08/06/2013 05:12 EDT | Updated 10/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Saskatchewan assumes meat inspections at provincially-regulated plants Jan. 1

REGINA - Canada's food safety watchdog will no longer provide meat inspections in provincially-regulated processing facilities in Saskatchewan in the new year.

The provincial government is to assume responsibility for the service on Jan. 1.

The province has awarded a contract for the meat inspections to a private non-profit co-operative called the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre.

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said Tuesday the centre is working to train inspectors to work in the 12 provincially-inspected meat processing facilities.

"Our government remains committed to maintaining high food safety standards," Stewart said.

He said the food centre was awarded the contract because it has the resources and capacity to effectively administer the inspection program.

Currently, Saskatchewan pays the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to deliver meat inspection services at the plants.

Stewart said he is confident the centre in Saskatoon will deliver rigorous inspections to ensure high-quality and safe meat products.

He said the centre will report to his ministry on a regular basis. (CJWW-CKRM)