Mayors from across southwestern Ontario met Thursday in Toronto to denounce the deregulation of food packaging and demand the minister of agriculture to meet with them to discuss the matter.
The federal government plans to deregulated package sizes. But the 20 mayors worry that will put Ontario food processors at a disadvantage to their American counterparts and cause what processors previously called "massive job loss."
The coalition, led by Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, discussed what they called "the far-reaching economic and social impacts of the proposed selective deregulation."
The change would eliminate regulated package sizes on products including maple syrup, wine, honey, sandwich meats, bacon, and canned and frozen fruits and vegetables.
The coalition of mayors also presented Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz with a letter outlining "the dangers that such a move would pose to Canadian families, food processors, and the economy."
“For 50 years, regulated package sizes have provided a level playing field for local producers and have given Canada a stable agricultural investment climate,” Leamington Mayor John Paterson said. “With the proposed deregulation, that all changes.”
The group wants the federal minister of agriculture to hold a roundtable summit involving everyone with a stake in the matter, to discuss the reforms.
"We're looking at an industry of over $880 million being impacted by the deregulation of the can sizes for the processors," Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos said. "Companies like Heinz, Bonduelle, Sunbright are all at stake."
Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara said Canadian farmers and food producers will rack up huge losses.
“We urge the federal government to think of the devastating impact that deregulation will inevitably have on local and provincial economies," he said. "We're getting numbers that, with all industries combined, and payrolls and contracts and so forth, it's about $880 million and thousands of jobs."
Ritz responds to mayors
“These changes will give consumers more options at the grocery store and give industry more packaging choices," he said in a statement. "Our government is conducting a full and transparent consultation, including examining economic impacts as required when changing regulations through the Canada Gazette process."
In a statement emailed to CBC News in November, Heinz Canada spoke out against the proposed changes. The company said the changes took food processors by surprise.
"The regulatory changes on page 219 in the Federal Government Budget 2012 came as a surprise to many stakeholders, including municipal, provincial and federal representatives, as well as consumers, producers and processors," wrote Andrea Acic. "Of particular concern is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s intention to deregulate container sizes for many packaged foods sold in Canada. This change does not help consumers and has implications for producers, processors and communities.
"We encourage people to educate themselves on this issue and understand the risks and tradeoffs by visiting KeepFoodJobsInCanada.ca. Then contact their MP and the Honourable Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz to voice their opinion."
The government told CBC last month that the changes are intended to improve Canadian food safety. Because packaging regulations fall under the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), streamlined sizes will free up inspectors to focus on allergy labelling and food inspection elsewhere.
Canadian food processors are not required to retool their plants. They can do so if they choose, a spokesperson for Ritz said.
Processors could apply for funding to retool, doing so through the AgriProcessing Initiative (API), part of the Agricultural Flexibility Fund announced in Budget 2009.
“As was reiterated to industry groups during our most recent consultation last week, there will be a multi-year transition period to ensure a smooth transition for Canadian processors and packagers," Ritz wrote. "We’ll continue to work with industry to bring forward these changes in a way that works best case by case.”
Trader Joe's Pulls 'Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice' Over Listeria Risk
In early December, Trader Joe's announced that the producer behind its <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/03/trader-joes-recall-butter-chicken_n_2231507.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">"Trader Joe's Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice" was recalling 4,865 pounds of the product</a> because they may be contaminated with Listeria. The product was distributed nationwide, to stores in New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maine and Rhode Island.
Fresh Express Recalls Spinach Packages Over Salmonella Risk
Salad distributor Fresh Express voluntarily recalled 9 oz. packages of spinach in November because they may be <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/08/fresh-express-spinach-recall_n_2094286.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">tainted with salmonella bacteria</a>. The packages were sold to stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington State and Wyoming.
Wegmans Recalls Spinach And Spring Mix Salad Following E. Coli Outbreak
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/02/wegmans-salad-recall-e-coli_n_2063939.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">Sixteen cases of E. coli were linked to organic spinach and spring mix salads from Wegmans</a>, which in early November recalled 5 and 11-ounce packages of the products.
