For the canadians on the list who are concerned about food

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by kstaven, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    For any and all I have included a copy of an email sent to me today.

    If anyone has any concerns or comments on what is going on and cares to email me concerning this I will gladly forward concerns tomorrow.

    Hello Kurtis Staven,

    Katrine Conroy, MLA for the West Kootenay Boundary, wanted me to e-mail you to make sure that you had heard about a meeting that is going to be held at the Regional District Office in Grand Forks tomorrow at 1pm regarding meat regulation changes. She had received a copy of your e-mail to Alex Atamanenko on the subject and so wanted to let you know about this meeting. Corky Evans and other meat regulation people to discuss what can be done.

    Please email me at [email protected]

    The more comments and letters the better. Please be polite as these people are trying to help us get this ammended so that producers in BC an other provinces can get a small producer exemption or get these regs buried for good.

    Please read the attached below for details.

    Toolkit for Action

    NEW MEAT INSPECTION REGULATIONS TAKE EFFECT SEPTEMBER 30 IN BC

    These regulations will close down most of our fixed and mobile slaughter facilities in British Columbia, removing a critical piece of infrastructure in BC’s food system. We need to take action.

    New provincial meat inspection regulations threaten small-scale local meat production and consumer access to locally produced, farm-gate meat. After September 30, 2007, you will no longer be able to purchase meat or poultry from your local farmer unless it was processed in a provincially or federally licensed facility. Bringing currently operating facilities up to the new standards for licensing is unfeasible for most current operators. They will not be able to upgrade their facilities, leaving very few, if any, licensed, fixed or mobile facilities able to process custom meat. Many will be forced out of business, as will the farmers and ranchers that depend on them, the feed and farm equipment suppliers and value added processors that utilize their products. This includes beef, pork, poultry, and rabbits.

    The BC Food Systems Network has put together this Action Guide to help you voice you concerns. Please find attached:

    ? Statement from the BC Food Systems Network

    ? Excerpt from guide to the Regulation “Selling and Buying BC Meat-What you need to know”

    ? Sample letter to be tailored to local realities and sent to government representatives, Ministers and

    Premier

    ? Contact information

    ? Sample Media Release

    The BC Food Systems Network is concerned that when the regulations are enforced, we will see:

    ? The closure of most currently operating fixed and mobile slaughter facilities

    ? The exit of many small and specialty livestock producers from production

    ? The consequent decline of small-scale, diversified agriculture in BC – including fruit and vegetable production on

    mixed farms

    ? The consequent decline of rural communities

    ? The loss of healthy local food production capacity

    ? Reduction in population health as we become increasingly reliant on imported produce at a cost determined by outside

    forces

    ? Increased risk in the meat business related to long-distance trucking and large-scale processing, paper trails, etc.

    notwithstanding.

    o From http://www.fooddemocracy.org/docs/BCFSN_meatReg.pdf

    THE
    IMPACTS OF THIS REGULATION ARE BEING FELT IN OUR COMMUNITIES – we must act quickly to save our

    family farms!

    Three years ago the members of the BC Food Systems Network expressed our concerns and ideas in terms of the development of the Meat Inspection Regulation and the changes that are now being rolled out. Many members have worked tirelessly on trying to create a regime that will not undermine our abilities to process locally. Unfortunately in Sorrento, at the gathering of the BC Food Systems network annual meeting on September 14-16, 2007, people heard of the fallout from the changes the Meat Inspection Regulation is causing around the Province. We are losing our capacity to grow and process local meats. Faced with this critical and timely challenge, we have decided to put forward suggestions to Network members on actions you can take locally and provincially. An attached statement of concerns and recommendations has been put forward by the BC Food Systems Network. Following are ideas about how you can use this statement and take action to influence the people making these decisions. We believe that changes to the regulations and their implementation and enforcement are still possible and needed. The message needs to be heard in many ways through many means around the Province.

    If local food and farms are important to you, you need to be part of this effort. You can do this by:

    1. Writing letters to the Premier and Provincial Ministers supporting the BCFS Network position, or using the key

    messages in the statement that reflect your concerns. See contact info and sample letter below

    2. Meeting with/informing your local MLA as to your concerns and encouraging them to put influence and pressure on

    Ministers, Cabinet and the Premier

    3. Doing a presentation to your Regional Government (see example presentation attached)

    4. Spreading the word to your friends, colleagues, associates, and encouraging them to do likewise

    5. Preparing a media release or event in your area

    6. Signing on to a petition at http://www.okshuswapgreens.ca/meatpetition1.htm or start your own

    Contact Info:

    Premier of British Columbia Honourable Blair Lekston

    The Honourable Gordon Campbell Parliamentary Secretary

    Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt East Annex

    Victoria, BC V8W 9E1 Parliament Buildings

    Phone: 250-387-1751 Victoria BC V8V 1X4

    Fax: 250-387-0087 Fax: 250 784-1333

    Email: [email protected] Email: [email protected]

    The Honourable George Abbott Honourable Pat Bell

    Minister of Health Minister of Agriculture and Lands

    Local Constituency Office Phone: 250-387-1023

    PO Box 607 Fax: 250-387-1522

    202A – 371 Alexander St NE PO Box 9043 STN PROV GOVT

    Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4N7 Victoria, BC V8W 9E2

    Phone: toll free 1-877-771-7557 Email: [email protected]

