A comment by someone on this Blazing Cat Fur blog post got me thinking about a possible connection between XL Foods, it's use (abuse?) of migrant labour, the ritual Islamic slaughter of animals (Halal), and the E. Coli breakout at XL Foods that is spreading across the nation. After all, the plant does process more than a third of all beef for the Canadian market.
While media attention is focusing on the government's failure to detect the tainted meat before it went to market this comment in the Toronto Star reminds us that the problem starts at the beginning of the processing the beef and with the plant itself. Therefore it's not the government's fault for failing to detect the E. Coli tainted beef but XL Foods failure to maintain quality assurance that would have prevented it or at least contained it.
But since XL Foods imports migrant labour from Sudan, the Philippines, Mexico, and all points in between it appears quality control isn't on it's priority list. If it were it would mean paying decent wages to retain an experienced workforce and maintain quality and safety standards that would attract Canadian workers to produce a quality product. XL Foods is given licence to produce food for our consumption and this E. Coli breakout is not on unacceptable but also scary.
But the government isn't wholly off the hook. As long as it allows companies like XL Foods to import cheap, unskilled labour to work in it's food processing plants it shares some of the blame. While we take the government and XL Foods to task for this health scare, and rightly so, we should consider how immigration and the lowering of standards played their parts.
What's even more disconcerting is that this will probable happen again.