Meat Recall Scandal in Canada

CANADA - It came to light over the weekend, that the recall of meat produced by Maple Leaf meat company, that caused 19 deaths and has left 30 people seriously ill in hospital, could have started 6 days earlier.
calendar icon 30 September 2008
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According to the Argentine Beef Packers S.A., government officials advised the staff of hospitals and nursing homes, to stop serving Maple Leaf products at least 5 days before the public were informed.

The Canadian Federal Foods Inspection Agency (CFIA), is now coming under fire from the government and media, after the allegations that some of the deaths from the deadly food poisoning Listeriosis could have been prevented.

Canadian Agricultural Minister, Gerry Ritz said in an email on 27 September, “If any structural problems emerge from the investigation, they will be addressed, I assure you that the government is taking the matter very seriously”.

Garfield Balsom, a spokesman for the CFIA, defended the agency's practices saying “Once we have the evidence to indicate that the product is affected, then we do the appropriate recall and we do it quickly and efficiently”.

The CFIA launched its investigation on 6 August but it is now alleged they were aware of the outbreak of listeriosis on 30 July.

Michael McBane, national co-ordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition, said the agency should not be in charge of food safety as this is a conflicting mandate to their role of promoting trade and industry.

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