Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Well ... Isn't This Special...

In this morning's Globe and Mail, we learn that government cuts to food inspection to enable handing the whole business over to industry were already underway when things went awry at Maple Leaf Foods.

However, some of the plans have been in place since March 31, according to a CFIA manager and an official from the union that represents the federal inspectors.

At the Maple Leaf plant behind the listeria outbreak, a single federal inspector was relegated to auditing company paperwork and had to deal with several other plants, the manager and the union official said, contradicting the impression that officials had left last week that full-time watchdogs were on-site.

While auditing some of the paper trail is no doubt part of the inspector's job, we should be eminently clear that food inspection needs to be happening on the production floor much more than in a back office with a box of old files.

Under the old system, inspectors had a more hands-on role on the plant floor, did more of the tests themselves and had more freedom to investigate, said former CFIA inspector Bob Kingston, who is national president of the Agriculture Union, a branch of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Let's have a little more fun with this shall we? Just what does PMSH have to say for his government's obviously brain-dead actions?

"It's necessary to reform and revamp our food- and product-inspection regime after some years of neglect," he said yesterday. "As you know, in the recent budget, we put considerably more inspectors and resources into this."

Mr. Harper rejected any suggestions that the federal government is not doing enough.

"Obviously we want to make sure that the companies maintain their responsibilities and that we fully review all the facts here to understand what went wrong and how we can prevent it in the future."

Uh huh. Adding inspectors does nothing when you hand the actual inspection process over to the producing companies.

I swear this Prime Minister is starting to take glib lessons from Brian Mulroney. Otherwise he wouldn't be able to spin half the fibs he does and keep a straight face in the process.

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