What the romaine controversy says about Canada's politics

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Sean in Ottawa
What the romaine controversy says about Canada's politics

Romaine is dangerous to eat says the government of Canada. the recall is entirely self regulated. In the US it is mandatory.

This is not a one-off. Years ago the government of Canada sold itself to food lobbyists.

Now, when they send one of these warnings out they do more harm than good. If the government were AWOL it would be a better look than a warning not to eat what is still legal to sell. The health message and lack of mandatory recall is essentially a contradiction with the lack of recall serving to undermine the message (assuming it is heard as not everyone sees the news). Canadians expect that it would be illegal to sell something dangerous and cannot believe the danger in something legal.

Of course some of the stores may do it knowing that to fail would be a public relations disaster that might even involve the government deciding to govern in this sector for a change.

No respect for the government of Canada on this is deserved.

Maybe once the federal government has its "Walkerton" whichever party then in power will be drummed out of office and then people will have expectations of food regulation that is at least half as good as the shitty job they are doing in the US which is much better than here.

The US is much more self-regulating and their people trust business more so why is Canada worse than they are in the areas of food (also cosmetics too but that is another story).

Maybe we can examine other topics besides best places to buy pot and making fun of any suggestion of regulation in this section of the forum?

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iyraste1313

Maybe once the federal government has its "Walkerton" whichever party then in power will be drummed out of office and then people will have expectations of food regulation that is at least half as good as the shitty job they are doing in the US which is much better than here....

...you fail to appreciate the nature of Government, not to mention the power of the oligarchs to corrupt any government regulating body.....sure eventually there will regulations...aimed at the poor low class small businessman and farmer who can´t afford to pay off the government officials...regulations will be put in place to make it impossible for such to continue to exist, while the corps, responsible for the shoddy product, walk away laughing!

No! The problems must be dealt with at the core...the corporate government collaboration, which is commonly termed fascism!

lagatta4

I don't want to get into that common mistranslation of that Mussolini quote, and what "corporativismo" means in Italian, but one important aspect of the current problem is overreliance on fresh food from far away. There are other kinds of lettuce that are grown in greenhouses here, such as Boston, as well as watercress. Don't know if there is a specific reason Romaine can't be grown thus. I'm still making salad from a very delicate kind of "flat cabbage", considered an Asian one, though it more resembles common European varieties than the infinite variations on cabbage in East and Southeast Asia.

Sean in Ottawa

iyraste1313 wrote:

Maybe once the federal government has its "Walkerton" whichever party then in power will be drummed out of office and then people will have expectations of food regulation that is at least half as good as the shitty job they are doing in the US which is much better than here....

...you fail to appreciate the nature of Government, not to mention the power of the oligarchs to corrupt any government regulating body.....sure eventually there will regulations...aimed at the poor low class small businessman and farmer who can´t afford to pay off the government officials...regulations will be put in place to make it impossible for such to continue to exist, while the corps, responsible for the shoddy product, walk away laughing!

No! The problems must be dealt with at the core...the corporate government collaboration, which is commonly termed fascism!

You think I fail to appreciate the nature of government?

You expect a polite response? Why?

And no you fail to understand politics. And I guess do not live in Ontario as we went through this.

When people die becuase they bought food at a store, the demand for soemthing to be done and the anger at the government will be strong enough for action.

It will be shitty that it will take a death for people to give a crap -- but most people can relate to buying groceries at a store and expect them to be safe. If you think this is politically insignificant then you fail to understand anything about politics.

The whole sotry is what people relate to.

You want a polite conversation then maybe don't lead with telling someone that you know it all and they don't.

kay?

Sean in Ottawa

lagatta4 wrote:

I don't want to get into that common mistranslation of that Mussolini quote, and what "corporativismo" means in Italian, but one important aspect of the current problem is overreliance on fresh food from far away. There are other kinds of lettuce that are grown in greenhouses here, such as Boston, as well as watercress. Don't know if there is a specific reason Romaine can't be grown thus. I'm still making salad from a very delicate kind of "flat cabbage", considered an Asian one, though it more resembles common European varieties than the infinite variations on cabbage in East and Southeast Asia.

It is all about cost. You can get one grown in the ground for a dollar or two but in a greenhouse would be twice that.

Part of the this is actually affected by carbon taxes potentially: with a carbon tax on shipping high enough -- local options become relatively less expensive. However, over all costs are higher.

