Saturday, September 29, 2012

Microbes For Harper!


Don't know about you, but to me it looks like the root of the problem with the latest meat contamination scare (that really is scary because it has made people really and truly sick) looks to be the now fully-entrenched Harper government-driven strategy by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) towards a hands-off, government inspector-free 'self-regulation' of meat packing plantsby the meat packing companies themselves.


Put another way, it's like listeriosis all over again.

Which, in my opinion was driven by filthy meat cutters wherein the microbes were allowed to flourish as a direct result of the policies of the government of Stephen Harper.

But, even worse, it now appears that, in the latest case, the CFIA also held off on a recall announcement for almost a full two weeks after they knew there was a problem based on not one, but two, reports of E-Coli contamination in beef shipped by XL. And, in point of fact, it was only after the later 'inspector oversight' -based (ie. not company self-oversight) reports finally came in that the recall was finally ordered.

Now, the thing that gets me about all of this is that keeping E.Coli and Listeria out of food is not rocket science.

Or even complicated microbiology.

Because these are not super-resistant andromeda strains we're talking about here. 

Instead, they are common variety bacteria.

Heckfire, even one click to the Wiki can tell you how to do the job:

"Preventing listeriosis as a food illness requires effective sanitation of food contact surfaces. Alcohol is an effective topical sanitizer against Listeria. Quaternary ammonium can be used in conjunction with alcohol as a food contact safe sanitizer with increased duration of the sanitizing action. Refrigerated foods in the home should be kept below 4 °C (39.2 °F) to discourage bacterial growth..."

Alcohol, ammonia, refrigeration and actually cleaning things. That's all it takes.

Which means that, again in my opinion (and the opinion of the CMAJ in the case of the previous Listeria crisis at least), this comes down not to microbiology but instead to ideology.

As in Mr. Harper's ideology of self-regulation and self-inspection in the food industry*.


*And, it would appear, based on the building track-record of Mr. Harper and his government, of just about every other industry as well...



kootcoot said...

Meanwhile here in BeeCee the BC liaRs made it illegal for the local farmer to sell meat they slaughter at the gate, and the animals (large in the case of beef and pork) to a "government approved, licensed facility.

On the other hand, massive packing houses are allowed to mix the meat from countless animals in the case of ground meat with MINIMAL supervision, or inspection, or that reich wing ideology of SELF regulation (unless of course it is a woman and it is her body). The odds of some bad meat in a batch that comes from 100 or 200 steers is fairly high, especially when in some facilities they go fast and loose with watching for diseased stock (mad cow anyone?) and once discovered in the meat, which steer or which farm did it come from.

I grew up on a ranch where we rarely ate meat from the store, it was either raised by us or hunted. Once we were so lucky as to catch a hunter on our posted ranch, it turned out he was a professional butcher and sausage maker, so ever after he had permission to hunt on our land, or go through to the public lands and we had super sausage made by him in return from our pork, venison or elk.........

kootcoot said...


and the animals (large in the case of beef and pork)have to be trucked, some times long distances, to a "government approved, licensed facility.

Anonymous said...

Look back a few years when the BC Liberals were closing small and medium sized abattoirs - and the minister didn't know why!

RossK said...

Thanks Koot--


If you are still around (sorry for coming back late), feel free to send me an Email with a hint or two at pacificgazette at yahoo dot short, two letter web abbreviation for Canada.