Maple Leaf Scare Provides Meat for Thought

Despite a public apology and acknowledgement of responsibility, the tragedy from tainted meats in Canada may not yet be over.

Even in light of this incident, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) seems to be following through with a plan that would lower inspection requirements for domestic meat products, while maintaining higher standards for exports.

Although safety issue don’t appear to be a concern, consumer confidence is at stake. This would affect already cash-strapped beef farmers.

Susan Bourette, a journalist who worked undercover for Maple Leaf in 2004 to write her book, Carnivore Chic: From Pasture to Plate, a Search for the Perfect Meat, thinks deregulation is a bad idea for other reasons. She resists Canadians adopting an American approach to meat inspection when their industry is fraught with so many problems,

In 2007, there were 21 beef recalls on some 33.4 million pounds of beef linked to E. coli – an upswing of nearly 150 per cent from a year earlier. And so far, 2008 looks to be far grimmer…

Incidences of contamination by other pathogens such as listeriosis and salmonella have also been on an upward trend since the 1970s, coinciding with the jumped-up pace of production at ever bigger slaughterhouses and processing plants.

But the market does self-correct, even without inspectors. It’s just too bad that people have to die first.

Just as BSE (mad cow) followed with litigation, Maple Leaf has been the target of several class-action suits. Jobs were threatened, and shares dropped. Canadian meat producers are likely to be extra vigilant in the near future.

If they can figure out exactly how this happened, that is.

Aside from learning from the failures of the meat industries elsewhere, government officials should also review legislation relating to liability of public apologies so that responsible companies like Maple Leaf are not penalized in the process.

Provincial associate chief medical officer of health David Williams has indicated that fear of litigation is still a major factor preventing early disclosure, perhaps the only step that would have definitively saved more lives.


  1. Well, I really don’t know who I am more ashamed of but as the days go on and new things surface, I find myself taking back some posts I have previously made on other sites.

    There are less than 75 reported cases of listeria linked to Maple Leaf in the entire Country and there are presently over 1,500 claim mongers attached to Tony Merchant alone not to mention the other legal firms in the country who have filed suit. So lets see, Maple Leaf had an accident and people got sick and some died. These Lawyers figure that there will be about 10,000 people on this class action suit by the time the dust settles. Is Maple Leaf responsible? Sure, but to what degree? It’s nice to see the noble man McCain, stand in front of National Television and say “The Buck Stops Here” but why did he do that? Maple Leaf, all be it, had a problem that led to some illnesses and exactly how many deaths? When it was agencies above him and company that kept this information from the public and for how long? This could have been stopped sooner. So Maple Leaf is not totally to blame here and McCain played scapegoat.

    Ah yes, we have a wealthy family (a very wealthy family), who have friends in high places, and it is election time….. hmmmmmmm … I really wonder if the current government would stand a chance of a re-election with dirty hands on this issue if Michael McCain didn’t take the total hit? What do you think?

    Now for all you thieves who have attached themselves to this class action suit, if you win, where will the money come from? Maple Leaf? McCain? …. Lol …. It’s called third party liability insurance and if there isn’t enough there to cover, well rest assured there are company assets that would be liquidated but never would McCain or his family have to pay personally. So who are you thieves really hurting and taking from?

    Let’s say there is enough insurance to cover the estimated possible 1 billion in claims. Do you really think the Insurance Corporations will just hand it out and life goes on?? Not likely. Now everyone can look forward to major insurance premium hikes for all areas of coverages. They have to replace that loss somehow and we’re it.

    Now the flip side. If it isn’t enough money, and the sheriff is called in to seize company assets to satisfy a claim and divisions of the Company are forced to close or the company claims bankruptcy, well I guess then we have a tax hike to look at to cover the E.I . and the Welfare and you’ll be able to walk down the street and look these people in the eye and smile knowing that you were partial cause for them being out of work.

    Now for Tony Merchant… Solicitor means lawyer… not a person who Solicits business … like you’ve had your hands wrapped so many times for. It is you with your big money words an promises who is actually making thieves out of some of these once honest people. Why don’t you look after some of the claims for people you took money from on promises and commitments you have never filled….. like me!