Producers and processors have managed to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria found in poultry meat, says the U.S. National Chicken Council.  |  File Photo

U.S. industry leaps to defend safety of poultry meat

Responding to study | Consumer Reports says it finds bacteria in chicken

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) — U.S. poultry producers have dramatically reduced the presence of harmful bacteria in poultry meat, a trade group said while defending the industry’s food safety record. “The numbers tell us we’re making tremendous progress,” the National Chicken Council said in a statement that described poultry as overwhelmingly safe to eat. It pointed […] Read more

Federal inspectors can be embedded in meat packing plants, like this one at High River, Alta., for years.  |  File photo

Union defends CFIA inspectors

XL Foods report | PSAC president says better training, more inspectors needed

Food inspectors at the XL Foods plant, which triggered the largest beef recall in Canadian history last year, were not the source of the problem, says their union leader. Bob Kingston, president of the agricultural union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said front-line inspectors were often following the lead of their managers. “It […] Read more

Accountability has become key in the food industry.  |  file photo

Welcome to new normal in food safety

Food traceability, which is a powerful tool to mitigate risks across food supply chains, does not guarantee food safety and integrity. Even so, the challenge of tracking food products and ingredients upstream and downstream touches on the core of what is required to manage risks posed by the new normal in the business of food […] Read more

Needle fragments hurt entire industry

Always carry a marker. That’s one of the simple steps hog barn workers can take to eliminate the risk of broken needles ending up in the processing line at the slaughter plants, says Maple Leaf pig procurement manager Robert Mackay. “Just mark the pig,” Mackay said during a presentation at the Manitoba Swine Seminar. “Have […] Read more

Local food supporters must not forget that safe handling rules and processing methods originated from large-scale food production, says a policy analyst.  |  File photo

Local food proponents exploit XL recall

It’s no surprise that local food activists are using the recent XL Foods beef recall to push their agenda. After all, the beef recall involving the plant in Brooks, Alta., affected more than 2,000 products and is being called the largest beef recall in Canadian history. Seventeen people have so far been diagnosed with E. […] Read more

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is under fire over another incident at the XL Foods plant near Brooks, Alta. | Barb Glen photo

Memo raises inspection questions

Beef line at XL Foods | Government says opposition is misinterpreting the memo’s meaning

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is under fire over another incident at the XL Foods plant near Brooks, Alta. The incident involves a memo that appeared to order carcass contamination be ignored at one inspection point. This autumn, E. coli-contaminated meat sent out of the plant resulted in the largest meat recall in Canadian history […] Read more

Industry assured of input on food safety rules

Food safety legislation passes | Agriculture minister Gerry Ritz wants work to begin quickly on creating new regulations

Legislation aimed at strengthening the food inspection system and food safety received unanimous House of Commons approval last week. Now, the nitty-gritty work of creating regulations begins. The regulations, months from being completed, will define how the legislation directly affects industries subject to Canadian Food Inspection Agency authority. During committee hearings, several supportive industry groups […] Read more

CFIA cuts, fewer inspectors, cause E. coli crisis: Mulcair

Opposition leader Thomas Mulcair says agriculture minister Gerry Ritz “should be booted out” for overseeing budget cuts that put food safety at risk and refusing to accept responsibility. He used a 70-minute speech on the government budget implementation bill Oct. 24 to slam the government for trimming food inspection budgets and for bungling the E. […] Read more

Cattle are loaded through the chute into the plant in this file image of XL Foods in Brooks, Alta.  |  File photo

Safety compliance system ‘stupid’

New system needed | Industry veteran says existing meat safety system too convoluted

The E. coli contamination at XL Foods highlights the need to get rid of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s deeply flawed compliance verification system, says an industry veteran. “That thing needs to be chucked out. It needs to be chucked out, not revamped,” said Gerald Third, who spent 32 years in the meat packing business […] Read more

Experts split on food’s role in fueling revolution

MONTREAL — A remarkable photograph from Polish anti-Communist demonstrations three decades ago showed a striking dockworker with a sign: “Hungry workers eat their leaders.” Some analysts have attributed Middle East uprisings last year to wide-spread anger over high food prices. And famously during the Russian Revolution in 1917, the triumphant Bolsheviks made bread for hungry […] Read more