Thursday, December 7, 2006

Food Recalls, Mario Saroli Sales Inc. and the CFIA.

On Decmber 1, 2006 The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced a food recall that may involve botulism, distibuted by a little known food Wholesaler in Ontario. Which food Retailers are involved is not being disseminated and thus consumers don't have enough information to protect themselves against this deadly toxin.

Transparancy in food quality situations should be the guiding philosophy of companies and the CFIA. Instead big retailers and government seem to be afraid of the consumer. By approaching this situation with a Need-To-Know Mind Set, the Government of Canada and corperations are complicating a deadly situation for consumers.

To be clear, SAROLI BRAND GREEN BELLA DI CERIGNOLA OLIVES, sold in 1 litre containers bearing UPC 7 79390 00404 1 and the lot code 075/6, imported to Canada by Mario Saroli Sales Inc. are being removed from the market, "because the product may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum (that)... may cause botulism, a life-threatening illness." says The Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) which is over seeing the voluntary recall. No updates have to this time, been released as to the effectiveness of the recall.

Botulism is amoung the most deadly of food toxins, most dangerous because it is colourless and odourless and thus impossible for consumers to detect.

What retail companies recieved these foods from Mario Saroli Sales Inc.? Why don't consumers know?

Granted it's probably not Mario Sarolis' fault that the olives may contain the precursors of botulism; and understood by consumers that Mario Saroli Sales Inc. dosn't want to injure the reputations of their retail clients, but fault and reputation pale in relation to the deadly nature of the contaminent in question.

The situation demands more transparancy from corperations and government.

The consumer is left with the burden of checking each package of olives at every retailer they may shop at. We're left relying on the store manager at our neighbourhood stores who may be stressed-out this week because of all the recalls, or the increased volume of shoppers at this time of year; what if a low wage stock person misses aome packages?

If Loblaws was listed as one of the companies involved in the recall, and I shop at my local 'Loblaws Market Store', I'd pobably print out the info noted above on my way to my 'Loblaws Market Store' next Friday. As it is I don't know where I should be looking, Sobeys, Dominion, Value Mart, at the small delicatessen I like to go to for that extra special Christmas thing? Or at the corner grocer I occasionaly visit on my way home? Because it's so difficult I'll probably decide not to buy olives this month; thus further injuring the industry at a time when it can least absorb the shock.

Transparancy is the best policy. Are big retailers afraid of the consumer? By being opaque, approaching this Deadly situation with a need-to-know mind set, the Government of Canada and corperations are just complicating the situation for consumers.

Companies like Mario Saroli Sales Inc. who have very little presence in the market place or on the web, (just a brief public listing in, should ask the CFIA to publish a supply chain 'tree' diagram showing exactly what went where when - in the CFIAs' press release.

Creating Transparancy through Real Time tracking should be our long term goal; rather than worrying that retailers brand names may suffer if pertinent information is made available to consumers.

The up side for retailers and governments alike, is a sence of trust that will develop among shoppers as we all work together to protect our food security through information sharing.

You can recieve e-mail press releases from the CFIA at this LINK

Telephone CFIA at 1-800-442-2342, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time Ottawa, Canada, Monday to Friday.

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