+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Provincial review of Meat Regulations...what do you think?

  1. #1
    Dennis Lapierre
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Falkland, BC
    Posts
    275
    Blog Entries
    13

    Provincial review of Meat Regulations...what do you think?

    The province is currently undergoing a review of the Meat Regulations. This, in part, has been brought about by the fact that the inspection contract with the CFIA will terminate after 2012 and the province had only promised to provide taxpayer support for inspection up until that time.

    Beyond 2012, CFIA will no longer be providing the contract service.

    The province is consulting with producer, processing industry and consumer associations, as they should. But, I'm interested in your views. What are they?

  2. #2
    Frequent contributing Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Pender Island
    Posts
    42
    Blog Entries
    4

    British Columbia Sheep Federation Submission to the BC Abbatoir Inspection System Review


    The BC Sheep Federation appreciates this opportunity to provide input into the review of the provincial slaughter inspection system. The meat regulations, in their various forms in the past few years, have been frustrating and confusing for many sheep producers in the province. This uncertainty has prevented the BC sheep sector from growing with the increased demand for lamb and mutton, and has impacted some rural communities that have good potential for producing lamb, but limited inspected processing capacity to allow for this potential to be realized. Many sheep producers have gone out of sheep. This has exacerbated problems for the processing industry which serves us.

    The BC Sheep Federation represents sheep producers in British Columbia. Sheep production in our province is for meat, milk, wool and genetics but the overwhelming majority of sheep are marketed for meat, primarily as lamb. Furthermore, many if not most producers direct market their lamb. Some of this may be to the end user, but some is for farmers markets, grocery stores, community distribution, or restaurants which require inspection in most areas at this time. Some producers sell directly to meat processors with inspected facilities, in either a supply chain or value chain system.

    In areas of the province with an adequate number of inspected abattoirs, there has been a clear benefit to sheep producers who sell lamb. They can sell into restaurants and retailers and the customer feels confident in this system. Producers have the ability to increase their production, or new producers may be encouraged to enter the industry. In regions with good infrastructure, there is potential for increased sheep production. The uncertainty with the stability of the current system, particularly over the statement that government would pay for inspection services until 2012, has left sheep producers and their processors wondering what will happen after 2012.

    The challenge for some areas has been a lack of inspected facilities, or not enough inspected days to meet demand. Some inspected facilities operate seasonally, others are a significant distance from some farms which increases cost to the producer and stress to livestock. When there is a processing bottleneck and long waits or long distances to process, producers may be forced to sell good lambs live at auction where prices are highly variable or hold lambs for longer periods than optimal. The costs of processing have increased due to the upgrades to most plants and the increased costs to plant operators. Some abattoirs may not operate a custom kill operation, or may operate only a partial custom kill operation. Many sheep producers sell lamb direct to the consumer and depend on abattoirs that can process lambs for this market. In regions that have struggled with these problems, sheep numbers have declined.

    This submission is focused on the operational and administrative aspects of the delivery of meat inspection services in Class A or Class B provincially licensed facilities. Related topics such as the new Class D and E slaughter licenses, slaughter waste disposal, construction standards for licensed facilities, transition processes for Class C licenses, etc. are understood to be beyond the scope of this review.


