We often quote people in Western Producer news stories who say Canada has the safest food in the world. That is a difficult statement to prove or disprove but most Canadians believe it is true. A recent poll says so.
And farmers, the people who produce Canadian food, are the most confident in food safety of anyone, which I think we can take as a very good sign.
A government commissioned survey indicates 51 percent of consumers are very confident in the safety of food produced in Canada. Among farmers, 71 percent are very confident.
Neither Canadian consumers nor farmers have a lot of faith in the safety of imported food. Only 33 percent of consumers think imported foods are safe. Among farmers, only 10 percent said they are confident in the safety of imported food.
Do farmers know something that consumers don’t? Or are the survey results coloured by farmers’ desire to promote their own products? Or both?
It’s difficult to say what constitutes a good national food safety record. We know Canada is not problem-free. But most of us do have healthy suspicions about food produced in other countries, where we don’t know the safeguards and protocols that are in place, and whether they are monitored or enforced.
Food-borne illness occurs even in places where we assume there are reasonable precautions. Have you been following the cantaloupe situation in Colorado? Listeria monocytogenes bacteria on cantaloupe has killed 23 people and sickened 116 so far.
Clearly no country can afford to be complacent about food safety.