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Amphibian migrations threaten our food supply

Amphibian migrations threaten our food supply

02migrazionianfibieAmphibian migrations threaten our food supply

by The Hon. Joe Volpe, Publisher

TORONTO – There are alien invasions virtually everywhere in the world. The Europeans are contending with uncontrollable refugee migrants. Trump and his American supporters have to deal with “rapists murderers and drug pushers” from Mexico – all eleven million of them.

Walls have been a favourite “quick fix” solution everywhere. The Chinese erected the Great Wall to keep out Mongols and others. Romans put up Hadrian’s wall to keep out the Picts and the Scots out of England. More recently East Berliners encircled West Berliners.
Just a few years ago, Bibi Netanyahu, inspired by the fabulous success of our predecessors in their rush to secure borders and define nations, put one up to keep Palestinians out of Israel.

But can they keep undocumented amphibian workers out of our supermarkets? You read it correctly. Frogs are sneaking into our country even though they don’t have the qualifications to enter, and, quite frankly, we don’t want them.

Sure, they are good at controlling unwanted pests, insects and the like, especially as we move further and further away from reliance on chemical pesticides. But, would you want them as neighbours or as a companion to your salad? You know, the one made with tossed greens that we no longer cultivate but import year-round.

Sneaky devils. It is almost as if they establish a symbiotic relationship with the vegetables they are supposed to protect. They are following the product they work so hard to keep free of nuisance creatures, and they bring along bacteria and the like with them.

So what that they risk life and limb, hiding in air-tight plastic bags just so that they can get across the border before Trump and others get it into their heads to erect walls along the Canadian frontier and block access to the promised land. They cannot speak our language. They don’t know how we eat.

And, try as they might, they can’t pass a language test: they can only utter an unintelligible RIBBITT whenever asked a question. They can’t even hope to escape the detection of super sleuths because “fussy people” are only too willing to use a “snitch line” to out them.

Alas, one such homemaker on discovering Froggy (a name of convenience; he wasn’t carrying any “papers”), called the Peel Health Department, after she found him (tragically for him without vital signs) at the bottom of sealed bag, on October 13, 2016, in Brampton.

Not our jurisdiction, was the initial answer. Because the stowaway came via food that is classified as “processed” – pre-packaged bags – the issue was referred to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This is the “plant species” equivalent of the Canadian Border Services Agency, whose job it is to keep out undesirable humans.

Unable to sort out the dilemma that the paperwork would impose on those trusty bureaucrats who monitor to keep us healthy and safe, both agencies told reporter Pamela Douglas of Metroland Media that they could not do anything. It is just one of those things: very rare, they assured us through her.

Except that Froggy’s older brothers made similar headlines in the Huffington Post in October, 2012; in the Wall Street Journal in December, 2013 and in a plethora of English dailies in December of 2015. Is this indicative of a pattern or is it truly an isolated incident?

Post Brexit England has put Polish, Italian and Portuguese workers on notice that they are no longer welcome. Trump’s America is threatening the same with Latinos. Who’s next, Froggy asked?

Skirting the issue, while trying to offer greater reassurance, Vickey Leung, spokesperson for the Supermarket chain that served as a conduit for Froggy’s illicit ambitions, said: “it is our policy that all products offered for sale must be safe, secure and in compliance with all government regulatory requirements”.

There you have it. Froggy is here illegally. He alone is the culprit. The fact that he couldn’t read the regulations does not absolve him of the obligation to stay out! He was clearly a threat to our healthy security, contended the homemaker. Ms. Leung would not say that her company was complicit in abetting Froggy’s illegal act, or if her co-workers might have “smuggled” him in.

Neither officers of the Language Police nor Immigration Officials were contacted for elaboration. Froggy was in no condition to offer a rational explanation. Nonetheless, in what seemed a classic diversionary tactic, Ms. Leung tut-tutted that “we recommend that all raw and unprocessed fruits and vegetables be thoroughly washed prior to consumption”.

Froggy, like us, is “protein”. Maybe snitches are accomplices after the fact.

She did not suggest government regulations permitted the marketing of goods handled by unclean, likely pesticide-infected dirt farmers – themselves probably undocumented (illegal) workers, and who probably counselled Froggy to get out while the getting was good.

The supermarket refunded the cost of the salad … and likely offered to absorb Froggy’s burial costs as a sign of compassion. We did not ask.

(Monday 17 October 2016)

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