TORONTO, Ontario – A union representing food safety inspectors in Canada continues to protest budget and staff cuts the union claims is compromising food safety in the country’s meat processing plants. But federal officials said at least 200 new food safety inspectors are to be hired, the Canadian Press reported.

Bob Kingston, president of the Agriculture Union that represents federal food inspectors, said in a news release that consumers should be aware and concerned that meat inspectors are working short-handed.

“There is a critical shortage of meat inspectors in Toronto and in other parts of the country as well,” Kingston said. “This means that corners are being cut when it comes to safety.”

But a representative for Health Minister Rona Ambrose, said 200 frontline food safety inspectors are to be hired, and funding for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency remains at historically high levels.

“It is impossible to fully complete all the tasks that are essential to ensuring meat is safe,” said Rob MacDonald, the union’s regional vice president for Southern Ontario. “Typically, processes to ensure humane treatment of animals are neglected. There are simply not enough hours in the day.”