    The BC Sheep Federation recommends the following for the future of provincial meat inspection:
    a.the required/desired availability of meat inspection services;
    As needed, within reason and according to demand
    b.the required/desired frequency of meat inspection services;
    As needed, within reason and according to demand
    c.potential supports for traditional meat inspection practices (i.e. food safety plans etc.); Training should be available, there should be courses taught locally and a system to train and certify inspectors. Abattoir operators may also be trained to be inspectors. Class A and B licences by definition require a high, consistent method of inspection. Food safety plans are important, as are audits of the process.
    d.payment models for meat inspection services;
    Government should pay. Inspection service payment should be arms length, with the perspective that inspection is for public health and costs should therefore be the responsibility of the government. If processors pay for inspection, this will only drive up the cost of processing. Not only does this put a financial burden on the plants, it also puts it on livestock producers who do not have the other classes of licencing available to them. The cost would be passed down to the producer. If the processor pays for the inspection, there could also be the perception of conflict of interest.
    e.the applicability of alternative approaches to meat inspection in provincially licensed plants;
    Remote and isolated areas that were traditionally non-inspected areas should all be considered for “alternative approaches” due to the availability of government or contracted inspectors in the region. The alternative approach may include veterinarians in the area that could be contracted by the government as inspectors, or veterinary technicians and other animal health professional and animal scientists that are trained and certified as inspectors. Some abattoir operators are well trained and already have the credentials to be inspectors, and could self-inspect with a good audit program to back it up.
    It is understood some areas of the province (eg Fraser Valley) have had a provincially inspected system for meat since the 1960's and the abattoirs in these regions are comfortable with an arms-length system, and it appears that they are less than comfortable with a perceived reduction in standards with self inspection or other alternatives. This should not prevent the province from considering what would be more feasible for an abattoir in another region where it would be cost prohibitive or otherwise difficult to the current method of government inspection. For some of these operators the case could be made for self inspection, with adequate training and certification and on-call veterinary backup and auditing.
    f.current and alternative techniques of ante mortem and post mortem meat inspection;
    As in (e) The province should have trained professional livestock inspectors that could work under contract on several levels, one could be meat inspection (ante mortem and post mortem), another function would be animal health (disease outbreak – identification, control, containment), and a third emerging role would be in traceability support and education.
    g.how the inspection system can best support BC’s livestock farming and meat processing industries;
    The inspection system should allow for province-wide production of meat for local rural communities, as well as production for urban communities.
    h.how the inspection system can support the market access of BC’s producers and processors and maintain high levels of consumer confidence; Inspection allows for increased market access and helps to give consumers confidence, particularly in arms-length third-party retail transactions (not direct from farmer to consumer). The provincial inspection system should not be perceived as inferior to the federal standard.

    The province should support education and extension services for producers in animal health, nutrition and management to produce high quality, healthy meat products. The province should also support education in animal welfare and handling for producers, truckers, auction marts and processors to give consumers confidence and ensure good quality meat and good animal welfare. The province should also support education in humane stunning, slaughter, good management practices in meat processing, and meat inspection. This would give good consumer confidence and support the meat processing industry in providing skilled labour and providing employment opportunities for the people of BC.

    Recent information from Statistics Canada indicates that last year in BC, over 20,000 lambs were slaughtered and processed, but of that 20,000, over 6,000 lambs were imported from outside BC. That doesn't even include the processed lamb imported into BC from New Zealand and Australia.
    Several meat processors and abattoirs have informed the BC Sheep Federation that they need more BC lamb to process. In addition, lamb prices have been rising throughout North America. It is a good time for BC producers to expand, and for new producers to enter the industry. We needs assurances that abattoirs will be able to continue operations and serve the sheep industry, that inspections will be appropriate (third party or self inspected) to the type of operation, with an outcome-based system that has the goals of food safety and good animal welfare.

  3. #3
    Frequent contributing Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Pender Island
    Posts
    42
    Blog Entries
    4

    Letter to Ron Duffell, Director of Food Protection, BC Ministry of Health Services

    Letter to Ron Duffell, Director of Food Protection, BC Ministry of Health Services
    March 18, 2011

