Country 105

Country 105

Agriculture Report

Need For More Food Inspectors


Union claims critical shortage of inspectors.


The union representing federal food inspectors says there's still a critical shortage of staff to oversee meat processing plants.

The warning from the Public Service Alliance of Canada comes nine months after the listeriosis outbreak that killed at least 20 people.

P-SAC did a survey of plants in major metropolitan areas where processed food is produced.

It also looked at cold storage facilities that handle meat imports and exports.

The union says the results suggest it's almost impossible for inspectors to know if food safety regulations are being followed because staff are overwhelmed.

It estimates the number of inspectors specifically devoted to monitoring processed meat plants would have to double to 400 from the current 200 to do a proper job.


Canola growers are being encouraged to make sure their equipment is clean before moving it from field to field.

This follows a recent test which shows a field at an undisclosed location in Saskatchewan may have the clubroot pathogen in the soil.

However, it's possible the test could be a false positive.

Researchers are taking soil to a lab and planting canola in it.

They'll know by the end of June if the canola roots are affected.


Researchers from the U-S, Britain and Mexico say pig populations need to be closely monitored in future for emerging influenza viruses.

They say genes that make up the new swine flu virus have been circulating undetected in pigs for an extended period.

But by studying a number of full or partial genetic blueprints of viruses from Mexico and the United States, they have confirmed that this particular combination of gene segments has never been previously reported among swine or human flu viruses.

They say all the genes originated in birds, but made their way into pigs at various points in history from 1918 to 1998.


The federal government is spending 12 million dollars to build a new dairy barn complex for research in dairy production in Quebec.

The Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre is the only federal government owned research facility which includes a dairy barn.

The centre has a long history in supporting research in dairy production, animal care and improvement as well as the role of dairy products in human nutrition and health.


The president of Cargill says the agriculture industry in western Canada is only feeling elements of the current economic downturn.

Len Penner says the extreme volatility in grain prices two years ago was a much greater challenge.

He says managing through the spike and then rapid collapse in grain prices was far more difficult than the current situation.


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