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St. Croix Courier - Letter to the Editor, Tuesday October 16,2012

posted Oct 18, 2012, 5:23 PM by SOS SaveOceanScience   [ updated Oct 18, 2012, 5:28 PM ]
 Dear Editor: 
Thank you for your excellent editorial about  the nation's "unsafe food supply" [Tuesday October 9].  You remind us that the federal government imposed severe cutbacks on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, "shifting food inspection from independent government agents to the industry itself".   The 2008 listeriosis outbreak and now this XL beef recall provide abundant evidence that industry should not be left to self-regulate and that the government should immediately reinstate a full team of CIFA inspectors.
This same federal government is  terminating our St Andrews Biological Station toxicology and contaminants staff, as well as their colleagues across Canada.  We have long relied on these government scientists to  monitor the safety and well-being of our fish and their habitat.  When their work stops, and the toxicology and contaminants lab is gone,  how will we know that our fish is healthy, safe and fit to eat?
Farmers, you tell us, urged that CIFA inspectors be retained.  Our local fisheries and aquaculture similarly need the expertise of independent government toxicology and contaminants scientists.  Without such expertise, we risk eating tainted fish.  Without such expertise, our visitors, tourists and customers risk being poisoned.   Without such expertise, we risk a US alert on our fishery and aquaculture products and a consequent shutdown of this important local industry. 
No cost-saving can justify these risks.  It's time to reinstate a full team of  CIFA inspectors . It is also time to reinstate and retain government toxicology and contaminants departments here and across Canada.
Jane Doull
St Andrews