The good news is that Canada has a department devoted to food inspection. The bad news is that there will be fewer inspectors as a result of federal budget cuts.
The Globe and Mail reported that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Agriculture Canada will suffer among the worst hits in federal budget cuts by the Harper government.
In the election campaign of 2011, the Conservative budget promised $100 million over five years to increase capacity in the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Politicians do break promises on occasion. When you offer to raise the stakes to protect citizens from tainted food, and you make the department that helps prevent tainted food a high priority for a deep cut, well that decision makes a significant impact on average Canadians.
Under the Harper government, a listeriosis outbreak in 2008 led to 22 deaths and 35 serious illnesses from tainted deli meat.
Canada has an advantage over the United States since it has a government agency devoted to food inspection. The USDA runs marketing and inspection of the same food, and as we've seen lately, the FDA begging for voluntary help in cutting down on antibiotics in the food supply is really sad and pathetic.
But if that agency can't be effective, especially given the increasing number of food problems in recent years, Canada's advantage isn't nearly as large as it should be.
Crossing your fingers that your food is safe isn't a smart government policy.