POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :            10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :                        Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :                        Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

 

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

 

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :            10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :                        Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :                        Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

 

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

 

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
Doug Powell – Barf Blog

Health Minister Rona Ambrose is sending a special team to check the work of nearly 40 Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors at a meat processing plant in Alberta.

“I’m going to send them in to make sure everything is okay, ” Ambrose said during question period Thursday, after NDP MP Laurin Liu said Canadians are at risk because of inadequate E. coli testing.

CTV News first reported Wednesday on government documents that show meat tainted with E. coli bacteria from the plant in Brooks, Alta., was detected by U.S. food inspectors in 2014.

That was two years after the government shut down the plant – formerly operated by XL Foods – after at least 18 people were sickened by meat containing the bacteria.

The documents also noted hygiene concerns, including employees standing in “two to three inches of pooling blood and contaminated water,” lack of running water in the bathroom sinks, and unflushed toilets with fecal matter.

JBS Foods, the Brazil-based company that now owns the plant, said any problems indicated in the inspections have been resolved.

Ambrose said that a 2014 Conference Board of Canada report that ranked Canada’s food inspection system first among 17 industrialized countries is proof the CFIA is “doing an excellent job.”

It’s proof politicians will cite bogus studies and believe their own press releases.

© Doug Powell and Ben Chapman
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :            10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :                        Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :                        Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

 

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

 

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
Doug Powell – Barf Blog

Health Minister Rona Ambrose is sending a special team to check the work of nearly 40 Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors at a meat processing plant in Alberta.

“I’m going to send them in to make sure everything is okay, ” Ambrose said during question period Thursday, after NDP MP Laurin Liu said Canadians are at risk because of inadequate E. coli testing.

CTV News first reported Wednesday on government documents that show meat tainted with E. coli bacteria from the plant in Brooks, Alta., was detected by U.S. food inspectors in 2014.

That was two years after the government shut down the plant – formerly operated by XL Foods – after at least 18 people were sickened by meat containing the bacteria.

The documents also noted hygiene concerns, including employees standing in “two to three inches of pooling blood and contaminated water,” lack of running water in the bathroom sinks, and unflushed toilets with fecal matter.

JBS Foods, the Brazil-based company that now owns the plant, said any problems indicated in the inspections have been resolved.

Ambrose said that a 2014 Conference Board of Canada report that ranked Canada’s food inspection system first among 17 industrialized countries is proof the CFIA is “doing an excellent job.”

It’s proof politicians will cite bogus studies and believe their own press releases.

© Doug Powell and Ben Chapman
Bob Kingston, President
Agriculture Union – PSAC

Marianne Hladun,  Prairie Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Edmonton, Alberta

Check against delivery

Good morning.

My name is Bob Kingston. I am President of the Agriculture Union. We represent federal food inspectors who work for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Before being elected to this position, I worked as an inspector for 25 years, including 15 years as an inspection supervisor.

With me this morning is Marianne Hladun, the Regional Executive Vice-President for the Public Service Alliance of Canada on the Prairies. Marianne has also worked for the CFIA as an inspector.

To paraphrase an old adage: if you forget or ignore history, you are bound to repeat grave mistakes.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly what is happening with food inspection in Canada today.

On January 5th this year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency quietly established a double inspection standard for meat produced in northern Alberta.

For consumers outside Canada, the CFIA is maintaining daily presence of inspectors in establishments eligible to export their products to the US. This is a US safety standard and if we do not meet it the border could close to Canadian meat products.

For Canadian consumers, on the other hand, the CFIA has cut this standard of daily presence by 40% for plants producing for domestic markets. Instead of 5 days a week, CFIA inspectors are present in these plants only 3 days a week.

With available resources, the only way the CFIA can meet American inspection standards in order to maintain access to the US market is to short change inspection of meat for Canadian consumers. It’s that simple.

CFIA has also cut general sanitation inspection activities and pre-operation inspections by 50%. These cuts apply equally to establishments producing for domestic and export markets.

From sources internal to the CFIA, we know that these changes have been made without any word of advice to the public. The heavily redacted document obtained through the Access to Information Program hints at this decision but hides the details. To quote from the document:

“…to ensure we live within our resources, we need to be smart about deciding what work we will do now, what we will defer and what we won’t do at all.”

I mentioned history a moment ago.

