Monday, 8 October 2012

On XL Foods, Migrant Labour, Being Halal, and the E. Coli Breakout.

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.


Alain said...

I place the blame squarely on crony capitalism, that is the few mega packing plants lobbying the government to implement requirements that would put out of business the numerous small local abattoirs in the guise of ensuring food safety. The smaller local abattoirs never had sanitation problem nor outbreaks of contaminated meat. That was, and remains a problem with the mega packing plants and they are also the ones hiring foreign workers in order to save money. It stands to reason that when you add to the foreign workers and massive volume of animals slaughtered per day, you cannot maintain the proper control and sanitation of smaller local abattoirs that process only a few head a day.

Anonymous said...

Another blog has been "ruminating" on this very issue too:

As well, the topic has appeared, from time to time, on VDARE.COM. Too lazy/busy to go find the links.

Anonymous said...

I've got two posts up on this issue; on Islam at the plant and a description of working conditions.

Anonymous said...

just a smoke screen for what is passing into law in 18 days

PaxCanadiana said...

I've got two posts up on this issue...

Good posts!

A far as I can tell the MSM has so far shied away from discussing the issue since it involves migrant labour.

It's good to see the blogosphere keeping an eye on things where selective myopia rules the day in the MSM.

Anonymous said...

No media outlet dares suggest that 3rd world people have 3rd world hygeine.

Anonymous said...

I am a "majority" white male, who has a job in equipment repair that makes me like a "fly on the wall" in restaurant and slaughterhouse food prep areas over a large area in Alberta.
I can assure you that migrant workers are not the problem with food sanitation and preparation. It takes determination and drive, with a sense of work ethic to pick up and move half way across the world for a job.
If an immigrant is told to do a job a certain way, he/she will do it with a smile on his face.

It's the lazy, no good, mouthy kids that grew up here that will drop the burger on the floor, laugh, and put it on the bun before serving it to you. (spit may or may not be included)

PaxCanadiana said...

I can assure you that migrant workers are not the problem with food sanitation and preparation.

I won't dispute that but the use/abuse of migrant workers is part and parcel of a larger problem.

The general trend of the meat packing industry in North America is the lowering of standards and the cutting of corners to maximize profits. This includes the lowering of wages to encourage a high turn over of workers and discourage the host population from taking those jobs. This ensures that those wages stay low.

Migrant workers whose long term status in the country is dependent on their employer will least likely make a fuss. They are obedient and exploitable and low skilled and this is the problem.

A high turnover rate and a dependency on low skilled migrant workers (who I should point out have a tendency to leave those jobs once their PR papers come in) produces an inexperienced workforce from which mistakes can happen leading to an E Coli outbreak.

It's the lazy, no good, mouthy kids that grew up here that will drop the burger on the floor, laugh, and put it on the bun before serving it to you. (spit may or may not be included)

That's funny because here in Toronto most of those jobs are held by adult immigrants.

That aside you obviously don't know where E. coli comes from. It comes from the lower intestines of warm blooded animals and is found in fecal matter.

When a slaughtered animal is being prepared for processing E. coli has a habit of making its way into the processed meat due to improper cutting by ill trained employees at a meat packing plant, i.e. migrant workers.

An experienced workforce would know this and avoid tainting the meat with E. coli. But why bother investing in an experience workforce when there's a large pool of migrant work available to exploit?