OTTAWA–Nine months after a deadly listeriosis outbreak, the union representing federal food inspectors says there’s still a critical shortage of staff to oversee meat processing plants.

The agriculture section of the Public Service Alliance of Canada bases that conclusion on a survey it conducted in major metropolitan areas, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

Union officials, who are to appear Monday at a parliamentary sub-committee on food safety, said the survey results suggest it’s almost impossible for federal inspectors to verify industry compliance with safety rules because staff are overwhelmed.

The union estimates that the number of inspectors specifically devoted to monitoring processed meat plants would have to double to 400 from the current 200 to do a proper job.

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