Spending freeze jeopardizing food safety: Inspectors union

Last Updated: Friday, December 12, 2008 | 3:52 PM ET

Source of Article: http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2008/12/12/cfia-union.html


CBC News

A plan to freeze spending and hiring at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is jeopardizing food safety, the union representing food inspectors said Friday.

Agriculture Union president Bob Kingston said the federal agency has not hired new staff since a listeriosis outbreak linked with the deaths of 20 Canadians rattled consumer confidence.

"CFIA is running out of money to pay people," Kingston said in a release.

"They're already short-staffed and vacant positions aren't being filled. It's so bad that the agency cannot ensure adequate inspection and meet its contractual obligations for paid leave, sick leave and training."

The union released an internal CFIA memo that said non-essential staffing, training, conferences, travel and overtime will be curbed because of serious fiscal restraints.

Kingston warned that without proper training, new safety procedures may be futile.

"CFIA has great plans to improve the food safety system but they will die on the vine without new resources to beef up the system. These plans are simply not sustainable without new money to fund them," Kingston says.



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