It is not that many years ago when fresh winter food was much more expensive and this was partly greenhouse costs.

iyraste1313

When people die becuase they bought food at a store, the demand for soemthing to be done and the anger at the government will be strong enough for action......

I regret you miss my point...action is necessary, but the right action! Central Government regulation will accomplish nothing but hurt the people supposedly to benefit! Government regulation in the so called Health Protection sphere is nothing but kow towing to the corporations and their shoddy products. No government bureaucrat will ever forcefully deal with their money masters.

No! The regions and municipalities must be empowered to guarantee food security at reasonable cost to their citizens.

Take control if necessary, to guarantee the Charter rights of its citizens to security.

Demanding action, the wrong action is wrong!

voice of the damned

iyraste1313 wrote:

The regions and municipalities must be empowered to guarantee food security at reasonable cost to their citizens.

Why are regions and municipalities any less likely to kowtow to the corporations than the federal government is?

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

voice of the damned wrote:

iyraste1313 wrote:

The regions and municipalities must be empowered to guarantee food security at reasonable cost to their citizens.

Why are regions and municipalities any less likely to kowtow to the corporations than the federal government is?

Because at the local level citizens who care can become the majority. The people who care are spread thin in many places but are concentrated in other areas. If those of us who live in concentrations of people who care about these kinds of issues are empowered then we can lead the way, instead of our views being subsumed inside the "big tent" political parties.

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

voice of the damned wrote:

iyraste1313 wrote:

The regions and municipalities must be empowered to guarantee food security at reasonable cost to their citizens.

Why are regions and municipalities any less likely to kowtow to the corporations than the federal government is?

Because at the local level citizens who care can become the majority. The people who care are spread thin in many places but are concentrated in other areas. If those of us who live in concentrations of people who care about these kinds of issues are empowered then we can lead the way, instead of our views being subsumed inside the "big tent" political parties.

1) they do not have jurisdiction

2) dividing the authority across like this is more likely to be less efficient - particularly when it comes to time which is critical in these cases

3) Information when it comes to recalls is central for good reason

4) This is not just about caring this is about having the information and being able to act quickly

I recognize the problem of the government selling out -- that was why I started the thread but you cannot replace the federal function with municipalities in all cases -- this is one

Misfit Misfit's picture

Tied into this  is our right to know where our food actually comes from. For instance, if I buy a box of fish sticks, I want to know if I am helping the Canadian fisheries or say Indonesia instead. 

iyraste1313

 but you cannot replace the federal function with municipalities in all cases -- this is one....

This is the challenge...to empower regional autonomy....political forces must come together, somehow to promote this, our one potential democratic option....based on a platform of social justice, ecology and an end to finance capitalism

Sean in Ottawa

iyraste1313 wrote:

 but you cannot replace the federal function with municipalities in all cases -- this is one....

This is the challenge...to empower regional autonomy....political forces must come together, somehow to promote this, our one potential democratic option....based on a platform of social justice, ecology and an end to finance capitalism

Regional autonomy is a great buzz word and it is great in practice with the right jurisdictions. However, you cannot turn the cities into city states and you cannot do everything locally even if that is the best buzzword of the day.

To try to do so creates duplication and a patchwork. People cross from one municipality to another constantly. You cannot make it a border. You cannot set up food purchasing borders at the edges of municipalities.

This whole conversation is devoid of any thought to how such a process woudl work.

There is also no thought to reproducing this cost across each municipality.

The people to staff all the municipalities across the country do not exist. The borders that this would imply do not exist.

Food regulation is done within a brodered area not within a real common market where people buy in one town eat food in another that was served in a place that bought it in a third.

There is no replacement for the federal government to act.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It needn't be "either/or".  iyraste1313 and his community are free to (re)inspect their produce and catch any E Coli or Listeria or Salmonella that the feds miss.  They don't need the feds to stop inspecting food in order to start, if they wish.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

It needn't be "either/or".  iyraste1313 and his community are free to (re)inspect their produce and catch any E Coli or Listeria or Salmonella that the feds miss.  They don't need the feds to stop inspecting food in order to start, if they wish.

True of course -- if the primary system is not patchwork, local government can add as the local needs require (and they can afford and are practically able to do so).

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

California lettuce is sold in all Canadian provinces but the feds have only acted in provinces where people have gotten sick. The stores in BC are not restocking romaine but it has nothing to do with the central regulation and inspection regime. This is a problem that is recurring and not being handled well nationally.  Is it to become the new norm that a couple of times a year a few people die from e-coli in our food supply? According to our regulator Canadians should just roll the dice because the odds are low that the head of lettuce you have in your hands is contaminated. No sense having an outright ban like the US has.