    Victoria Office

    Phone: 250-356-6171 Honourable Rick Thorpe

    Fax: 250-386-6176 Minister of Small Business and Revenue and

    Minister Responsible for

    Email: [email protected] Regulatory Reform

    Email: [email protected]

    Phone: toll free 1-866-404-3008

    Your Local MLA

    Address: for contact info see www.leg.bc.ca

    click on “Members” and then use the MLA Finder

    Sample letter

    INSERT YOUR LETTER HEAD IF YOU HAVE ONE

    To: The Honourable_________ :

    I, alongside many British Columbians, are very concerned about the implementation of the new BC Meat Inspection Regulations. While we recognize that a safe food supply is vital, the way that has been chosen to ensure our food safety in British Columbia is counter productive to our abilities as producers, processors, families and communities to have food security today and in the future. The changes in the regulations are directly and adversely affecting Livestock farmers who raise animals for meat, operators of abattoirs and meat processing facilities, Meat wholesalers and retailers, Meat buyers for restaurants, caterers, etc., and consumers who see the value in buying locally produced and processed meats. At a time when there is unprecedented consumer demand for local foods, small-scale production and humanely raised meat animals, for reasons of health, environment (reducing food miles that contribute to climate change) and regional development, it is critical that we maintain our BC producers and processors who are best placed to deliver these services. The new Meat Inspection Regulations are forcing Meat processors and slaughter houses out of operation across the Province, and due to this and the related uncertainty in the sector we are seeing the attrition of meat producers at an alarming rate.

    BC has an opportunity to position itself as the leading jurisdiction in North America in livestock and meat, in line with our goals around Act Now, 2010, the Climate Change Initiative and the New Relationship with Aboriginal peoples. However, in order to fully realize these goals, we require a meat inspection system that is proportionate to the size and scale of production and that allows for a more flexible and less financially onerous inspection regime so as to keep small-scale, community-based production viable.

    We support the attached statement issued by members of the BC Food Systems Network and implore you as our representatives in government to consider and act on the recommendations put forward. We must evaluate the implementation of the Meat Inspection Regulation for small/medium sized abattoirs and allow a transition period until such time as a new system can be designed in consultation with stakeholders, that is proportionate to the size and scale of production, and that allows for a more flexible and less financially onerous inspection regime so as to keep small scale production viable, at the same time as protecting our food supply in British

    Columbia.

    Signed, ______________

    BACKGROUND INFORMATION

    Excerpt from

    Selling and buying BC meat- What you need to know:

    A guide to BC’s Meat Inspection Regulatory System

    (from the BC Food Processors Association)

    In September 2004, the Province of British Columbia enacted a new Meat Inspection Regulation under the Food Safety Act.

    By September 2007, all BC abattoirs that produce meat for human consumption will have to be either provincially, or federally licensed. Only meat from livestock slaughtered in a licensed abattoir can be sold for food. All animals slaughtered in licensed abattoirs will be inspected both before and after slaughter. The 2-year transition period was put in place to give abattoir operators, livestock farmers and other stakeholders time to adapt to the new situation.

    Previously, the slaughter of livestock in B.C. was regulated by three separate pieces of legislation – the Slaughterhouse Regulation under the Health Act, the BC Meat Inspection Act, and the federal Meat Inspection Act.

    Under the old regulations only some areas of B.C. were “Meat Inspection Areas”. Abattoirs located in a Meat Inspection Area had to be licensed, unless it was a farmer slaughtering his/her own animals on their own farm. In the rest of B.C. abattoirs had the choice of being either licensed, or approved by the Regional Health Authorities. Only animals slaughtered in licensed facilities were inspected.

    This had led to three different types of abattoirs currently operating in British Columbia:

    ? Federally licensed abattoirs – The meat produced in these abattoirs can be sold across provincial and national borders, as well as anywhere in B.C. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) licenses and inspects these federal facilities.

    ? Provincially licensed abattoirs – The meat produced in these abattoirs can be sold anywhere in B.C., but not outside of B.C. The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) licenses these provincial facilities on behalf of the province. Inspections are performed by Meat Inspectors. BCCDC currently contracts with the CFIA to provide this service in provincially licensed abattoirs.

    ? Unlicensed abattoirs – The meat produced in these abattoirs can only be sold outside of the “Meat Inspection Areas” mentioned above. These facilities are approved, and inspected as needed, by Environmental Health Officers – often referred to as local health inspectors – from the regional Health Authorities. This last type of abattoir will cease to exist by September 2007.

    One goal of the change in regulation was to ensure that requirements for the slaughter of animals and sale of meat are the same everywhere in the province. This is hoped to strengthen public safety and offer new opportunities for the marketing and sale of B.C. produced meat.

    The change in regulation is likely to affect:

    ? Livestock farmers who raise animals for meat

    ? Operators of abattoirs and meat processing facilities

    ? Meat wholesalers and retailers

    ? Meat buyers for restaurants, caterers, etc.

    ? Consumers, particularly those who buy their meat directly from the farm

    For more information see http://www.bcfpa.ca/mies.html
     

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