OTTAWA– Liberal Leader Bob Rae sent the following letter to the Auditor General on the ongoing E. coli outbreak:
Dear Mr. Ferguson:
I am writing to you today regarding the recent breakdown in our food safety system that occurred at the XL Foods Plant in Alberta.
Following the 2008 listeriosis outbreak, Independent Investigator Sheila Weatherhill recommended that the government conduct a comprehensive audit of Canada’s food safety system, including its policies and resources. While the federal government accepted this recommendation, four years later this review has yet to occur.
As a result, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency remains prohibited from sharing with Parliament important details about our food safety system, such as how many food inspectors are actually inspecting food and where they work.
The ongoing E. coli outbreak, which has a growing number of confirmed illnesses, along with the largest beef recall in Canadian history, underlines both the weakness in our food safety system, as well as the urgent need for its review. As such, we request that the Auditor General of Canada conduct a full and immediate audit of all Government of Canada resources and procedures that support food safety in Canada, as well as issue recommendations for changes and improvements.
I appreciate your consideration of this vital matter and look forward to your response.
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada