OTTAWA — Canada’s federal government plans to stop inspecting provincial slaughterhouses by January 2014 – a controversial move that is expected to save Ottawa several million dollars a year, according to The Gazette. Ending federal delivery of provincial meat-inspection programs will affect approximately 100 facilities in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba where the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has had an arrangement for decades with these provinces to inspect provincial slaughterhouses on their behalf, looking for potentially deadly contaminants.

Although the union representing federal food safety inspectors charges this move will expose consumers in the three provinces to an increased risk of eating contaminated meat products, the CFIA counters the move simply reflects the agency's shift to its primary job of inspecting federally registered meat plants and leaving it up to provinces to inspect provincially licensed facilities that produce meat for consumption in their home province.

The genesis of the idea came from Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz in 2008 as part of an earlier strategic review launched by the Conservative government to find 5 percent savings at CFIA.