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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
27.3% 37.9% 25.7% 9.1%
For further information:
For further information: Jim Thompson, (613) 447-9592