Publix Pulls 45 Cake Varieties From Florida Shelves
In November, Publix supermarkets in several Florida counties pulled 45 varieties of cake from shelves because of fears they may have been <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/16/publix-cake-recall_n_2146833.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">contaminated with Listeria bacteria</a>.
Smoked Salmon The Culprit In Widespread Salmonella Outbreak
Authorities in the Netherlands said in October that tainted <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/smoked-salmon-salmonella_n_1931940.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">smoked salmon is the cause of a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds of people</a>. The same product may also be responsible for a multi-state outbreak in the U.S.
Kellogg's Recalls Millions Of Mini-Wheats Boxes
In October, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/11/kelloggs-mini-wheats-recall_n_1957487.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">Kellogg's announced the recall of millions of boxes of Mini-Wheats cereal</a> after reports of pieces of metal mesh found within by some consumers. A "faulty manufacturing part" was reportedly to blame.
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Found In Pork Samples
An investigation by Consumer Reports found that a shockingly high proportion of pork sold in grocery stores tested positive for potentially harmful bacteria. About 69 percent of the pork chop and ground pork samples tested <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/pork-investigation-consumer-reports_n_2197316.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">contained Yersinia enterocolitica bacteria, which sickens about 100,000 people a year</a>. Most of the bacteria found was resistant to at least one form of antibiotic.
McDonald's Location Implicated In Rare Salmonella Outbreak
A McDonald's eatery in Bloomington, Ill. was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/mcdonalds-bloomington-salmonella_n_2197920.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">linked to a string of salmonella sickenings</a> involving several restaurants between October 18 and November 11. It closed down as investigators tested every employee. Those who fell ill were sick for about a week with a particularly nasty strain -- Salmonella Stanley -- which is rare outside of Southeast Asia.
Sunland Linked To Widespread Salmonella Outbreak, Plant Shuttered
In November, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/sunland-peanut-butter-plant-fda_n_2194620.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety" target="_hplink">FDA shuttered Sunland Inc.'s plant</a> months after it was first implicated in a widespread salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people in 20 states. Peanut and other nut butters sold at chains including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Safeway and Target.
Canadian Beef In E. Coli Enter U.S. Markets
In September, the USDA reported that ground beef part of a nationwide Canadian recall for E. coli contamination had <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/21/ground-beef-canada-e-coli_n_1903482.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">found its way into the U.S.</a> The beef, which was originally produced by Alberta-based company XL Foods, was distributed in California, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
Kroger Pulls Spinach Bags In 15 States Over Listeria Risk
In September, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/spinach-listeria-recall-kroger_n_1897855.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">Kroger recalled 10 oz. bags of packaged spinach</a> that had been distributed in 15 states, citing a potential Listeria contamination.
Undercover Report Finds Illegal Rat Meat Sold In London Market
An undercover investigation led by the BBC found "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/rat-meat-london_n_1891832.html">shocking quantities" of "potentially unsafe" rat meat</a> sold at one of London's most popular markets, Ridley Road Market. Large quantities of other illegal bushmeat were also for sale.
Egg Farm Manager Pleads Guilty To Bribing USDA Inspector
Former egg farm manager Tony Wasmund plead guilty in September to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/tony-wasmund-bribery-egg-farm-salmonella_n_1877784.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">conspiring to bribe a USDA inspector</a> to allow the sale of unapproved eggs. The farm at which Wasmund worked, DeCoster Farms in Iowa City, Iowa, was blamed for a salmonella outbreak that sickened about 2,000 people.
KFC Employees Claim Eatery Sold Expired Meat
In September, workers at a Conroe, Tex. KFC said they <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/kfc-spoiled-chicken-conroe-texas_n_1876870.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">sold expired chicken</a>. The meat was allegedly six days past the date at which it was supposed to have been thrown out.
