The budget cuts are returning the number of food safety inspectors to pre-listeriosis outbreak levels. Listeriosis is a bacterial infection, an outbreak of which killed 23 people in 2008. This is even more troubling when you consider that recommendations made after the outbreak still haven’t been met.
The recent budget will see $56 million in ongoing cuts, which together with earlier budget reductions could reduce the annual budget of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) by $90 million, similar to pre-listeriosis outbreak levels.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimates that as many as 660 jobs could be lost at the CFIA. 234 job cuts were announced before the 2012 budget: these cuts alone could reduce the number of front-line employees to below levels preceding the outbreak.