Ottawa slow to act to outbreak

OTTAWA — A report into last summer’s listeriosis outbreak has found a litany of problems behind the crisis that claimed 22 lives, including a weak response by the federal government.

OTTAWA — A report into last summer’s listeriosis outbreak has found a litany of problems behind the crisis that claimed 22 lives, including a weak response by the federal government.

Investigator Sheila Weatherill’s sweeping investigation, released Tuesday, found a confluence of events contributed to what was one of Canada’s worst food-borne illness outbreaks.

Among the findings:

l Federal meat inspectors assigned to the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto where the outbreak started were “stressed” over having to oversee several other meat-processing plants.

l Government officials were also slow off the mark in responding to the outbreak after it started last July.

l The team that assesses health risks within Health Canada was short-staffed over the summer, “leaving gaps in coverage during the response to the emergency.”

l The federal government was slow to communicate with the public and didn’t keep up those communications long enough.

l here wasn’t a single point person to deliver the government’s message, leading to “a fragmented approach and seemingly inconsistent message.”

The report makes 57 recommendations to help prevent another outbreak.

It says Canada’s chief public health officer should be given a greater role during outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.

Meat companies should also be required to tip the federal government to any suspected health threats. And plants that routinely test positive for bacteria or represent a higher risk should be tested more frequently than others.

The report also recommends that manufacturers design easy-to-clean meat-processing equipment that limits the spread of bacteria.

The document does not include findings of criminal or civil liability.

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month