Almost eight years ago, we suffered the largest food borne illness outbreak ever. Twenty-two people were killed and countless sickened by Maple Leaf Foods cold cuts that were contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes.

In August 2008, a public health expert from Alberta – Sheila Weatherill – was appointed by the Prime Minster to find out what went wrong and recommend how to avoid repeating this tragedy.

Among other things, Ms. Weatherill discovered that a lack of proper sanitation and pre-operation inspection was one of the root contributors to the outbreak. Fast forward to today. These inspections activities, beefed up on the advice of Ms. Weatherill, are now being rolled back here in northern Alberta.

Ms. Weatherill also observed that inspection resources were woefully inadequate before the Maple Leaf outbreak.

Today, in northern Alberta, one third of the inspector positions required to verify safety in process meat plants are vacant. When leave of various kinds is taken in to account, only half of the frontline inspectors who should be safeguarding meat production are actually on the job.

The inspector shortage is not isolated to Northern Alberta.

Slaughter facilities in southern Alberta including the former XL Beef plant in Brooks, the source of the E. coli outbreak in September 2012, routinely operate with fewer than the minimum number of inspectors required on the line. Ditto for slaughter plans in Calgary and Lethbridge.

The entire “beef basket” of Canada is in the same corral as it relates to the inspector shortage.

This is an issue that starts here and spreads across the country.

Canadians who shop for cut meat or ready-to-eat products at Costco, Safeway, Sobey’s, Superstore or Save On Foods, all of which are supplied by plants in Northern Alberta, may be consuming meat from these facilities produced under a reduced inspection standard conducted by a diminished inspectorate.

Have we forgotten the lessons of Sheila Weatherill and are the same mistakes being repeated?

I can tell you that her report has been wiped from the government of Canada’s websites.

And, some of you may have heard that Lillydale Foods has recalled one of its products because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. What Canadians have not been told is that the Lillydale Foods plant in question is located in Edmonton and has been subject to this reduced inspection regime.

There is a simple reason for the shortage. It’s plain to see in the documents we have provided today. CFIA officials are candid to us about the reason. It’s all about money, or, rather, the lack of it.

As you can see, Ottawa plans to cut food safety spending deeply in their published forecasts.

It’s ironic that the CFIA has started unraveling measures put in place on the advice of Sheila Weatherill in her own back yard. But, the impact of these decisions could be felt across the country.

-30-

For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592 jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :            10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :                        Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :                        Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

 

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

 

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
Doug Powell – Barf Blog

Health Minister Rona Ambrose is sending a special team to check the work of nearly 40 Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors at a meat processing plant in Alberta.

“I’m going to send them in to make sure everything is okay, ” Ambrose said during question period Thursday, after NDP MP Laurin Liu said Canadians are at risk because of inadequate E. coli testing.

CTV News first reported Wednesday on government documents that show meat tainted with E. coli bacteria from the plant in Brooks, Alta., was detected by U.S. food inspectors in 2014.

That was two years after the government shut down the plant – formerly operated by XL Foods – after at least 18 people were sickened by meat containing the bacteria.

The documents also noted hygiene concerns, including employees standing in “two to three inches of pooling blood and contaminated water,” lack of running water in the bathroom sinks, and unflushed toilets with fecal matter.

JBS Foods, the Brazil-based company that now owns the plant, said any problems indicated in the inspections have been resolved.

Ambrose said that a 2014 Conference Board of Canada report that ranked Canada’s food inspection system first among 17 industrialized countries is proof the CFIA is “doing an excellent job.”

It’s proof politicians will cite bogus studies and believe their own press releases.

© Doug Powell and Ben Chapman
Bob Kingston, President
Agriculture Union – PSAC

Marianne Hladun,  Prairie Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Edmonton, Alberta

Check against delivery

Good morning.

My name is Bob Kingston. I am President of the Agriculture Union. We represent federal food inspectors who work for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Before being elected to this position, I worked as an inspector for 25 years, including 15 years as an inspection supervisor.

With me this morning is Marianne Hladun, the Regional Executive Vice-President for the Public Service Alliance of Canada on the Prairies. Marianne has also worked for the CFIA as an inspector.

To paraphrase an old adage: if you forget or ignore history, you are bound to repeat grave mistakes.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly what is happening with food inspection in Canada today.

On January 5th this year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency quietly established a double inspection standard for meat produced in northern Alberta.