Aline Dimitri, the agency’s deputy chief food-safety officer, said Friday the results don’t mean E. coli is gone from Canada’s food supply.

They do suggest if it’s present it is at very low levels, she said.

Three more cases of E. coli were confirmed in Ontario and Quebec Friday, bringing the total number since mid-October to 22: one in New Brunswick, four in Ontario and 17 in Quebec.

Eight patients were hospitalized, and one developed a type of kidney failure found mostly in patients with E. coli. The youngest patient is five and the oldest 93 years old.

Many people who get sick in most outbreaks never seek medical attention so the number of cases is never known, said Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public-health officer.

He said experts tracing patients’ food histories found most patients who became sick had eaten romaine lettuce in the days leading up to their illness.

Tracing a person’s food history involves interviewing them about what they ate and where, Njoo said.

He also said it involves obtaining things like grocery store loyalty cards to help confirm what was specifically purchased and when.

The agency is recommending people in those provinces not eat romaine lettuce and throw out any they still have in their fridges.

It is stopping short of recalling romaine lettuce or telling retailers to pull it from their shelves.

Njoo said evidence right now is not connecting the outbreak to any particular product but if that changes the Canadian warnings will as well. Several retailers have voluntarily yanked romaine off their shelves in the meantime.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a much more broad warning on Tuesday, saying Americans shouldn’t eat romaine anywhere in the United States and restaurants should stop serving it.

It also said retailers should pull it from their shelves.

https://canada-news.org/toronto/three-more-cases-of-e-coli-confirmed-in-...

Sean in Ottawa

kropotkin1951 wrote:

California lettuce is sold in all Canadian provinces but the feds have only acted in provinces where people have gotten sick. The stores in BC are not restocking romaine but it has nothing to do with the central regulation and inspection regime. This is a problem that is recurring and not being handled well nationally.  Is it to become the new norm that a couple of times a year a few people die from e-coli in our food supply? According to our regulator Canadians should just roll the dice because the odds are low that the head of lettuce you have in your hands is contaminated. No sense having an outright ban like the US has.

Aline Dimitri, the agency’s deputy chief food-safety officer, said Friday the results don’t mean E. coli is gone from Canada’s food supply.

They do suggest if it’s present it is at very low levels, she said.

Three more cases of E. coli were confirmed in Ontario and Quebec Friday, bringing the total number since mid-October to 22: one in New Brunswick, four in Ontario and 17 in Quebec.

Eight patients were hospitalized, and one developed a type of kidney failure found mostly in patients with E. coli. The youngest patient is five and the oldest 93 years old.

Many people who get sick in most outbreaks never seek medical attention so the number of cases is never known, said Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public-health officer.

He said experts tracing patients’ food histories found most patients who became sick had eaten romaine lettuce in the days leading up to their illness.

Tracing a person’s food history involves interviewing them about what they ate and where, Njoo said.

He also said it involves obtaining things like grocery store loyalty cards to help confirm what was specifically purchased and when.

The agency is recommending people in those provinces not eat romaine lettuce and throw out any they still have in their fridges.

It is stopping short of recalling romaine lettuce or telling retailers to pull it from their shelves.

Njoo said evidence right now is not connecting the outbreak to any particular product but if that changes the Canadian warnings will as well. Several retailers have voluntarily yanked romaine off their shelves in the meantime.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a much more broad warning on Tuesday, saying Americans shouldn’t eat romaine anywhere in the United States and restaurants should stop serving it.

It also said retailers should pull it from their shelves.

https://canada-news.org/toronto/three-more-cases-of-e-coli-confirmed-in-...

Which province did they "act" in? They sent a warning for Ontario and Quebec but did not take anything off the shelf. This left stores to decide on their own. Utter BS.

The federal government should not be allowing the food industry to regulate itself.

I agree -- there needs to be local and provincial input but the federal government should not abdicate. the food supply is national with the same product (mostly) everywhere. The fact that reported illness was not in a particular province is immaterial.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

It doesn't matter to me who pays the food inspectors in each region as long as there are people doing inspection. So far Ottawa has not proven to be very effective at this job. While all the provinces import lettuce from the same states it  seems to me that the infected crops so far are going to the East but that has more to do with the luck of the draw than anything else. Clearly there is inadequate inspection and and inadequate response when an outbreak occurs. Canada has gone the self regulation route for a long time now and as long as no one cares about a few deaths every year it seems to work really well.