Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: View from the Land

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: View from the Land

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: View from the land

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An editorial from the Truro Daily News, published Nov. 13:

Maybe it's just me but it seems like food issues are in the news a lot more in the last while.

Certainly the XL Foods plant in Lakeside, Alta., has been a lead story for a few weeks. The massive recall of beef across the country and into the United States has garnered plenty of attention.

E coli in this plant, listeria at Maple Leaf Foods a few years ago, the e coli issues in spinach for the U.S. a while ago, as well as the peanut butter recall in the U.S., has made food recalls the big scary monster of the decade. Not to mention the devastation of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in 2003.

I think of devastation in terms of all involved in these issues. Certainly the people that get ill from consuming these products deserve compassion and compensation, plus consumers deserve an explanation and corrective action. The processing plants involved take a big hit for the recall and workers tend to be laid off while the issues are remediated. Farmers receive lower prices for their products until the consumer gains acceptance that the issues are resolved and the media cycle moves on to the next crisis.

Hard to believe that one plant can provide one-third of all the beef consumed in Canada, plus export to other countries.

I was shopping in one of the chain grocery stores last week when a customer asked the guy in the meat section about the beef. He wanted to know if it was safe and if it came from Western Canada. The response was that yes, it did come from the west. Nova Scotia couldn't supply all the beef required by the grocery chain, and yes the beef was safe.

True on both counts, I think. The meat is safe and federally inspected and also true that there isn't even close to enough beef production in Nova Scotia to supply our own needs.

In fact, we can only supply less than 10 per cent of our consumption. Nova Scotia grows great forages and has lots of idle land that could be growing beef. …

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