For consumers outside Canada, the CFIA is maintaining daily presence of inspectors in establishments eligible to export their products to the US. This is a US safety standard and if we do not meet it the border could close to Canadian meat products.

For Canadian consumers, on the other hand, the CFIA has cut this standard of daily presence by 40% for plants producing for domestic markets. Instead of 5 days a week, CFIA inspectors are present in these plants only 3 days a week.

With available resources, the only way the CFIA can meet American inspection standards in order to maintain access to the US market is to short change inspection of meat for Canadian consumers. It’s that simple.

CFIA has also cut general sanitation inspection activities and pre-operation inspections by 50%. These cuts apply equally to establishments producing for domestic and export markets.

From sources internal to the CFIA, we know that these changes have been made without any word of advice to the public. The heavily redacted document obtained through the Access to Information Program hints at this decision but hides the details. To quote from the document:

“…to ensure we live within our resources, we need to be smart about deciding what work we will do now, what we will defer and what we won’t do at all.”

I mentioned history a moment ago.

Almost eight years ago, we suffered the largest food borne illness outbreak ever. Twenty-two people were killed and countless sickened by Maple Leaf Foods cold cuts that were contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes.

In August 2008, a public health expert from Alberta – Sheila Weatherill – was appointed by the Prime Minster to find out what went wrong and recommend how to avoid repeating this tragedy.

Among other things, Ms. Weatherill discovered that a lack of proper sanitation and pre-operation inspection was one of the root contributors to the outbreak. Fast forward to today. These inspections activities, beefed up on the advice of Ms. Weatherill, are now being rolled back here in northern Alberta.

Ms. Weatherill also observed that inspection resources were woefully inadequate before the Maple Leaf outbreak.

Today, in northern Alberta, one third of the inspector positions required to verify safety in process meat plants are vacant. When leave of various kinds is taken in to account, only half of the frontline inspectors who should be safeguarding meat production are actually on the job.

The inspector shortage is not isolated to Northern Alberta.

Slaughter facilities in southern Alberta including the former XL Beef plant in Brooks, the source of the E. coli outbreak in September 2012, routinely operate with fewer than the minimum number of inspectors required on the line. Ditto for slaughter plans in Calgary and Lethbridge.

The entire “beef basket” of Canada is in the same corral as it relates to the inspector shortage.

This is an issue that starts here and spreads across the country.

Canadians who shop for cut meat or ready-to-eat products at Costco, Safeway, Sobey’s, Superstore or Save On Foods, all of which are supplied by plants in Northern Alberta, may be consuming meat from these facilities produced under a reduced inspection standard conducted by a diminished inspectorate.

Have we forgotten the lessons of Sheila Weatherill and are the same mistakes being repeated?

I can tell you that her report has been wiped from the government of Canada’s websites.

And, some of you may have heard that Lillydale Foods has recalled one of its products because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. What Canadians have not been told is that the Lillydale Foods plant in question is located in Edmonton and has been subject to this reduced inspection regime.

There is a simple reason for the shortage. It’s plain to see in the documents we have provided today. CFIA officials are candid to us about the reason. It’s all about money, or, rather, the lack of it.

As you can see, Ottawa plans to cut food safety spending deeply in their published forecasts.

It’s ironic that the CFIA has started unraveling measures put in place on the advice of Sheila Weatherill in her own back yard. But, the impact of these decisions could be felt across the country.

-30-

For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592 jim@thompsoncom.ca
Bob Kingston, President
Agriculture Union – PSAC

Marianne Hladun,  Prairie Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Edmonton, Alberta

Check against delivery

Good morning.

My name is Bob Kingston. I am President of the Agriculture Union. We represent federal food inspectors who work for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Before being elected to this position, I worked as an inspector for 25 years, including 15 years as an inspection supervisor.

With me this morning is Marianne Hladun, the Regional Executive Vice-President for the Public Service Alliance of Canada on the Prairies. Marianne has also worked for the CFIA as an inspector.

To paraphrase an old adage: if you forget or ignore history, you are bound to repeat grave mistakes.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly what is happening with food inspection in Canada today.

On January 5th this year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency quietly established a double inspection standard for meat produced in northern Alberta.

For consumers outside Canada, the CFIA is maintaining daily presence of inspectors in establishments eligible to export their products to the US. This is a US safety standard and if we do not meet it the border could close to Canadian meat products.

