The tainted meat scandal that continues to dominate Canadian news headlines has provoked harsh criticism of XL Foods – the company at the centre of the nation’s largest ever meat recall – regulator the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Federal Conservative Government. Yet, as humourist and political commentator Rick Mercer astutely underscores in a recent video rant (see below), the most important question the crisis raises relates to the whether it is safe for up to 40% of the country’s beef to be processed by a single plant.
The XL scandal is but the latest and most dramatic wake-up call for Canadians as to the direction successive federal and provincial governments have pushed the Canadian food system – legislating smaller, locally run farms and processors out of business in favour of monolithic, centralized corporate food producers.
In the aftermath of this tainted meat debacle, as our politicians point fingers, attempt to derive lessons and develop policy changes to help prevent this situation from repeating itself, the primary focus needs to be on addressing this overblown corporate food system run amok. We are frequently told small operators can’t safely produce and process our agricultural products, yet the system our governments have imposed on us in their place is clearly proving the opposite is true.
Check out Rick Mercer’s prescient rant on the subject below.