Michael Doyle, a microbiologist with the University of Georgia, was to address that topic Monday while making the keynote address at the general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.And how safe are Canadians?
Doyle and others are sounding the alarm about increasing proportions of food being imported - mostly because it costs less - from countries where sanitary standards for production are not as stringent as in places such as Canada and the United States.
A Canadian Food Inspection Agency spokeswoman, when asked for comment on the safety of imported food, said in an email that "Canada's rigorous food safety requirements apply equally to imported and domestic foods." ... However, an internal audit of CFIA released in September found there were "deficiencies" with regard to its procedures dealing with imported food. The audit found that there are no mechanisms in place to ensure the quality of imported food is equivalent to that produced in Canada, other than for meat, fish and eggs. It said there was poor tracking to ensure the quality of products including beverages, infant formula, confectionaries, cereals, spices and seasonings, and baked products.But Canadians also need to be concerned with food processed at home.
That CFIA report said the inflation-adjusted value of food imported increased to $21.8 billion in 2006 from $14.2 billion in 1997. On its website, the CFIA says more than 70 per cent of food products sold in Canada are imported.
Under the guise of eliminating red tape, the Harper government has been systematically tearing down any protections that stand in the way of corporate profit. At what has been dubbed the "jelly bean summit", Harper and George Bush agreed to lower safety standards, to come closer to those of Mexico, and adopted a new strategy, known as "risk management".
This allows many companies to inspect themselves, but if things go wrong, they have to clean up their own mess. The government will take no responsibility.
When Jim Flaherty announced the elimination of 80,000 public service jobs, many of those jobs are in "food safety".
They say "you are what you eat", and that could mean feeling crappy.