For Canadian consumers, on the other hand, the CFIA has cut this standard of daily presence by 40% for plants producing for domestic markets. Instead of 5 days a week, CFIA inspectors are present in these plants only 3 days a week.

With available resources, the only way the CFIA can meet American inspection standards in order to maintain access to the US market is to short change inspection of meat for Canadian consumers. It’s that simple.

CFIA has also cut general sanitation inspection activities and pre-operation inspections by 50%. These cuts apply equally to establishments producing for domestic and export markets.

From sources internal to the CFIA, we know that these changes have been made without any word of advice to the public. The heavily redacted document obtained through the Access to Information Program hints at this decision but hides the details. To quote from the document:

“…to ensure we live within our resources, we need to be smart about deciding what work we will do now, what we will defer and what we won’t do at all.”

I mentioned history a moment ago.

Almost eight years ago, we suffered the largest food borne illness outbreak ever. Twenty-two people were killed and countless sickened by Maple Leaf Foods cold cuts that were contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes.

In August 2008, a public health expert from Alberta – Sheila Weatherill – was appointed by the Prime Minster to find out what went wrong and recommend how to avoid repeating this tragedy.

Among other things, Ms. Weatherill discovered that a lack of proper sanitation and pre-operation inspection was one of the root contributors to the outbreak. Fast forward to today. These inspections activities, beefed up on the advice of Ms. Weatherill, are now being rolled back here in northern Alberta.

Ms. Weatherill also observed that inspection resources were woefully inadequate before the Maple Leaf outbreak.

Today, in northern Alberta, one third of the inspector positions required to verify safety in process meat plants are vacant. When leave of various kinds is taken in to account, only half of the frontline inspectors who should be safeguarding meat production are actually on the job.

The inspector shortage is not isolated to Northern Alberta.

Slaughter facilities in southern Alberta including the former XL Beef plant in Brooks, the source of the E. coli outbreak in September 2012, routinely operate with fewer than the minimum number of inspectors required on the line. Ditto for slaughter plans in Calgary and Lethbridge.

The entire “beef basket” of Canada is in the same corral as it relates to the inspector shortage.

This is an issue that starts here and spreads across the country.

Canadians who shop for cut meat or ready-to-eat products at Costco, Safeway, Sobey’s, Superstore or Save On Foods, all of which are supplied by plants in Northern Alberta, may be consuming meat from these facilities produced under a reduced inspection standard conducted by a diminished inspectorate.

Have we forgotten the lessons of Sheila Weatherill and are the same mistakes being repeated?

I can tell you that her report has been wiped from the government of Canada’s websites.

And, some of you may have heard that Lillydale Foods has recalled one of its products because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. What Canadians have not been told is that the Lillydale Foods plant in question is located in Edmonton and has been subject to this reduced inspection regime.

There is a simple reason for the shortage. It’s plain to see in the documents we have provided today. CFIA officials are candid to us about the reason. It’s all about money, or, rather, the lack of it.

As you can see, Ottawa plans to cut food safety spending deeply in their published forecasts.

It’s ironic that the CFIA has started unraveling measures put in place on the advice of Sheila Weatherill in her own back yard. But, the impact of these decisions could be felt across the country.

-30-

For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592 jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :

10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :

Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :

Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
POUR PUBLICATION IMMÉDIATE

Convocation à une conférence de presse

Edmonton (30 mars 2015) – Le syndicat des inspecteurs fédéraux des aliments fera demain une importante annonce relative à l’état de l’inspection des viandes au Canada.

 

Quand :            10 h 00 (AM).

Mardi, 31 mars

 

Où :                        Drawing Room

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 – 100e rue

Edmonton

 

Qui :                        Bob Kingston, président du Syndicat Agriculture

 

Marianne Hladun,

Vice-président exécutive régionale des Prairies

Alliance de la fonction publique du Canada

 

-30-

 

Information:

 

Jim Thompson

613-567-9592

jim@thompsoncom.ca
Doug Powell – Barf Blog

Health Minister Rona Ambrose is sending a special team to check the work of nearly 40 Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors at a meat processing plant in Alberta.

“I’m going to send them in to make sure everything is okay, ” Ambrose said during question period Thursday, after NDP MP Laurin Liu said Canadians are at risk because of inadequate E. coli testing.

