‘Heavy handed’ approach would force inspectors into infected plants: Union

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OTTAWA — Canada’s Agriculture Union says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will order non-meat inspectors into meat plants under threat of discipline.

The union says the agency is instructing some of its non-meat-inspection staff to train up to be deployed to meat slaughter plants that have seen outbreaks of COVID-19.

Working conditions in the plants are a provincial responsibility but the federal inspectors are there to make sure the food they produce is safe for consumers.

A wave of COVID-19 infections has hit meat-packing plants across the country.

The union says 18 of 37 inspectors working at the Cargill plant in High River, Alta., have tested positive for the virus.

The Agriculture Union says it’s reached out to ministers on the matter but has not had a response.