The Canadian meat processing plant, XL Foods of Alberta, Canada has been in the media because of E. coli contamination with people becoming sick . American inspectors blew the whistle on a Canadian plant when Americans received thousands of kilograms of contaminated Canadian beef . And cases of infected E. coli Canadian beef were reported in Hong Kong . half the world away .
In the spring there were sprouts causing death reported in Europe infected with E. coli. Last year , Maple Leaf Canada had to close meat processing plants because of listeria contamination .And there have been salmonella in fish ,and contamnated salads from California with E. coli etc . Even peanuts have been infected with various agents. In short, the human food supply is untrustworthy .Anyone, at any time could get sick , and even die from eating ; whether a vegan or a meat eater , no one is safe . Everyone is at risk .
Note in the year 2000 , in Walkerton, Canada there was the E. coli infection of the water supply with 2500 people sick , and 7 dying . An inquiry found that lax government standards , the Harris government cutbacks, and the privatization of water testing were to blame. Note the 2012 conservative government ofhas ministers who were with the Harris government during the Walkerton crisis . The Harper conservatives, like the provincial conservatives of Harris , has followed a policy of privatization, deregulation with the industry regulating itself and cutbacks on federal meat inspectors . Harper , and Harrris are ideologues with the George W Bush conservatives in the US who believe in deregulation and industry self regulation which has proven inherently bad for the public : re. the Wallstreet Collapse/Great Recession. Note, I have dealt with Premier Harris and the Bush government on issues of public safety and federal regulations reporting felony fraud on false signed assurances .And the AG Ashcroft offices .A Deputy Chief,Farrington at the DOJ acted blindly , asking what law is being broken, when I pointed out lying for fedreal funds and violating signed asurances . The people I was reporting were connected to the Brian Mulroney conservatives , so you see regulation is dependent on money and political connections ( see www.cancerfraudbadbiotech.com for details ) not the public good or safety. I received the same response as Americans who tried to warn the SEC of the Wallstreet Collapse(Madoff etc ) and Too Big To Fail/the Great Recession . Laws and regulations can't save the public if people will not enforce them.
The Canadian XL Foods meat plant is one of 2 BIG players (XL Foods Alberta, and Cargill in Alberta and Ontario ) who make up 40% of ALL Canadian beef ( as reported in Macleans ) . For an American perspective, refer to the documentary ,Food Inc., directed by Robt. Kenner which also reported the huge size of the food industry : agri business on the MEGA scale . Feed lots where the cattle are covered in their own feces and carry E.coli into the plant to contaminate the whole process .Too Big To Fail . Just like the Mega Banks are,and some wise people are calling for the break up of these huge monopolies to protect society from another Wallstreet Collapse and recession/depression.
A simple example is needed. There have not been a major fireworks factory explosion in America , yet many in Mexico and Asia .Why ? In America, this industry is strictly regulated and rules enforced, and the industry operates on the principle of small separated scale. There is NOT one large factory, but many physically separated huts where the explosives are prepared etc. So if a spark occurs , any disaster is small and not a chain reaction . In other countries without regulations and enforcement, the explosives are prepared on a large collected scale, and when a spark occurs , the whole factory is effected. Explodes and many deaths can result. That is TOO BIG TO FAIL ! Or, you can't have an accident .But accidents do happen !
And this is exactly what is wrong with the AgriFood industry . It is Too Big To Fail . Over may years of consolidation , many competing companies have merged into one. The Canadian example would be , Shopsies , Maple Leaf and Schneiders : once separate competing companies , but now ,essentially one product line prepared in the same huge assembly line mega plant , but with only a different lable applied at the end of the line. You get the impression of competition and different products, but it is only an illusion . And the US and most of the world has become the same model . A few BIG players producing a limited uncompetitive , limited and self regulated /inspected product out of a very few huge industrial complexes. So, like the fireworks example, when an infection occurs ,it is widely, and rapidly spread .Especially when executives can over ride any inspectors who may raise concerns. Profit before safety . And the product is shipped around the world. This present model of producing food may appear cheaper, but in the long run , it may be fatal .
What has to happen ? Until people die , like Walketon , on a large scale, nothing will change. In Walkerton, 2 men were criminally sentenced , and government regulations were tightened up . The meat processing industry must be better inspected . Executives must face jail time , especially if people die. Then corporations will take their responsibilities seriously. And, like Wallstreet and the big banks, the meat processing industry has to be broken up . It has become too big, and too concentrated .Smaller plants , and feed lots separated by distance and kept clean, and less disease transmission. And industry self regulation must be seen as a joke. These are points to ponder .will anyone take them seriously ? No . Not until enough people die in larger numbers. Safe and fairly priced foods are attainable , but until enough people die, nothing will change .