Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CFIA records reveal Gray’s failures

Recently-released records held by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reveal that L.H. Gray and Sons Ltd. experienced persistent quality-control problems stretching over three years from 2008 to 2011.

The records show that in 14 cases, the problems were so severe that entire tractor-trailer loads of eggs were detained by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Some were at the company’s egg-grading facilities at Strathroy and Listowel and some at its Lashbrook breaking plant in Elmira.

In October, 2010, the company was warned that its egg cartons do not comply with labeling regulations; the company was given six months to come into compliance with a new printing of cartons.

There were another seven reports of “shell egg failures” for issues such as cracked and leaking eggs ready for shipment to stores.

There were also three cases of washwater failing to meet standards, such as adequate temperature or bacterial content.

The records bolster allegations by Norman Bourdeau, a former information technology officer with the company, that management adjusted the automatic-grading machinery to allow cracks and dirts to be packaged as Grade A eggs.

Bourdeau’s allegations are denied by Gray’s lawyers and have yet to be tested in court.