Kick-started government response
Chris Kype, president of Food Processors of Canada, applauded the government’s action as a good first step in addressing the issues raised by Sheila Weatherill following her investigation into the crisis that revealed systemic failures in the nation’s food safety regime.
Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the programme would act on all 57 recommendations made by Weatherill’s report.
The ministers said the funds would improve the Government’s ability to “prevent, detect and respond to future food-borne illness outbreaks”.
Under the measures, 166 new food safety staff will be employed, with 70 of those focusing on ready-to-eat-meat facilities. The government has also pledged to provide 24/7 availability of health risk assessment teams to improve support to food safety investigations.
The cash will also be used to improve communications among federal and provincial department and agencies – another shortcoming identified in the listeria probe.
The new programme will further bid to improve communication to those most vulnerable to a food-borne outbreak During the Maple Leaf outbreak consumers were not given the necessary information, said investigators. Federal communications were characterized as “slow off the mark” and they “ceased too quickly”.
The plan will see improvements in detection methods for Listeria monocytogenes and other hazards in food to reduce testing times and enable a faster response during food safety investigations. This will also expand the Government's ability to carry out extra Listeria testing.
Fuente: Food Quality News
Aporte Leidy Beltrán