Fewer meat inspectors could lead to more food-borne illnesses: union
From CTV News
The union representing Canada’s meat inspectors says slaughter facilities in Manitoba are severely understaffed and public safety is at risk.
Bob Kingston, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s agriculture union, says slaughterhouses in the province typically operate with one-third fewer inspectors than required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
That will be exacerbated by the federal government’s decision to cut $35 million from the agency’s budget, which will mean 273 fewer inspectors across Canada by 2018, he says.
“Canadians do not trust the food industry to police its own safety practices, yet the government is relying more heavily on food-production companies to self-police,” Kingston said Thursday at a Winnipeg news conference, one of several the union has held across the country recently.
“Without action to address the inspection shortage, it is just a matter of time before the next major food-borne illness outbreak occurs.”
Kingston said the current shortage of federal meat inspectors is so acute, that Manitoba’s plants are borrowing inspectors from other federally licensed facilities to fill in the gaps.