Skip to content

Tag: Listeria

The Food Crises: Logic is not Required in Food Production

The company also said today that it would create a new position – chief food safety officer – among other measures it’s taking to restore consumer confidence in its brands.

Maple Leaf Foods Announces that they didn’t have an official in charge of caring for food safety until now.  –September 17, 2008.

Food safety concerns are as old as fire-baked ham.  Some societies had so much trouble with food safety that they placed cultural taboos on food that was difficult to handle safely in their enviornment (I’m looking at the middle east here).   In the “modern and western” world food taboos run more towards comfort than cleanliness; Westerners don’t eat “pet” animals like Dogs or Hamsters; where some societies do.  The actual safety of the food is expected to be sacrosanct, that food producers would act in their own best interests to ensure food cleanliness and safety.  If there is any lesson to take from the BES and Listeria crises, it is that food producers don’t really take more than a passing interest in food safety that can’t be done for cheap and that the governments don’t take it any more seriously.

If there is any evidence of the latter it is the utter lack of head rolling at Maple Leaf foods due to massive fines.  People have died due to  the [in]action[s] of the company and yet I have not seen a negligent homicide or manslaughter charge appear in the news headlines.  No Maple Leaf Food execs in handcuffs.  No real outcome save the loss of money.  The Federal Governmentappears to be so far in bed with industry that they simply can’t bring themselves to prosecute their friends, for fear of looking tough on corporations.  This is the standard falacy of modern governments, corporations exists to simplify relations between governments and business, instead it seems to make Governments fear to act towards the same with the same strength as they would against another individual.

During a late-August conference call with members of the Prime Minister’s Office and Health Minister Tony Clement’s office, Ritz made quips about the potential political impact of the tragic outbreak traced to a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto.

“This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts,” Ritz said.

And when told about a new death from listeriosis on Prince Edward Island, the Minister said: “Please tell me it’s (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter.”

Gerry Ritz demonstrating the level of candor one expects from the Tories

Once again Jack Layton & his Crystal ball say’s “Not the kind of change Canadians were looking for”.
Of course layton is refering to the cabinet shuffle, So once again Jack has stated that he knows what we are thinking. Unfortantly for jack he was not able to read my mind, & that is not what iam thinking of him this very moment.(One word begins with A ends with E, or is it 2)
Viewed on CanadaAm can be seen at

Posted by: bryanr at August 15, 2007 1:30 PM

Gerry Ritz is typical of the type of Government Functionary that leads to these kinds of problems, more concerned with “sticking it” to the “lazy, welfare addicted” farmers than with actual governance. This kind of thinking is part of the cause of the current economic downturn that the whole world is experiencing and appears to be an outgrowth of the Business over Governance mentality that has become pervasive in the Conservative movement since the sixties.

However, I think that the statement that I opened with sums up the problem with poor government oversight, there wasn’t already a person or persons responsible for food safety at Maple Leaf foods and one would imagine that food safety should have been job number one for a food production plant.