Minister seeks input on food inspection

B.C.'s minister of agriculture tours region seeking input on food inspection.

B.C.’s minister of agriculture, Norm Letnick, has been touring areas of the province this month to meet with food producers.

“I’m trying to get a good handle with what’s actually happening on the ground so that when I make my recommendations to government, probably some time in early in January, I’ll have a good idea where the challenges are, what some of the key options are for solutions and improvements and can articulate to other members of government why I have selected a particular course of action,” the minister said.

A city councillor for nine years, in Banff, Alta. and Kelowna, Letnick said he learned it’s a challenge to make recommendations without knowing what’s going on.

Two particular focuses have dominated the tour.

First off, the departure of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency from B.C. in 2013, and how the province should proceed.

“They told us they were leaving a few months ago so we’ve had to look at how we handle meat inspection regulations and the meat inspection itself once they leave. Over the last year we’ve had a lot of consultation with industry, generated and released the B.C. Abattoir Report. We’ve gone back out to the public with four stakeholder meetings to look at the recommendations,” Letnick said.

The other point has been meat inspection in smaller abattoirs. In 2004, the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) scare, resulted in the regime of A and B abattoirs.

In 2010, after a few years of the original regime, rural communities voiced concerns about the lack of abattoir capacity and options in rural B.C.

“Government at that time brought in the Ds and Es, which are really small scale abattoirs,” Letnick said. “D is for remote areas with up to 25 animal units a year, usually a unit is a cow, so 1,000 pounds.  Es are really small, up to 10 animal units a year. Ten cows, but if you translate that into chickens that’s a lot more chickens.”

MLAs in the region have told Letnick there still needs to be some adjustments.

“My goal is to recommend some replacements for CFIA but also some changes to the way we do rural processing so it can accommodate rural B.C. a little better,” he said, adding he doesn’t know what the answer is, hence the tour.

“I’ve tasked my staff to come back with some options by mid-December and I am also going to host a roundtable near the end of November with some key stakeholders so I can hear different perspectives on what we change or what we should keep the way it is.”

During the tour, he’s also talked with farmers about organic farming, potato farming, and challenges rural B.C. faces.

Letnick is not going to be in Williams Lake, he said, but was in 100 Mile House, 70 Mile House last week, and will tour Vanderhoof, Prince George, Valemount, Hixon, Clearwater to talk with honey producers, Barrier and Kamloops.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Reported ‘armed and barricaded’ male safely apprehended by 100 Mile RCMP

The male was taken to the local hospital for further assessment by a physician

Powder Kings Ten-ee-ah group ride enjoyed by all

The Williams Lake Powder Kings Snowmobile Club couldn’t have asked for better timing

RANCH MUSINGS: Thank goodness the land line phone still works

We, the minority in the “developed world,” sometimes resort to older ways of communicating

PHOTOS: Bantam Timberwolves skate to silver medal at home tournament

The T-wolves fell 6-3 to Kamloops in the championship

The importance of literacy in finding employment

Everyone, whether they are employed or unemployed, needs solid literacy skills to be successful

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Furstenau flays NDP as she launches B.C. Green Party leadership bid

LNG, Site C dam wrong for environment, Cowichan MLA says

Woman guilty of dangerous driving crash that left Saanich girl, then 11, unresponsive

Nikirk guilty of one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Most Read