Bill Passed to Raise Safety of Food Supply in Wake of XL Crisis
Rabson, Mia, Winnipeg Free Press
OTTAWA -- Canada's food supply will be safer due to new food-safety legislation passed Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says.
Bill S-11 will raise penalties for violating safety standards from $250,000 to as much as $5 million, improve the ability to trace food through the supply system when a recall is necessary, improve record-keeping from food-production facilities and give food inspectors more power to ensure companies provide the documents in readable formats.
"Food safety continues to be our top priority," Ritz said.
The passage of the legislation, introduced last spring, comes just after the largest food recall in Canadian history. In September and October, nearly 2,000 beef products linked to the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alta., were recalled due to E. coli contamination. Eighteen illnesses have been traced to the tainted beef. The plant was closed for more than a month while it addressed food-safety concerns.
The federal government was criticized for not acting fast enough, as it took more than 10 days to issue a recall after the first positive E. coli test. …