The controversy in XL between Canada and the United States has been associated with the Keystone XL pipeline. Now, XL Foods is bringing plenty of controversy on both sides of the border.
For Americans, XL Foods is the source for the latest beef recall, now affecting 30 states. So far, there have not been any reported problems on the southern side of the border.
For Canadians, there are now 5 cases of E. coli-related illness, all in Alberta (the latest in Grande Prairie and four in Edmonton). But the country is also dealing with the backlash aaginst the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which took a full two weeks before issuing a recall against the beef.
The recall is for all meat produced on August 24, 27-29, and September 5. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has suspended the license for XL Foods.
While we had hoped that even the Conservative government in Canada would work on improving food safety, the federal budget cuts helped reduce the number of food inspectors. What is even more amazing is that Alberta is the primary source of beef, where the most problems have been in the Canadian food supply, and also the source of federal power. You would think they would be extra careful with the Canadian beef market.
This recall isn't just about ground beef. The recall now includes cuts of steaks and roasts, stewing beef, and beef breakfast sausage.
This lends more credibility to the drive to keep me away from a medium-rare burger in Alberta, both in perception and reality. They certainly didn't want me and other tourists to get sick immediately after having a burger, but they also wanted to maintain this "safe" image for beef. Maybe they should run the buffalo and elk through different facilities.
Alberta is proud of its beef, whether that is consumed in the province, elsewhere in Canada, or exported to such places as the United States. The province and its friends in Ottawa might want to keep that in mind as incidents such as these don't speak well to the way Canada inspects its food.
My CanadianCrossing.com side wants lots of trade between Canada and the United States. My BalanceofFood.com wants safer food, regardless of country.
When I see commercials for Canadian pizza places, I notice that the pizzas don't look that good and they are really expensive.
How the pizzas look is subjective, but objectively, those pizzas are a lot more expensive than what you get in the States.
Turns out that cheese, pizza cheese is quite expensive in Canada. The difference is approximately 3x as much "dough." The cheese is higher quality, but still.
The difference in the cost of cheese factored in recent arrests of officers who allegedly helped smuggle pizza cheese from the United States to Canada.
Bringing the cheese across the border violates a number of laws: customs, duties, permits, and licenses. But the food price to be paid is that Canadian pizza would have inferior cheese and still be at or near the higher prices. After all, if Canadian pizza places used inferior cheese and lowered their prices, people would be suspicious.
The food crime would be using lower quality cheese and keeping the extra profits.
Thankfully, published reports noted that some pizza places turned down the clearly inferior cheese, and not just because it was illegal.