Tuesday, November 22, 2016

CFIA finally releases egg documents

It has taken five years and eight months, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has finally released documents and pictures of eggs held in improper storage by L.H. Gray and Son Ltd. and Lashbrooks, a Gray-owned egg processing company.

They came today after I filed an Access-to-Information request in 2011 and then an appeal to the Information Commissioner because not all the documentation was released.

The documents show that inspectors at Lashbrooks identified black spots on eggs coming out of storage at Flash Freight north of Guelph.

The caption on one of a number of pictures of the stored eggs indicates they were held with “NO REFRIGERATION”. 
That is not substantiated in the CFIA correspondence between inspectors.

What is revealed is that Bob Armstrong asked Lindsay Dyce for “any evidence I can include with the letter” to Gray “regarding storing eggs off site under acceptable conditions.”

Armstrong says he and another inspector visited the storage facilities the morning of March 2, 2010, and found “It was not very impressive. One of the coolers they were storing the eggs in had very dirty Styrofoam panels covering the walls.”

He said they did not find any rodent droppings, but that they also did not see any bait stations in the facility.

Dyce reported earlier that same day that he had found evidence of a “smeared stain like residue and footprints as well as partially eaten eggs on top trays."

He said management at Flash Freight think the footprints and eaten eggs were from a stray cat they couldn’t get rid of until they emptied a room a few days earlier.

What the documents do not reveal is why Gray and Lashbrook needed to store so many eggs.

A few weeks earlier, the company used supplementary import permits to bring in eggs from the United States.

That’s a pattern that has been familiar in the Ontario egg industry – egg graders claiming they can’t get enough eggs for the Christmas market and obtaining supplementary import permits from the federal government so they can import from the United States without paying huge tariffs.

Then in January, the companies declare they have too many eggs and the farmer-funded marketing boards are forced to underwrite the cost of diverting them to egg processors.