Three Deaths Linked To Listeria-Tainted Rescolina Ricotta
In September, it was announced that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/12/listeria-cheese_n_1876930.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">14 hospitalizations and three deaths were linked to Listeria-tainted cheese</a> imported from Italy. Frescolina brand Ricotta Salata was recalled by distributor Forever Cheese Inc. following reports.
16-State Salmonella Outbreak Traced To Mexican Mangos
In August, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/mango-salmonella-outbreak_n_1846116.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">more than 100 people across 16 states reportedly were sickened with salmonella after eating mangos</a>. In September, the Food and Drug Administration detained mango imports from a Mexican packing house after the fruits were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/mexican-mango-salmonella-imports_n_1885418.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">linked to the sickenings</a>.
2,920 Pounds Of Beef Recalled For Pen Fragments
In August, Wisconsin outfit Klement's Sausage Company Inc. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/pen-bratwurst-recall_n_1847002.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">recalled 2,920 pounds of frozen beef because they may contain pieces of a plastic pen</a>.
Cantaloupe Salmonella Outbreak Kills 2, Sickens 141
In August, it was determined that a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/18/cantaloupe-salmonella-outbreak-indiana_n_1799225.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">salmonella outbreak linked to cantaloupe sickened nearly 150 people and contributed to the deaths of two</a>. The outbreak, which began in July, affected consumers in Indiana, Kentucky and Minnesota.
E. Coli Risk Prompts 38,200-Pound Beef Recall
In August, Utah company Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/dale-t-smith-beef-recall-e-coli_n_1778855.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">recalled 38,200 pounds of beef</a> due to a possible E. coli contamination.
Apple Slices At McDonald's, Burger King Recalled Over Listeria Risk
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/apple-slices-mcdonalds-listeria-burger-king-recalled_n_1766286.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">Apple slices sold in children's meals at fast food chains McDonald's and Burger King were recalled</a> in August due to a potential Listeria contamination. The slices were also distributed to Wawa convenience stores and Wegman's grocery chains.
300 Arkansas Prison Inmates Sickened By Chicken Salad
In August, 300 prisoners in an Arkansas prison were stricken with food poisoning after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/10/arkansas-prison-food-poisoning_n_1765236.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">consuming tainted chicken salad</a>.
E. Coli Picnic Outbreak Kills 1, Sickens 75
An <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/25/e-coli-picnic_n_1701467.html">E. coli outbreak in July traced to a company picnic in Ohio</a> is responsible for the sickenings of 75 people and the death of one. Lowell Draffen, a 73-year-old former superintendent at several school districts in Ohio, developed developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure and passed away.
Meatball Manufacturer Recalls 324,700 Pounds Of Meat For Listeria Risk
In July, New Jersey-based manufacturer Buona Vita Inc. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/meatball-recall-listeria_n_1656687.html">recalled about 324,700 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat meat and poultry products</a>, citing a possible listeria contamination. The items included meatballs, chicken and beef patties, and loafs of chicken and beef.
Bagged Salad Producer Recalls Products Nationwide For Listeria Risk
California lettuce producer River Ranch Fresh Foods <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/21/river-ranch-fresh-foods-bagged-salad-recall_n_1534306.html">voluntarily recalled bags of its salads nationwide</a> in May when some routing testing returned positive for listeria. No illnesses were reported.
KFC Order To Pay $8.3 Million To Family Of Salmonella Victim
In April, fast food giant <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/27/kfc-ruling-salmonella-poisoning_n_1458031.html">KFC was ordered to pay $8.3 million to the family of Monika Samaan</a>, who at age seven contracted a serious case of salmonella after dining at a KFC eatery. The episode left her confined to a wheelchair with serious brain damage.
Mad Cow Disease Confirmed In California Dairy Cow
The USDA confirmed in April a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/mad-cow-disease-california-usda_n_1449871.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">case of mad cow disease in a dairy cow</a> found at a California transfer station. The finding sparked widespread panic in the U.S. beef community.