    I attended the March 4th meeting In Richmond regarding the BC Abattoir Inspection Review on behalf of the BC Sheep Federation. Consultation with sheep producer associations revealed a variety of concerns, primarily that consideration be given to long term growth and stability of our industry, which relies on our meat processors. I have heard from sheep producers from previously uninspected regions of the province, that now have inspected A or B plants that they rely on and have a good relationship with, that they need their plants to remain in business and it is accepted that they be reasonably profitable. It is hoped that we will all be reasonably profitable along the value chain. Slaughtering livestock is hard work, valuable work, and the people that actually do this work should also have a voice on the steering committee regarding the inspection system that will be implemented in the future.
    Sheep are produced throughout the province, ranging from remote and sparsely populated regions, to the densely populated Fraser Valley. We therefore give support to our processors, many who belong to the newly formed BC Abattoir Association. It became apparent to me at the meeting that the BC Abattoir Association was not included on the Steering Committee for the Review and I requested at the meeting that they be on the Steering Committee. Many other people supported that suggestion.
    The formation of the BC Abattoir Association indicates positive change for the meat industry and has promoted dialogue within the various meat processors throughout the province. It is important that the BC Abattoir Association be included on the steering committee for the BC Abattoir Inspection System Review because they work directly with the inspectors and would therefore have critical information to contribute in determining how changes to the inspection process will affect the meat processing industry and the related livestock sectors .
    Many livestock producers have good relationships with their meat plant operators, both relying on and supporting their businesses. We understand their frustration, as we have shared that frustration.
    I was at the first meetings about the changes to the meat regulations several years ago and we were all told that abattoirs in uninspected areas of the province had to upgrade to the standards of an inspected facility. Period. No offers of financial support were made. It took some time before the BC Food Processors started to listen to the producers and abattoirs and were able to get the government to contribute funds for the upgrades. It took even more time before they understood that was not enough for some regions, and after getting the regulations relaxed they finally gave in and brought things full circle. The D and E licences are basically what the producers and uninspected abattoirs wanted in the first place!! So can you now understand why the early adopters who spent many thousands of their own dollars, to become a Class A or B standard inspected facility are upset with the BC Food Processors Assn?
    I put an application in for funding to build a Class A facility, but it was not financially feasible to build a plant to the required standards for our community. I was willing to sell some property to make it happen because it is important for our community, but after the Class C licence was announced I waited. Then the Class D and E were announced and I waited again. I understood the justification for a Class D and E, but it should have been done at the outset, not as a reaction to the impact on the livestock sector. The input from the various BC communities and livestock associations were ignored. When livestock numbers declined, community stress increased, there was a decision to change things. I am glad that I did not commit my life savings to building a Class A facility to the standards they insisted on. Early on, our community suggested a mobile abattoir and we were told that was not possible. Guess what Salt Spring is building now? Yes, a mobile abattoir. How many mobile abattoirs are now allowed to operate, after being told early on it was not possible. I knew that soon enough the government would have to deal with the “2012” issue of “who is going to pay for the inspector”? And here we are.
    That is why I believe that the BC Abattoir Association should also be at the table along with the BC Food Processors Association on the Steering Committee for the BC Abattoir Inspection System Review.

    Sincerely yours,


    Barbara Johnstone Grimmer, P. Ag.
    President, BC Sheep Federation
    Sheep Producer, Fir Hill Farms
    2310 Grimmer Road
    Pender Island, BC
    V0N 2M1

  4. #4
    Dennis Lapierre
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Falkland, BC
    Posts
    275
    Blog Entries
    13

    Concerning inspection costs

    I inquired and learned that the cost of inspection provided federally inspected plants is based on a per-station rate that will vary according to the kind of processing is done, its complexity, and what the demands of the customer is, say, should it be another country.

    In any case, the cost is shared by the federal government, with the cost born by the processing plant being a very small percentage of the overall cost.

    The other thing I was told, and I hope I have this right, is that since about 2007, CFIA inspectors have been inspecting slaughter only and not processing. Since that time, the responsibility has rested with other provincial authorities and has been done on an oversite basis.

  5. #5
    Dennis Lapierre
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Falkland, BC
    Posts
    275
    Blog Entries
    13

    The following was submitted by the BC Agriculture Council. Other submissions have been made by the BC Cattlemen's Association and the BC Food processors Association Meat Industry Sub-Committee.

    BC Agriculture Council Input to:
    BC Abattoir Inspection System Review (BCAISR)
    March 2011

