Mr. Speaker, I rise today on the concerns Canadians have about our food inspections. Consumers need to be assured that the food they eat is as safe as it can be. There are a number of reasons for this cause of concern.
With the creation of the Canada Food Inspection Agency, the government has estimated that it will save $100 million over the next few years, hopefully not at the expense of the consumers.
Recent reports have suggested that food imports arriving at Canada's borders are not being inspected thoroughly enough. The November 1996 auditor general's report stated that the level of inspection activity aimed at different food products may not be consistent with their potential risk to human health.
It is time for the federal government to recognize that there are improvements which should be made to our food inspection. The questions that have been raised about our food inspection system deserve to be examined by a parliamentary committee. The CFIA must take a stronger federal role in the area of food safety.