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February 13th, 2015

Harper government needs to reassure consumers and beef exporters

The discovery of a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in an Alberta beef herd means the Conservative government must take swift action to maintain food safety and consumer confidence. Mad cow disease once devastated Canadian agriculture, causing billions of dollars in financial losses to beef and cattle producers.

“While this is an isolated case, the Minister of Agriculture needs to take it seriously and ensure the source of contamination is found as quickly as possible,” said Malcolm Allen (Welland), NDP critic for Agriculture. “Swift action is also needed to protect the livelihoods of Canada’s farm families by reinforcing consumer confidence in Canadian beef and maintaining access to foreign markets.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which leads Canada’s response to diseases like BSE, has faced significant staff cuts in recent years. In animal health cases, a swift response from the CFIA remains essential to identifying and containing any threats to the health and safety of Canadians.

“Maintaining the confidence of Canadians and our key trading partners is essential to the creation of economic opportunities for our beef producers,” added Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé), NDP deputy critic for Agriculture. “In order to do that, we will continue to press the Minister for action and updates as this situation evolves.”