Food Safety

Tenderized beef will soon need labels
Publish Date: 20-JUL-2014 01:25 PM
Canadian shoppers will be able to see next month if the beef they’re buying has been mechanically tenderized. Labelling regulations to take effect Aug. 21 are designed to protect consumers after the largest meat recall in the country’s history two years ago. Health Canada says beef that has been mechanically tenderized must have a sticker saying that. Packaged steaks must also have cooking instructions. 
 
CFIA shuts down first new P.E.I. lobster processor in a decade
Publish Date: 18-MAY-2014 03:08 PM
HOWARDS COVE - A Howards Cove seafood processing plant has not had its registration renewed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). A CIFA spokesperson said Red Cove seafood processing was allowed to resume operations following an earlier suspension on April 14 under ongoing inspection by CFIA. On May 8, CFIA decided not to renew Red Cove’s registration. Red Cove Seafood Products Inc. in Howard’s Cove was given the first new lobster processing licence in more than a decade on April 30 this year. 
 
Ottawa rejects union's claim that food is unsafe
Publish Date: 30-APR-2014 10:56 AM
Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose accused Canada's largest public-sector union Tuesday of irresponsibly undermining Canadians' confidence in the safety of their food. The union alleged last week that federal job cuts have left consumers vulnerable to ripoffs and tainted food. "The union's portrayal is not accurate and irresponsibly undermines public confidence in the knowledge that the food on their dinner table is safe," she told Postmedia News in a statement. 
 
Union warns of reduced meat inspections, more food fraud in Vancouver
Publish Date: 22-APR-2014 08:39 AM
VANCOUVER – Canada’s food safety system is being pushed beyond its limits, warns the union representing federal food inspectors, which singles out Vancouver area-consumers as potentially the most at risk. Some $35 million and 192 inspectors are on the food safety program’s chopping block over the next two years, according to online documents posted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The agency has also disbanded a team of inspectors dedicated to protecting consumers from food fraud throughout Metro Vancouver. The Consumer Protection Unit once boasted 11 inspectors, but that number dwindled to four due to attrition.  
 
Canada’s chicken farmers ban injections that trigger superbugs
Publish Date: 17-APR-2014 03:01 PM
Canadian chicken farmers are putting an end to controversial egg injections, which provided the world with a “textbook” example of the perils of mass medication. By injecting eggs at hatcheries with ceftiofur, a medically important antibiotic, the farmers triggered the rise of resistant microbes that showed up in both chickens and in Canadians creating a “major” public health concern. The case – documented by federal and provincial sleuths who track microbes at farms, slaughterhouses and retail meat counters – is held up as powerful evidence of resistant superbugs moving from farm to fork. “It is going to be in medical textbooks for as long as there are textbooks around,” says John Prescott, a professor with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. 
 
Fewer science officers on public lands
Publish Date: 24-MAR-2014 10:51 AM
The Professional Employees Association, which represents 2,500 people who work for the provincial government, has released a report showing its membership declined 19 per cent in the past five years.  
 
Appel à la prudence de l’OCDE - L’assainissement des finances doit se poursuivre, mais pas au prix d’une crise sociale (French only)
Publish Date: 19-MAR-2014 02:24 PM
Les gouvernements doivent prendre garde, dans leurs efforts d’assainissement des finances, de ne pas aggraver les problèmes d’inégalité et de fracture sociale qui se sont accélérés avec la Grande Récession, prévient l’OCDE. La plupart des indicateurs de qualité de vie sont toujours en berne dans les pays développés, notamment en matière de revenu des ménages, d’emploi des jeunes, de partage de la richesse, de dépenses en éducation, et même en matière de taux de fécondité. 
 
Government suggests no need to test for radiation
Publish Date: 05-MAR-2014 08:49 AM
Health Canada is citing two separate series of radiation tests on BC fish, along with ongoing ocean monitoring, as reasons why regular domestic seafood testing is not warranted in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. “What we’ve seen so far presents no health risk,” said Sean Upton, Health Canada senior media relations officer. “If increased radiation is found in the waters in 2014 or 2015 then more testing would be done, as needed. We know there’s going to be radiation from Fukushima for years to come. The testing will never stop.” 
 
Feds need to do more to fight climate change, finds deputy ministers’ report
Publish Date: 21-FEB-2014 08:17 AM
A secret report from a committee of federal deputy ministers stresses the need for the federal government to further combat climate change and manage the risks that threaten Canadian communities, government infrastructure, food security and human health. The report from the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment to the Clerk of the Privy Council Wayne Wouters also identifies priority areas for potential “government intervention” on energy and environmental innovation, including taking action on unconventional oil and gas, water and next-generation transportation. 
 
When Will Harper’s People Stop Denying Climate Change
Publish Date: 18-FEB-2014 08:44 AM
One of most unpredictable and dangerous impacts of climate change is the threat it poses to our ability to grow and harvest food across Canada and around the globe.On a global scale, food security in the age of climate change is a serious concern with reports warning that climate change could drive up food prices and lead to millions of people living in a state of food insecurity. In the context of this agricultural insecurity, Gerry Ritz, Canada's Minister for Agriculture, told the House of Commons last week that "this cold weather can't last forever. This global warming has to stop some time". 
 
