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Pundit’s Mailbag — So Much For Constructive Criticism!!!

Our pieces, Why The Secrecy On Inspection Agency Lab Results? and Inspection Agencies Could Assist In Traceability, both of which dealt with the way the Canadian Food Inspection Agency dealt with the Dole recall, brought this pointed comment from an industry member in Canada:

Call this a constructive criticism e-mail: firstly, you are typical of what I call an arrogant, opinionated American full of lots of ‘bull***’. In my opinion, you pander to the large American companies and the latest example is your views of the CFIA — quite a few suppositions there I’d say!

Like most of us, you have to make a living, of course, but to be clear you look after the people that advertise on your site. As most Americans need to be reminded (not that they will believe it, but what the hell) that the USA is not the only country in the world and the planet Earth is one very small place in relation to the multitude of universes.

A final suggestion would be to write a bit less and think more seriously about what you are writing.

In conclusion, you seem like a good guy but try to tone down the American ‘raw, raw, raw’ bit.

— Randy Dietrich
Broadview Produce
Toronto, Canada.

We are not certain if the Pundit is being attacked alone or if all Americans are being attacked, but although Randy Dietrich is entitled to an opinion, we think this kind of letter is bad for an industry that is only trying to do what is right in terms of supplying safer food for all consumers.

If we are to advance as a trade, we need dialog that is open to everyone, and part of that is the need to be able to speak to one another in a civil manner. If we attack people’s motives that kind of open communication stops.

If Randy Dietrich has any substantive disagreements with something we have said, we would be happy to publish them and get the industry debating these important issues. We welcome different perspectives.

Note, however, that there is not one point of contention, not one disagreement with anything we wrote. There’s just a vague charge that the Pundit represents a class of “Opinionated Americans full of lots of ‘bull***’” and that in some vague and unsubstantiated way, we “pander to the large American companies.”

Also, while we appreciate being reminded that “the USA is not the only country in the world and the planet earth is one very small place in relation to the multitude of universes,” we are not quite sure what the point is.

After all we made zero “suppositions” about CFIA. We argued two points:

First that it would be a good idea — for CFIA, FDA or anyone else — to est each individual leaf type in a blend in the hope that we might get a clue as to the source of an outbreak.

Second that test results by government agencies such as CFIA and FDA should be public as that transparency would protect against error, self-dealing and corruption.

If either of these points are incorrect, there is nothing in Randy Dietrich’s letter that will help us to know better answers.

On point we must agree with Randy Dietrich, on the charge of being “opinionated” we plead guilty — sort of an occupational hazard.

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