Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Made in Canada... I mean, Kerplackistan

In light of last week’s recall of several President’s Choice beef products for e-coli contamination, I realized that my sporadic reading of local news may prove one day to be detrimental to my health. Were it not for my father telling me about the recall before biting into his hamburger at our backyard barbecue, I would have never known about the recall at all. (Fortunately, our food was among the items not on the recall list.)

I have since discovered, however, that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has an RSS feed for all food recalls and allergy alerts. Once you subscribe, you will be notified via email or through your RSS reader of any items that are contaminated. Isn’t technology great?

While we’re on the subject of information about what we eat, I also found this article in last week’s Globe and Mail. It references the PC beef recall to inform us that as consumers, we never really know where our food comes from. Items that say “Made in Canada” may mean that the food is only packaged in Canada but the raw materials are produced or grown in another country altogether. For those of us who want to eat Canadian beef to support our local industries may have to look further than the product packaging to find out if a box of frozen burgers fits the bill. I am again reminded of Paul Robert’s The End of Food and the economics of modern food production: companies now search for the lowest price on raw materials from around the globe, awarding supplier contracts to the lowest bidder, whether they be from Red Deer or the Red Sea.