Boîtes à surprises (French only)
Publish Date: 17-FEB-2014 08:26 AM
Ottawa a promis en 2004 de bannir les produits de santé naturels risqués ou inefficaces. Dix ans - et des dizaines de ratés - plus tard, c'est apparemment un échec. Une nouvelle étude démontre que des dizaines de produits approuvés contiennent encore des ingrédients cachés ou nocifs. Et de plus en plus de voix accusent le ministère de la Santé d'approuver presque n'importe quoi.  
 
Food insecurity in Canada growing worse
Publish Date: 06-FEB-2014 09:01 AM
Food insecurity — lack of access to sufficient, healthy food — is either not getting any better or is getting worse in all parts of Canada, according to a new report. Valerie Tarasuk of the University of Toronto was the lead researcher for the Household Food Insecurity in Canada report, which was produced with support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and released Thursday morning. 
 
Federal attack on science reveals totalitarian streak
Publish Date: 16-JAN-2014 10:13 AM
Last week, CBC’s Fifth Estate presented an excellent summary of the Harper government’s approach toward basic research in Canada. “Silence of the Labs” (viewable at cbc.ca) enumerates the many ways Ottawa is conducting a war of attrition on science. 
 
Mulcair veut réformer le régime d’inspection ferroviaire (French only)
Publish Date: 09-JAN-2014 09:37 AM
Le gouvernement Harper doit revoir de fond en comble le régime d'inspection des chemins de fer, dit le chef de l'opposition, Thomas Mulcair. Selon lui, on ne peut confier cette tâche aux entreprises privées, car elles « vont toujours couper les coins ronds ». 
 
U.S. food-safety audit gives Canada low grade, calls for better meat oversight
Publish Date: 07-JAN-2014 03:23 PM
A U.S. audit of Canada’s food-safety system calls on the federal regulator to strengthen oversight of sanitation and the humane handling of animals at meat-slaughtering plants. The findings from the tour of seven food-processing facilities, two laboratories and five Canadian Food Inspection Agency offices in the fall of 2012 were kept confidential until recently. 
 
Neonicotinoid pesticides blamed for bee deaths could affect humans, EU agency says
Publish Date: 20-DEC-2013 08:23 AM
Neonicotinoid pesticides that are widely used on crops in Canada could have adverse affects on the human nervous system, the European Food Safety Authority declared this week. The chemicals, used to treat corn, soybean and canola seeds, have previously been blamed for mass honey bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec, prompting Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulation Agency (PMRA) to proclaim current practices of neonicotinoid use “not sustainable.”  
 
Healthy food policies at risk, scientists say
Publish Date: 01-DEC-2013 02:03 PM
Health Canada has stacked its food advisory panels with industry insiders who threaten to derail healthy food initiatives, a new report alleges. A group of scientists and researchers published a critical paper in the journal Open Medicine lambasting the federal government for biasing its advisory panels – groups that routinely advise the department on its food policies – by including too many individuals or researchers who work for or receive funding from food corporations. 
 
L'industrie alimentaire influence les politiques de Santé Canada
Publish Date: 27-NOV-2013 10:42 AM
Plusieurs comités consultatifs de Santé Canada qui ont pour mission de recommander au gouvernement l’adoption de règlements ou politiques en matière de nutrition et de normes alimentaires sont noyautés par des individus entretenant des relations plus ou moins directes avec l’industrie alimentaire, révèle une étude publiée mardi dans la revue Open Medicine. Cette situation pour le moins inquiétante serait en grande partie responsable de l’inaction du gouvernement canadien quand vient le temps d’instaurer des mesures visant notamment à assainir les aliments commercialisés au pays. 
 
Auditor general concerned about food and rail safety, border security
Publish Date: 26-NOV-2013 01:29 PM
Canada's Auditor General has raised red flags around food safety, border security, emergency plans in First Nations communities living on reserves and rail safety in his annual fall report tabled on Tuesday. Michael Ferguson found that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency did recall unsafe food products in a timely fashion, but the recall system fell apart once a major food recall was announced. 
 
Des lacunes minent le rappel des aliments contaminés, dit le vérificateur
Publish Date: 26-NOV-2013 10:45 AM
Des problèmes importants minent le système de rappel des aliments contaminés, a relevé le vérificateur général du Canada dans son rapport de l'automne 2013. Et si les cas de maladies ont pu être limités dans le cadre des rappels examinés, Michael Ferguson n'est pas certain que cela sera toujours le cas. Il a noté des lacunes dans les procédures d'urgence, utilisées lors des rappels de grande envergure, comme le retrait de la viande de l'entreprise XL Foods en 2012. Le système a créé de la confusion chez les personnes responsables de mener à bon port les rappels - et donc causé des erreurs et des retards. «L'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments gère bien la plupart des aspects des rappels. Toutefois, tant au plan du suivi post-rappel auprès de l'industrie qu'à celui des grands rappels d'urgence, les faiblesses que nous avons relevées soulignent des lacunes importantes dans le système de rappel des aliments», conclut M. Ferguson.