Quote of the Day: Wayne Roberts on Food Safety

Photo credit: chronos_tachyon @ flickr
We have written previously about the massive recall of meat in Canada in the face of a fatal outbreak of Listeria. Maple Leaf Foods President Michael McCain has accepted blame; Now Magazine writer Wayne Roberts says that it isn't the company, it is the system that has become too centralized, and where the equipment runs too fast.

"The system known as HACCP — Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, or, as critics call it, Have Another Cup of Coffee and Pray — has been the norm since mass-production factories with poorly paid and non-union workers became part of the recipe for cheap meat. Several leading food safety analysts — and a number of disease outbreaks — confirm that the HACCP system is inadequate.

But a better inspection system can only work in a more expensive, slower, decentralized production system."

Inspections would need to be slower and more expensive. If principles of equity and health were followed, the costs of inspection would be passed on to people who choose to eat meat, not taxpayers, so the real price of safe meat would become transparent, and healthier alternatives to meat would have more price appeal.

"We need to relocalize the food system so we're not facing national outbreaks of this scale," argues Dr. Lorna Medd, an outspoken chief medical officer of health on Vancouver Island. ::Now Magazine
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Tags: Canada | Corporate Responsibility | Food Safety | Toxins