CTV News first reported Wednesday on government documents that show meat tainted with E. coli bacteria from the plant in Brooks, Alta., was detected by U.S. food inspectors in 2014.

That was two years after the government shut down the plant – formerly operated by XL Foods – after at least 18 people were sickened by meat containing the bacteria.

The documents also noted hygiene concerns, including employees standing in “two to three inches of pooling blood and contaminated water,” lack of running water in the bathroom sinks, and unflushed toilets with fecal matter.

JBS Foods, the Brazil-based company that now owns the plant, said any problems indicated in the inspections have been resolved.

Ambrose said that a 2014 Conference Board of Canada report that ranked Canada’s food inspection system first among 17 industrialized countries is proof the CFIA is “doing an excellent job.”

It’s proof politicians will cite bogus studies and believe their own press releases.

© Doug Powell and Ben Chapman
Bob Kingston, President
Agriculture Union – PSAC

Marianne Hladun,  Prairie Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Edmonton, Alberta

Check against delivery

Good morning.

My name is Bob Kingston. I am President of the Agriculture Union. We represent federal food inspectors who work for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Before being elected to this position, I worked as an inspector for 25 years, including 15 years as an inspection supervisor.

With me this morning is Marianne Hladun, the Regional Executive Vice-President for the Public Service Alliance of Canada on the Prairies. Marianne has also worked for the CFIA as an inspector.

To paraphrase an old adage: if you forget or ignore history, you are bound to repeat grave mistakes.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly what is happening with food inspection in Canada today.

On January 5th this year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency quietly established a double inspection standard for meat produced in northern Alberta.

For consumers outside Canada, the CFIA is maintaining daily presence of inspectors in establishments eligible to export their products to the US. This is a US safety standard and if we do not meet it the border could close to Canadian meat products.

For Canadian consumers, on the other hand, the CFIA has cut this standard of daily presence by 40% for plants producing for domestic markets. Instead of 5 days a week, CFIA inspectors are present in these plants only 3 days a week.

With available resources, the only way the CFIA can meet American inspection standards in order to maintain access to the US market is to short change inspection of meat for Canadian consumers. It’s that simple.

CFIA has also cut general sanitation inspection activities and pre-operation inspections by 50%. These cuts apply equally to establishments producing for domestic and export markets.

From sources internal to the CFIA, we know that these changes have been made without any word of advice to the public. The heavily redacted document obtained through the Access to Information Program hints at this decision but hides the details. To quote from the document:

“…to ensure we live within our resources, we need to be smart about deciding what work we will do now, what we will defer and what we won’t do at all.”

I mentioned history a moment ago.

Almost eight years ago, we suffered the largest food borne illness outbreak ever. Twenty-two people were killed and countless sickened by Maple Leaf Foods cold cuts that were contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes.

In August 2008, a public health expert from Alberta – Sheila Weatherill – was appointed by the Prime Minster to find out what went wrong and recommend how to avoid repeating this tragedy.

Among other things, Ms. Weatherill discovered that a lack of proper sanitation and pre-operation inspection was one of the root contributors to the outbreak. Fast forward to today. These inspections activities, beefed up on the advice of Ms. Weatherill, are now being rolled back here in northern Alberta.

Ms. Weatherill also observed that inspection resources were woefully inadequate before the Maple Leaf outbreak.

Today, in northern Alberta, one third of the inspector positions required to verify safety in process meat plants are vacant. When leave of various kinds is taken in to account, only half of the frontline inspectors who should be safeguarding meat production are actually on the job.

The inspector shortage is not isolated to Northern Alberta.

Slaughter facilities in southern Alberta including the former XL Beef plant in Brooks, the source of the E. coli outbreak in September 2012, routinely operate with fewer than the minimum number of inspectors required on the line. Ditto for slaughter plans in Calgary and Lethbridge.

The entire “beef basket” of Canada is in the same corral as it relates to the inspector shortage.

This is an issue that starts here and spreads across the country.

Canadians who shop for cut meat or ready-to-eat products at Costco, Safeway, Sobey’s, Superstore or Save On Foods, all of which are supplied by plants in Northern Alberta, may be consuming meat from these facilities produced under a reduced inspection standard conducted by a diminished inspectorate.

Have we forgotten the lessons of Sheila Weatherill and are the same mistakes being repeated?

I can tell you that her report has been wiped from the government of Canada’s websites.

