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Changes to Alberta’s meat inspection regulations have unions and producers at odds

24 August 2020

Though Alberta’s beef producers have welcomed updated meat inspection rules, union groups worry that changes could allow un-inspected meat products to be sold directly to consumers.

According to reporting in the Edmonton Journal, the Provincial Government of Alberta changed inspection regulations to allow direct farm-to-consumer sales of animals that were slaughtered on-farm. The government also permitted pre-slaughter video inspections when an animal’s welfare is at stake.

The Syndicat Agriculture Union, which represents workers at Canadian Food Inspection Agencies, criticised those changes. The union believes that the relaxed rules could allow un-inspected meat to be sold direct to consumers and could allow unscrupulous producers to sell tainted meat.

Jim Thompson, a spokesman for the union said, “…the un-inspected meat sales will go along until somebody starts selling stuff that’s tainted or a product that is fraudulently labelled. You know, horse meat as beef or road kill as hamburger and then it’ll be clear this is a bad idea.”

Thomson went on to say that producers who are worried about safety and their reputation are in favour of inspection regulations.

Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture, Devin Dreeshen, said that the province has an incredibly safe food system. When explaining the regulatory roll back, he said that the new rules only allow for a whole animal to be sold after it is slaughtered on the farm and it can only be sold to a single customer.

“We do have the cleanest and best beef, and that’s something that the industry takes tremendous amount of pride in and that’s something that the government does as well. So that’ll remain intact,” said Dreeshen.

Read more about this story in the Edmonton Journal.



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