GFM Network News

Raw milk cheese: Another sterile debate

On Sept. 18 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed one person had died and several people in B.C. and Alberta were ill from eating E. coli-contaminated raw milk cheese produced at a B.C. farm. As soon as the recall was announced, the media went into full frenzy and the usual “debate” about the safety of

Can’t cut the mustard — it’s everywhere

Since Canada’s new food allergen labelling regulations came into force on Aug. 4, 2012, the most common category of recalls has been undeclared mustard. There have been eight national voluntary Class 1 product recalls on a broad range of products, including kosher frankfurters, macaroni and potato salad, pizzas, barbecue kabobs, various wiener products and, just

Tories deliver feast of food law reform

With all the media hype about XL Foods, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we still have a food regulatory system as good as any. And it’s getting better. The Harper government’s quick adoption and speedy implementation of all 54 recommendations of the Weatherill report on the 2008 listeriosis outbreak, is now

Soy in the wheat flour? Soy what?

Most wheat and wheat-derived food products sold in Canadian grocery stores today contain soy that is undeclared on the label. Yes, you read that right. Because of farming operations with common storage facilities, and shared harvesting and transportation equipment, most wheat products contain detectable levels of soy. This contamination is adventitious and largely unavoidable with

Measuring food safety

How safe is our food? What is the economic cost of foodborne illness? How does Canada’s food safety performance compare to other countries? In spite of what you may have read recently, we don’t have clear answers to any of these questions, nor will we anytime soon. Not everything that counts can be counted, as

On rural romanticism and “natural” foods

The proliferation on our grocery shelves of foods with “natural” claims shows no sign of abating. With the growing recognition that organic food is not any safer, tastier, more nutritious or more sustainable, in spite of the higher price, consumers now want foods that are produced the old-fashioned way on the small family farm. Not

More on uncertainty and food safety investigations

Our summary last month of the largest foodborne illness outbreak of the last decade in the U.S. (salmonella in green peppers) and in Europe (E. coli in organic sprouts) demonstrated the diabolical complexity faced by food safety regulators when they carry out investigations characterized by deep factual and scientific uncertainty. In both cases, investigators were

Lessons For Canada From The Food Safety Modernization Act

FOOD LAWYER / OTTAWA The new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 4 is a model of how not to make food safety law. The Americans laboured long and hard and delivered a mouse. Under the FSMA, some powers of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are

Food Regulatory Reform Not Needed

Like a bad rash that just won’t go away, talk of major legislative change to Canada’s food regulatory system is back. This talk is worse than just a waste of time because it distracts people from focusing on what can and should be done now to reform our food regulatory system. Our legislation is fine

Universities Flunking On Food Safety

The remarkable success in controlling many foodborne diseases must be considered one of the great achievements of public health in the past century. Due largely to public health laws, food regulatory agencies and continuous improvement by the food industry, we have almost eradicated human disease and death from many foodborne diseases such as scarlet fever,