Independent poll shows Canadians reject Conservatives’ food inspection policies

The great majority of Canadians reject the Harper government’s policy of permitting the food processing industry to police its own safety practices. Moreover, they are calling for a restoration of inspection staff cuts made by the Conservatives in recent years.

The Agriculture Union today released the results of a professional, arms-length poll commissioned from Nanos Research at a Winnipeg news conference.

Among its findings, the poll revealed that:

  • Seven in 10 Canadians believe government should be ultimately responsible for food safety, while only 26 per cent think food production companies should be responsible.
  • 84 per cent trust government inspectors and scientists to ensure the food we eat is safe, up substantially from 2008 when 64 per cent of Canadians held this view.
  • Only 14 per cent think the government should rely more on food companies to police their own safety processes while three-quarters believe the federal government should invest more and be more hands-on in policing food safety.

The public has good reason to hold these opinions, said Bob Kingston, Agriculture Union National President. “Canadians just do not trust the food companies when it comes to safety. They reject the federal government’s retreat from direct oversight of food processors and increasing reliance on industry to police their own safety practices.”

Kingston told media at the Winnipeg news conference that federal meat inspection teams in Manitoba are 30 to 57 per cent below minimum staffing levels. “Every meat slaughter facility in the province of Manitoba is operating with substantially fewer than the minimum number of meat inspectors required to ensure consumer safety, including the giant Maple Leaf Foods hog slaughter establishment in Brandon.” It’s a scenario that plays out across the country, he noted.

The full text of our news release can be viewed HERE.