Canada’s meat industry expected to increase safety measures amid COVID-19

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A group representing Canada’s meat-packers is expecting more changes in the coming months to make sure workers have protection from COVID-19.

Chris White, president of the Canadian Meat Council, says $77.5 million earmarked by Ottawa for the food-processing industry will be used for future changes to plants — not to pay for measures already put in place.

“There’s a pretty strong expectation further mitigation efforts will need to be put in place,” White said.

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“In conversations the industry has had with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, everybody’s trying to determine what else we can do to further protect the workers.”

The meat-packing sector has been hard hit by the health crisis.

Cargill temporarily shut down plants in High River, Alta., and Chambly, Que., after outbreaks of COVID-19. Olymel shut down its hog slaughter and processing plant in Yamachiche, Que., and the JBS beef plant in Brooks, Alta., temporarily went down to one daily shift from two.

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The Cargill and JBS operations in Alberta account for 70 per cent of Canada’s beef production.

1:07Coronavirus outbreak: Ontario to start testing different sectors this weekend,

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