Saturday, September 13, 2008

Listeria Hysteria

So, we have been through a couple months of listeria hysteria. The truth is approximately 100 people die from listeriosis a year in Canada. Why the emphasis on the outbreak this time? Could it be that this time we can point the finger at a large corporation? Maple Leaf Foods was apologetic, ensuring the public that everything was and is being done to fix this mess. The company complied with all of the government’s requests, shut down their factory, cleaned up and took blame. They have assured us that they will do anything and everything to win us back. (They have cut prices of their foods across the nation.)

I, however, can’t help but notice how empty the deli aisles appear to be since this case. I’ve spoken to and heard from many people who have said that this will not change the way they buy their deli meats, but I don’t see those people running to the counter to have their roast beef or ham shaved or sliced either.

So what can we learn from this? Well, firstly, our food manufacturers are not perfect. We trust them to feed us and to provide us with quality products, but sometimes, things go wrong and as we have seen in this case, can have deadly consequences. Secondly, our government, namely, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has to ensure greater quality control. There are reports that the federal government allowed the industry to begin it’s own testing this year. Fourthly, as consumers, we should all practice caution and care. We should take consumer alerts and recalls seriously. We should pay attention to expiration dates and if you are ever in doubt about the quality of any food, don’t buy or eat it. Notify the company of your concern. In the case of food, we all need to take caution when handling and preparing. Even in our own homes.

Unfortunately, and sadly, as a result of this contamination, lives have been lost, and for that I offer my deepest condolences.

Happy Shopping!!

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