Less you thought "waving the bloody shirt" was a strictly American tactic, check on what’s going on in Canada right now.
The fatal listeria outbreak and big ham and cheese recall has opposition leaders saying Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty should be held accountable and the "bloody shirt" they are waving is the 2000 Walkerton Tragedy, where deadly E coli water contamination ended up killing seven and making 2,500 sick. That story of a public water supply being turned to deadly poison got scant attention in the States, but was a major event of the decade north of the border, especially in Ontario. (For background, go here.)
Confirmed deaths in the Maple Leaf Foods recall jumped to 15 yesterday when a 60-year old Windsor-area woman who expired Aug. 29th was found by tests to be the result of listeria.
Also, ham and cheese is being recalled in Canada due to more possible listeria contamination. Canwest News Service reports:
Ivanhoe Cheese Inc., based in Madoc, Ont., has recalled its Great Canadian brand Marble Cheese, 400 grams, Great Canadian brand Shredded Marble Cheese, 200g, and Ivanhoe brand Marble Cheese, 2.5 kilograms, because they could be tainted with Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis, a potentially deadly food-borne illness. The agency said the cheese products were distributed in Ontario.
A recall was also issued for cooked ham sold in Quebec and manufactured by Montreal-based Metro-Richelieu over listeria concerns, the agency said. Merit Selection Delicatessen Cooked Extra Lean Ham, with best before dates of Oct. 12, were sold in Metro, Richelieu, Ami and Extra stores in Quebec between Aug. 13 and Sept. 12.
In the Maple Leaf Foods outbreak, the listeria most likely came from contaminated meat slicers. Five more deaths are under investigation. Another 24 patients with listeriosis have been linked to a variety of contaminated deli meats prepared at a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto.
All of which has turned up the political heat, but Canadian political observers note that where the public water supply in Walkerton was a responsibility of the province, food inspection is entirely a federal responsibility.