officer as a supervisor in the contracts, purchasing department, for by now we all should now who immoral, untrustworthy even the RCMP now are too in fact. Some of the money will likely be used even out of the country for a selected few persons rather too.. Are many of the  civil servants, politicians still taking their holidays overseas at tax payers expenses? There are still much too many abusive and questionable expenses: All still Unacceptable too. sky is not falling but God is sifting all persons to reveal what they are really made up off.. for their own good as well..

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