5.02.2007

David W.K. Acheson Appointed Head of Food Safety

Announced today by the FDA, David W.K. Acheson has been named the "Food safety czar". Acheson, the author of such books as "Safe Eating: Protect Yourself and Your Family Against Deadly Bacteria", is currently acting as the chief medical officer of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, and will work in his new position alongside FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to ensure the safety of food products for Americans.

While this is a significant step forward for food safety in the USA, I wonder if a similar position should be created in Canada. Here in the great white north we have issues very similar to those found in the States. For instance, the same spinach imported to the USA that contained E. coli also came to us in Canada. Canada has also had a number of outbreaks that have not affected our southern neighbours.

After hearing a speaker today from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, I've realized how drastically understaffed our food protection groups are. There are so many issues on national and regional levels that simply cannot be addressed by the few employees that are able. As well, the huge reams of paperwork associated with typical food packaging/processing inspections are inhibitory to quick, effective action.

The government of Canada needs to follow the lead of the Americans on more than just half-assed environmental policy, and implement an equivalent qualified and educated individual to oversee food safety.
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