Canadians place food safety trust in government - Nanos poll



    OTTAWA, May 20 /CNW Telbec/ - The vast majority of Canadians want
government to step in and play a much more active role to ensure food safety
because they don't trust industry to do the job, according to a new Nanos
survey.
    Seven in ten Canadians believe Ottawa should invest more resources and be
more hands-on in policing the safety of food, while only one in five believe
the government should rely more on the food industry to police its own safety
processes.
    The survey also found that only 4% of Canadians have a high level of
trust in food companies to assess themselves when it comes to compliance with
safety rules.
    "Public opinion is far ahead of Ottawa's current approach to inspecting
food companies for compliance with safety rules. Currently, there simply are
not enough inspectors to verify that processed meat producers are following
the safety rules and that's not good enough for Canadians," said Bob Kingston,
President of the Agriculture Union - PSAC, which commissioned the poll.
    On Monday, May 25 at 4 pm, Bob Kingston will be testifying before the
parliamentary committee investigating the listeriosis outbreak.
    The survey found that sixty-four percent of Canadians either blame the
government for turning over critical inspection duties to industry or business
for cutting food safety corners to save money. Only 27% subscribe to the view
that the outbreak was simply an unfortunate and unavoidable accident.
    "Canadians reject industry and government's explanation that an
unforeseen and unavoidable risk led to last summer's food poisoning outbreak
that left 22 people dead. This was a failure of the inspection system, in
spite of what business and government decision-makers would like us to
believe, and Canadians want it fixed," Kingston said.
    Some MPs on the parliamentary committee investigating the listeriosis
outbreak and food safety have been troubled that government officials
including Minister Ritz and Canadian Food Inspection Agency President Carole
Swann have refused to accept ultimate responsibility for what happened last
summer.
    On the question of who should be responsible, Canadians are very clear:
73% think the government should take the lead role in ensuring food safety
standards are met, while only 18% think food business can ensure food safety
standards are met for the foods they produce.

    Nanos Research conducted a random telephone survey of 1001 Canadians 18+
years of age from April 25th to May 3rd to produce these data. A sample of
this size produces a margin of accuracy of plus or minus 3.1%, 19 times out of
20.

    
                                    NANOS
           STAT SHEET - NATIONAL OMNIBUS - AGRICULTURE UNION-PSAC

    Q1. Which group do you trust most to ensure that the food consumed by
    Canadians is safe: (Rotate) Government food inspectors and scientists,
    food company employees, grocery store employees?

    Government food        Food company      Grocery store     Unsure
    inspectors and         employees         employees
    scientists

    72.4%                  13.7%             5.9%              7.9%

    Q2. Do you think that (ROTATE) the government should rely more on the
    food industry to police its own safety processes or that the federal
    government should invest more resources and be more hands on in policing
    the safety of food?

    The government should rely   The federal government           Unsure
    more on the food industry    should invest more resources
    to police its own safety     and be more hands on in
    processes                    policing the safety of food

    21.9%                        70.5%                            7.5%

    Q3. On a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is not at all trust and 5 is very much
    trust, how much trust would you place in unverified safety compliance
    assessment reports food companies conduct themselves and provide to
    government?

    Not at all trust     2       3       4      Very Much trust   Don't know

    23.0%                27.3%   33.0%   8.4%   4.0%              4.3%

    Q4. Some people think that (ROTATE) food businesses can ensure food
    safety standards are met for the foods they produce, others think that
    the government should take the lead role in ensuring food safety
    standards are met. Which of these views best reflects your personal view?

    Food businesses can ensure   The government should take       Unsure
    food safety standards are    the lead role in ensuring
    met for the foods they       food safety standards are met
    produce

    18.0%                        72.7%                            9.4%

    Q5. As you may know, and outbreak of listeriosis last summer killed 22
    people and left many others ill. Which of the following do you think best
    describes why these incidents occurred?

    They are simply        Businesses cut    The government    Unsure
    unfortunate and        food safety       turned over
    unavoidable            corners to save   critical
    accidents              money             inspection duties
                                             to industry

    27.3%                  37.9%             25.7%             9.1%
    




For further information:

For further information: Jim Thompson, (613) 447-9592

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