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Coronavirus: Alberta increases food inspector capacity as demand for meat rises

FILE PHOTO: Canadian pork shoulders are being prepped on a butcher's counter at North Hill Meats in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 10, 2017.
FILE PHOTO: Canadian pork shoulders are being prepped on a butcher's counter at North Hill Meats in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang

The provincial government is increasing its food inspector capacity, as demand for meat increases across Alberta due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new partnership with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will see more provincial meat inspectors trained to assess high-priority federally licensed plants across the province.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canadian beef industry stakeholders address COVID-19 crisis

“It is critical for Alberta families, our food supply and to our economy that the meat industry operates at its maximum capacity,” Agriculture and Forestry Minister Decin Dreeshen said in a statement on Wednesday.

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“We are working with the CFIA to integrate our provincial inspectors into federally licensed plants to help keep Albertans fed.”

Officials said the redeployment of these workers will help provide more capacity to quickly inspect meat, keeping the shelves stocked.

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Retired inspectors have also been rehired to help service the demand.

READ MORE: Alberta’s food supply chain remains strong, no need to panic buy: officials

The CFIA regulates 74 animal slaughter, meat-processing and meat-storage establishments in Alberta.

Officials said these federally inspected plants are vital contributors to the food supply of Albertans and of Canadians.