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Budget Cuts to the Food Inspection Agency May Put Canadians at Risk

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Budget Cuts to the Food Inspection Agency May Put Canadians at Risk

Even in the wake of the 2008 listeriosis outbreak, the Canadian government has decided to make cuts to the Food Inspection Agency by up to 10 percent.

News sources have recently reported that the Canadian government has decided to make cuts to the Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) by up to 10 percent.

Not long ago, the agency was criticized for not catching the listeriosis outbreak from processed deli meats—an outbreak that killed 23 Canadians in 2008. After the listeriosis outbreak, increased safety measures were put in place, including funding for an extra 170 inspectors.

These measures will now be cut, and critics are warning that these sorts of outbreaks could become more frequent and more severe if the CFIA do not have adequate time of resources. Food inspectors and a union leader warned that these cuts will likely affect inspections’ frequency, therefore putting the health and safety of Canadians at risk. A woman whose mother died in the listeriosis outbreak also spoke out against the cuts.

However, the government defended the move, claiming that it’s intended to increase efficiency and will not affect food safety.

What can individuals do?
Individuals can make a difference by writing to their MPs. To reduce your personal risk of diseases from food processing plants, try to avoid processed foods such as deli meats. Eating locally, such as by choosing farmers’ markets whenever possible, may also help to ensure you know where your food comes from.

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