And, some of you may have heard that Lillydale Foods has recalled one of its products because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. What Canadians have not been told is that the Lillydale Foods plant in question is located in Edmonton and has been subject to this reduced inspection regime.

There is a simple reason for the shortage. It’s plain to see in the documents we have provided today. CFIA officials are candid to us about the reason. It’s all about money, or, rather, the lack of it.

As you can see, Ottawa plans to cut food safety spending deeply in their published forecasts.

It’s ironic that the CFIA has started unraveling measures put in place on the advice of Sheila Weatherill in her own back yard. But, the impact of these decisions could be felt across the country.

-30-

For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592 jim@thompsoncom.ca
Bob Kingston, President
Agriculture Union – PSAC

Marianne Hladun,  Prairie Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Edmonton, Alberta

Check against delivery

Good morning.

My name is Bob Kingston. I am President of the Agriculture Union. We represent federal food inspectors who work for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Before being elected to this position, I worked as an inspector for 25 years, including 15 years as an inspection supervisor.

With me this morning is Marianne Hladun, the Regional Executive Vice-President for the Public Service Alliance of Canada on the Prairies. Marianne has also worked for the CFIA as an inspector.

To paraphrase an old adage: if you forget or ignore history, you are bound to repeat grave mistakes.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is exactly what is happening with food inspection in Canada today.

On January 5th this year, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency quietly established a double inspection standard for meat produced in northern Alberta.

For consumers outside Canada, the CFIA is maintaining daily presence of inspectors in establishments eligible to export their products to the US. This is a US safety standard and if we do not meet it the border could close to Canadian meat products.

For Canadian consumers, on the other hand, the CFIA has cut this standard of daily presence by 40% for plants producing for domestic markets. Instead of 5 days a week, CFIA inspectors are present in these plants only 3 days a week.

With available resources, the only way the CFIA can meet American inspection standards in order to maintain access to the US market is to short change inspection of meat for Canadian consumers. It’s that simple.

CFIA has also cut general sanitation inspection activities and pre-operation inspections by 50%. These cuts apply equally to establishments producing for domestic and export markets.

From sources internal to the CFIA, we know that these changes have been made without any word of advice to the public. The heavily redacted document obtained through the Access to Information Program hints at this decision but hides the details. To quote from the document:

“…to ensure we live within our resources, we need to be smart about deciding what work we will do now, what we will defer and what we won’t do at all.”

I mentioned history a moment ago.

Almost eight years ago, we suffered the largest food borne illness outbreak ever. Twenty-two people were killed and countless sickened by Maple Leaf Foods cold cuts that were contaminated by Listeria monocytogenes.

In August 2008, a public health expert from Alberta – Sheila Weatherill – was appointed by the Prime Minster to find out what went wrong and recommend how to avoid repeating this tragedy.

Among other things, Ms. Weatherill discovered that a lack of proper sanitation and pre-operation inspection was one of the root contributors to the outbreak. Fast forward to today. These inspections activities, beefed up on the advice of Ms. Weatherill, are now being rolled back here in northern Alberta.

Ms. Weatherill also observed that inspection resources were woefully inadequate before the Maple Leaf outbreak.

Today, in northern Alberta, one third of the inspector positions required to verify safety in process meat plants are vacant. When leave of various kinds is taken in to account, only half of the frontline inspectors who should be safeguarding meat production are actually on the job.

The inspector shortage is not isolated to Northern Alberta.

Slaughter facilities in southern Alberta including the former XL Beef plant in Brooks, the source of the E. coli outbreak in September 2012, routinely operate with fewer than the minimum number of inspectors required on the line. Ditto for slaughter plans in Calgary and Lethbridge.

The entire “beef basket” of Canada is in the same corral as it relates to the inspector shortage.

This is an issue that starts here and spreads across the country.

Canadians who shop for cut meat or ready-to-eat products at Costco, Safeway, Sobey’s, Superstore or Save On Foods, all of which are supplied by plants in Northern Alberta, may be consuming meat from these facilities produced under a reduced inspection standard conducted by a diminished inspectorate.

Have we forgotten the lessons of Sheila Weatherill and are the same mistakes being repeated?

I can tell you that her report has been wiped from the government of Canada’s websites.

And, some of you may have heard that Lillydale Foods has recalled one of its products because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. What Canadians have not been told is that the Lillydale Foods plant in question is located in Edmonton and has been subject to this reduced inspection regime.

