If there is one sure way for the bureaucrats to increase their power and control, it is the call for safety. There has probably been nothing to increase the cost of doing business and cost of living more than safety regulations over every aspect of life. Can politicians not have enough faith in the people they represent to realize that safety is a personal concern and responsibility. Government will never be able to, nor can be expected to, protect everyone from the cradle to the grave. There are hazards of many kinds from many sources, and always will be. In trying to regulate for the few, the government is putting a burden on the many.
The Minister of Agriculture's concern about small meat processors sounds very much like he is representing the bureaucracy, not the people he represents. These small butchers will build their business to attract customers. The customers will be satisfied with them or they will not buy from them. The ones we should be concerned with are the big supermarkets and big food processors. Even with great levels of regulations and bureaucratic inspectors, the big processors are where problems with food quality have been experienced.
Many people are seeking local sources of meat and fish. The stuff in the supermarkets can no longer be fried. It has been so injected with water (and heaven knows what else) that it boils instead of fries. Better we can buy from local people that we can trust instead of from big, and big foreign, producers. If something does go wrong we at least have recourse against someone we can deal with. The big corporations would rather spend big dollars in advertising and legal fees than be responsible to people.
One unfortunate aspect of the so called safety regulations is their rigidity. Instead of inspectors being allowed some leeway in assuring safety, they are given strict rules to apply wether the circumstances warrant or not. I once had a client in Nova Scotia who started a business making fish patties of various flavours. One flavour contained “bacon bits”. The zealous inspector came and filed a report that he was processing meat and needed a meat processing license or would be shut down. There are hundreds of stories of such stupidity.
I have always suggested that regulations be considered as guidelines which would allow the bureaucrats and inspectors to exercise their expertise to determine if the spirit of the regulation was satisfied. Most regulations are written in some office with the view that every conceivable circumstance be covered. Often the inspector tries to find as many violations as possible to report, in order to make themselves look good. Seldom does an employee of Government have the experience of actually doing the things they hold supervision over.
As far as water and food safety goes, there has been increasing concern that the escalating safety standards are decreasing the ability of the body to cope with even lower levels of hazards.