'Tuna Scrape' Sickens 116 People With Salmonella In 20-State Outbreak
In April, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/16/yellowfin-spicy-tuna-sushi-salmonella_n_1428116.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">salmonella outbreak linked to a yellowfin tuna product</a> made by Moon Marine USA Corp. was first reported. The culprit was "tuna scrape," a product made by scraping backmeat off fish bones, give it a ground-like appearance. It's often used in sushi. A <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/25/salmonella-sushi-lawsuit_n_1453115.html">lawsuit linked to the outbreak</a> was later filed.
756 Cases Of Dole Bagged Salad Pulled For Salmonella Risk
In April, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/15/dole-bagged-salad-recall_n_1427120.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">Dole Food Co. pulled 756 cases of bagged lettuce citing a salmonella risk</a>. The bags of Seven Lettuces were sold to stores in Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.
'Pink Slime' Incites Concern, Debate
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/16/pink-slime-food-safety-farm-bill_n_1428245.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">"Pink slime" became one of the biggest stories of the year</a> in March when food activists went wild over the beef filler often used in school cafeterias. The finely textured beef product, made with scraps from more premium cuts, is treated with ammonia before being sold as ground beef.
Poland Recalls 500,000 Pounds Of Food Suspected To Contain Road Salt
In March, Polish health authorities recalled more than 500,000 pounds of pickles, bread and other foods they believe <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/09/poland-food-recall_n_1334392.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">may contain with industrial road salt</a> unfit for human consumption.
Woman Sues Taco Bell Over Alleged Salmonella Sickening
Oklahoma resident Leah Smith <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/taco-bell-lawsuit_n_1293515.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">filed a lawsuit against Taco Bell</a> in February, alleging that she contracted salmonella poisoning after eating food from the fast food chain. The chain was fingered as the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/02/taco-bell-salmonella_n_1249683.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">likely culprit behind a string of salmonella sickenings</a> in October and November of 2011.
2,800 Sandwiches Recalled For Listeria Risk
South Carolina company Grand Strand Sandwich Co. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/08/chicken-salad-sandwiches-recalled_n_1262178.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">recalled about 2,800 of its chicken salad sandwiches</a> in February, citing potential listeria contamination.
15,000 Pails Of Eggs Recalled For Listeria Risk
Minnesota-based company Michael Foods <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/03/egg-recall-2012-listeria_n_1252484.html">recalled 15,000 pails of eggs in brine</a> in early February, citing potential listeria contamination. The eggs, which were meant for institutional use, had been distributed in 34 states.
Unpasteurized Tempeh Linked To Salmonella Outbreak That Sickens 60
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/tempeh-salmonella-outbreak_n_1500383.html">Unpasteurized tempeh produced by North Carolina company Smiling Hara was linked in February to a rare strain of salmonella</a> that sickened 60 people. The outbreak strain, Salmonella Paratyphyi B, can cause severe symptoms. Of those 60 people, several people were hospitalized.
Raw Sprouts At Jimmy John's Responsible For E. Coli Cases
In February, it was determined that<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/16/jimmy-johns-e-coli_n_1281448.html"> raw sprouts served in dishes at sandwich chain Jimmy John's were behind 12 cases of E. coli</a> poisonings in five states.
19 Sickened With Drug-Resistant Salmonella Strain After Eating Beef
In January, it was reported that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/06/drug-resistant-salmonella-outbreak_n_1189182.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety">19 people had fallen ill with a drug-resistant strain of salmonella</a> after eating beef sold at Scarborough, Maine-based supermarket chain Hannaford.
Fromagerie Marie Kade Cheeses Recalled For Listeria Risk
A recall Fromagerie Marie Kade cheeses that began in the last days of 2011 and lasted through early 2012 was called by Massachusetts health officials due to a potential listeria risk.