There is a simple reason for the shortage. It’s plain to see in the documents we have provided today. CFIA officials are candid to us about the reason. It’s all about money, or, rather, the lack of it.

As you can see, Ottawa plans to cut food safety spending deeply in their published forecasts.

It’s ironic that the CFIA has started unraveling measures put in place on the advice of Sheila Weatherill in her own back yard. But, the impact of these decisions could be felt across the country.

-30-

For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592 jim@thompsoncom.ca

Meat for Canadians inspected less than product destined for export

Edmonton (31 March 2015)– Faced with a financial crisis, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is quietly unraveling measures intended to prevent a repeat of Canada’s largest food borne illness outbreak that left 22 dead and countless sickened by contaminated Maple Leaf Foods cold cuts.

A heavily redacted internal CFIA document entitled Alberta North Region Food Inspection Strategy for Planned Work Plan Reductions, obtained through Access to Information, succinctly summaries the situation:

“…to ensure we live within our resources, we need to be smart about deciding what work we will do now, what we will defer and what we won’t do at all.”

As of January 5th, the CFIA has instructed its staff in Northern Alberta to cut general sanitation inspection activities and pre-operation inspections by 50%. These inspections are now taking place with such regularity that meat production management knows when to expect them. These cuts apply equally to establishments producing for domestic and export markets.

“After Maple Leaf, CFIA tightened verification of meat production facilities’ sanitation because Sheila Weatherill found lingering contamination was a factor contributing to the disaster. To deal with its financial crisis, the CFIA is now starting to roll back those measures,” said Bob Kingston, president of the food inspectors union.

According to internal CFIA sources, the Agency has also slashed by 40% its Northern Alberta inspectors’ daily presence in meat facilities producing for Canadians while maintaining daily presence in establishments eligible to export meat to the United States in order to meet American standards.

CFIA Food Safety Program Budget and Staff
  Spending FTEs
Actual (2013/14)1 $364 million 3296
Planned (2016/17)2 $286 million 2748
Change -$78 million -548

“With available resources, the only way the CFIA can meet American inspection standards in order to maintain access to the US market is to short change inspection of meat for Canadian consumers. It’s that simple,” said Bob Kingston, President of the food inspectors union.

According to CFIA forecasts, the current government plans to cut spending on food safety by 21% by 2016–17. This will translate to staff cuts of 16.5%, or 548 positions.

As a result, CFIA is facing a critical inspector shortage. In Northern Alberta, for example, only 12 of 18 meat hygiene inspection positions are currently filled. New hiring has been frozen and training has been deferred. Sheila Weatherill cited a shortage of inspectors and an absence of training as factors that contributed to the Maple Leaf Foods disaster.

“The government may have forgotten the lessons of the Maple Leaf tragedy, but Canadians have not,” said Marianne Hladun, the Prairie Regional Executive Vice-President for the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Last week, Lillydale Foods recalled one of its products because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. What Canadian haven’t been told is that the Lillydale Foods plant in question is located in Edmonton and has been subject to this reduced inspection regime and short-handed inspectorate.

Ready-to-eat and cut meat products are produced in significant quantities in northern Alberta plants for consumption by Canadians and for export to foreign markets including the US.

Millions of Canadians could consume meat from plants in this region as they supply ready-to-eat cold cuts and cut meat to major grocery chains such as Costco, Safeway, Sobeys, Super Store and Save On Foods.

“The government has chosen to starve food safety inspection, now Canadians are suffering the consequences of this choice,” Kingston said.

At the same time as spending and staff for food safety have been strangled, the Agency has been given new responsibility for regulating up to 10,000 food importers.

“Regulation of imported food is a good thing and long neglected, but with no resources to ensure compliance good importers quickly become frustrated and lose any incentive to be good because they see bad actors infractions being ignored. Because of the cuts, it’s like licencing new drivers without a road test and no cops on the road,” Kingston said.

“It’s kind of ironic that the CFIA has started unraveling measures put in place on the advice of Sheila Weatherill in her own back yard. But, the impact of these decisions could be felt across the country,” Kingston concluded.

-30-

 For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592

1 CFIA 2013-14 Departmental Performance Report (see press kit for excerpts)

2 CFIA 2014-14 Report on Plans and Priorities (see press kit for excerts)

Related Document: News conference speaking notes