    The BC Agriculture Council (BCAC) is pleased to provide comments to the BC Minister of Health’s (MOH) review of the meat inspection system in provincially licensed Class A and Class B facilities.
    Founded in 1997, the BCAC provides leadership in representing, promoting, and advocating the collective interests of farmers and ranchers from all regions of the province. To accomplish this, the Council actively assists in developing an economic environment that provides for strengthened competitiveness and economic viability in the BC agriculture and agri-food industry, and fosters cooperation and a collective response to matters affecting the future of agriculture in the province. In this context, the BCAC wishes to provide the following input into the BC Abattoir Inspection System Review (BCAISR) process.
    It is the understanding of BCAC that the main reasons for conducting the BCAISR at this time are:
     The original government commitment to cover full inspection costs ends in 2012.
     The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has provided notification that it will no longer be contracting animal slaughter inspection services to the province beyond 2012.
    It has also been indicated that the other factors that led to conducting the review were the current high costs of the inspection system and its difficulty in accommodating the needs of all custom processors, especially those whose operations demand being able to operate during non-standard hours, such as weekends.
    Meeting BC Livestock and Poultry Sector Needs:
    Agriculture in British Columbia is more diverse than in any other province, and the BC meat inspection system needs to reflect this diversity and be able to accommodate future change and the evolution of the industry as it responds to market opportunities. The Meat Inspection Regulation should strengthen the livestock and poultry sectors and the slaughter and food processing industry and ensure consumer confidence in BC meat products.
    Considerable efforts are underway in BC’s livestock and poultry sectors to meet a wider range of market opportunities. It is important from a producer's point of view that opportunities exist to adopt a value-chain approach to marketing, which means being not only directly involved in the growing of livestock, but also being more directly involved in meeting consumer expectations.

    Undertaking effective value-chain marketing requires access to custom processing in facilities that meet the highest possible meat safety standards in ways that will ensure consumer confidence and encourage
    BCAC Input to BC Abattoir Inspection System Review (BCAISR)

    the growth potential of these markets. The Meat Industry Enhancement Strategy has been helpful in establishing some of the required facilities, but gaps do still exist and the current meat inspection regulations have been identified as a contributing factor to a lack of facilities to respond to the full potential of local livestock marketing.

    Ensure Humane Handling, Food Safety and Consumer Confidence:
    The BCAC does see the potential to make modifications to the current inspection regime requirements to help meet the needs of producers who rely on local and custom processing facilities, and to ultimately be more responsive to market opportunities. Any changes implemented, however, cannot compromise in any way, and need to enhance, the requirements to ensure humane handling of animals, food safety and continued consumer confidence in the meat inspection system and food supply. The following are BCAC’s suggestions in this regard.
    1. Support the Ranching Task Force recommendation that the Province continue to pay meat inspection fees beyond 2012. The public will have greater confidence in a system that has this direct government oversight and accountability.
    2. Continue to require full ante and post-mortem inspections at slaughter facilities for food safety and disease detection purposes, but provide for alternative measures with trained personnel on the oversight of lower risk activities. This would provide for greater flexibility in facility operations and allow senior inspectors to concentrate on the highest risk areas – thereby improving food safety controls.
    3. Consider the development of inspection protocols that are specific to requirements for the various animal and poultry types. Some abattoir operators have suggested that this approach could be coupled with operators taking on increased responsibility for more stringent monitoring and record keeping, thereby providing an increased assurance for the system to meet food safety and disease detection requirements.
    4. Ensure that the new Inspection Service will be sufficiently flexible to have inspectors available during operating times of slaughter facilities, including weekends.
    5. That any new measures implemented consider the meat inspection requirements in other provinces, with the objective of moving towards improved integration among provinces with respect to meat inspection requirements.
    Further Consultation and Input:
    Given the many different considerations of the meat inspection regime and its overall complexity, the BCAC would request that the options being considered by MOH be provided in detail through a discussion paper and circulated for further comment before being finalized for implementation by the Province in August 2011. Government needs to work with industry, both at the producer and processer level, in developing the details of a meat inspection system that will improve food safety, is cost efficient, feasible to implement and responsive to the needs of the entire value-chain.

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide input.

    Respectfully submitted,
    The B.C. Agriculture Council

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    near Victoria BC
    Posts
    11

    Boiled down to its essence, this program looks like an attempt to establish and maintain a self serving bureaucracy funded by both producers and consumers. It has more to do with tracking product than safety. At the outset, it put a number of good well meaning people out of business and has encouraged small time farmers like me to simply scale back and not get involved. If I were to attend all the meetings and read all the literature, I would not have time to do what I do. As grand dad said, " Three days without food will wipe out a lot of needless regulation." David Pollock

  7. #7

    taken from the boundary sentinal

    http://boundarysentinel.com/news/bc-...re-union-12997
    Ottawa plans to dump inspection of dozens of meat plants on the British Columbia government in a move that could expose BC consumers to heightened risk of eating contaminated meat products, according to the Agriculture Union - PSAC, which represents federal food safety inspectors.

    After providing meat safety inspection service for decades, the union has been advised by Canadian Food Inspection Agency that federal inspectors will no longer check BC establishments that produce meat for BC consumers exclusively for E. coli, listeria, salmonella and other contaminants that can have deadly consequences when eaten.

    No later than January, 2014, responsibility will fall to the province of BC which has no meat inspectors and little of the support infrastructure needed to do the job to current but inadequate safety standards.

    CFIA inspectors will continue to conduct food safety work in meat plants that are federally registered, a situation that will widen the existing gap in federal and provincial meat inspection standards.

    At a news conference in Vancouver held to underscore the new risk consumers will face and the double standard this decision will only make worse, Kingston launched an online petition at www.foodsafetyfirst.ca calling on the government to change its plans.

    For the government of British Columbia, the cost of inspecting almost 60 meat production facilities that are provincially registered will triple because CFIA has provided this service below cost for some years.

    With less than half of the required budget, BC will be faced with inspecting all provincially registered meat production facilities with an inexperienced staff that is not big enough to cover the territory and which lacks the necessary supportive infrastructure.

    Provincial meat inspection standards are often much less stringent than those that are in place for federally registered facilities, said Agriculture Union President Bob Kingston.

    Ottawa is also abandoning inspection of provincially registered meat plants in Saskatchewan and Manitoba which, like BC, have no meat inspectors.

    As a result of this decision, inspection of meat from provincially registered facilities in these provinces will likely fall below acceptable standards, and will certainly be beneath the standards and meat inspection practices enjoyed by Canadians living elsewhere.

    The federal government is resurrecting the plan to abandon this service in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba after it was shelved following the Maple Leaf food poisoning outbreak which left 22 people dead.
    This is exactly what all of us on the review panel were concerned about.
    Already consumer confidence is lacking when it comes to provincially inspected products.
    With the provincial gov't wanting to push random or even self inspection of provincial plants this puts a lot of businesses at risk. Already it's very very difficult to get provincially inspected meats into stores.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

    Mahatma Gandhi

  8. #8
    Dennis Lapierre
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Falkland, BC
    Posts
    275
    Blog Entries
    13

    With the provincial gov't wanting to push random or even self inspection of provincial plants this puts a lot of businesses at risk. Already it's very very difficult to get provincially inspected meats into stores.

    Do you have that right, Peggy? My sense from attending meetings a few months ago was that much of the push for self-inspection was coming from the small-scale producers and with those, the intention was not to be able to wholesale to stores, but to provide slaughter for farm-gate sales.

  9. #9
    Dennis Lapierre
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Falkland, BC
    Posts
    275
    Blog Entries
    13

    Here's a quote from a letter to the editor of the Globe and Mail, Friday, August 12/2011 edition. Sent in by Catherine Airth, associate vice-president, operations, CFIA.

    "Re; Food Inspection Cuts Put Canadians at Risk, Union Warns Ottawa (August 10): All meat produced in Canada - whether in federally or provincially inspected plants - must meet the safety requirements of the federal Food and Drug Act.
    Canada has always had federal and provincial inspection systems, and the assertion that provincially inspected meat is somehow less safe is wrong. The main purpose of federal inspection is to enable meat for sale through exports and interprovincial trade due to federal jurisdiction in these areas.
    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan to return provincial inspection duties to provincial inspectors by 2014. During this transition, we are ensuring that all needed training and guidance is provided so that those provincial meat inspection systems continue to meet Canada's stringent food safety requirements."

  10. #10

    I'm not sure about anyone else,
    I've attended the last 5 meetings between the ORG (operator reference group) and provincial gov't. All of them have stated that it's very difficult to get BC inspected product into mainstream sources.

    I personally have several customers who sell their product past farm gate into small restaurant/wineries and small healthfood or butcher shops.
    People want to buy local food, But they want to be able to buy it when they want it. Not necessarily from a farm gate, in large quantity.

    Already BC inspected product is viewed as not as safe as federally. and Bob Kingston popping off with misinformation all over the news isn't helping matters one little bit.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

    Mahatma Gandhi

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts