Small Scale Food Processor Association
Site 43, C-53
Fanny Bay, BC V0R 1W0
(250) 335-3001


   

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Internet Newsletter
Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA)
Site 43, C-53, Fanny Bay, BC V0R 1W0
(250) 335-3001
January 2004


SSFPA'S "Electronic AGM" Coming in February

Reflecting our far flung membership - along with our commitment to innovation - SSFPA will be holding an "electronic general meeting" for the period of February 7 to February 14, 2004. The agenda, reports, list of motions, and other pertinent documents will be posted to our web site on January 24, 2004. If you are a member, you are urged to check the site and read the information - along with the instructions on how to vote - during the voting period of February 7-14.

To vote, you will need to know your Living Inventory login name and password. If you don't know this information, e-mail either Mary or Frank. You can also call (250) 335-3001 (for Frank) or (250) 973-6952 (for Mary). You will also need your Living Inventory password for the following unique opportunity provided through SSFPA.


Don't Pass up This Marketing Opportunity!

Do you want your name and products in a directory delivered to every grocery store in Western Canada?

The SSFPA has the opportunity, starting February 2004, to include a profile of the SSFPA in the Western Grocer magazine, AND TO ALSO include all processor members contact and product information.

If you are a SSFPA member in March 2004, you can take advantage of this opportunity by first reviewing and correcting your information on the Living Inventory. You gain access to the Living Inventory on our web site at https://www.ssfpa.net. Remember, you control the information there; so make sure addresses, contact names and numbers, and product information are all accurate by January 31 to take advantage of this new marketing tool.

If you forget your password, the Living Inventory will e-mail it to you at the e-mail address you had when you first activated your account. To do this, go to https://www.ssfpa.net/InfoRetrieval/InfoRetrieval1.php.

If you are not a member of SSFPA, you still have time to join at the processor organizational development rate of just $10 in the inaugural year, which will be ending on February 7. You can even join online at https://www.ssfpa.net/Registration/Registration1.php.


Alberta News

The Alberta Food Processors Association informs us of some important gatherings for our Alberta members. A "HACCP Management Summary" course will be held on January 21 in Calgary and on January 28 in Edmonton. And a "HACCP 111: Train the Trainer" course is scheduled for February 17-18 in Calgary and February 24-25 in Edmonton. There is no prior course requirement for the Management Summary event. Participants in the "Train the Trainer" course should be familiar with both HACCP and GMP's. For further information on both courses, click here. [Note: information on the January offering begins on Page 3 of this brochure.] You can also contact Spring Savage at (403) 201-3657, ext. 25 or Ken Fahner at (780) 444-2272 ext. 233. These are the only times these HACCP courses will be offered in Alberta in 2004.

Also coming up in Edmonton, Alberta, at the Greenwood Inn, is the following event on February 4: "Concept to Commerce: Finding Help in the Path to Profit: A Workshop for Growing Agri-Food Businesses." We are told that: "Speakers for this workshop are experts from the food industry, federal and provincial governments, financial service providers, and from centres for industrial innovation, research and development." Registration begins at 8 am, with the workshop running from 8:30 to 4:30. Registration fee is $50, which includes GST and the cost of lunch. Call 1-800-387-6030 or e-mail fpdc@gov.ab.ca for more information.

The Farmers Diner: Let's Try This Here!

Even if you're pressed for time, make sure you check out this link for the complete story on the Farmers Diner, a restaurant in Barre, Vermont. According to its founder's business plan, the Diner is the first of many to come. Tod Murphy plans a national network of Farmers Diner outlets, serving food sourced from local producers and processors. Murphy states: "We expect to become a leader in family/casual dining because local fresh food tastes superior, customers prefer to support their neighbors and communities and The Farmers Diner provides great service and reasonable prices." Murphy describes the social returns generated by this concept: "Every $1,000,000 in sales at a diner translates into 350 acres of farmland in production, 13 new on-farm jobs, and $1,200,000 in land conservation costs saved. Because of local production ... each million in sales saves at least 10 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually." Now why didn't someone think of this before?

Read about the investment opportunities, the structure, and the philosophy of this great "big on small" business at the link above; and please someone start something like this in Western Canada!


Summary of Products & Services Requested by Small-Scale Food Processors

Since 2001 various studies have been undertaken to discover the needs of small food processors to assist them in meeting their business goals. Read this summary of their needs; it has become the basis for further planning by the SSFPA.


Getting to the Meat of the Matter

Meat production is an area of both concern and opportunity as new challenges and possibilities present themselves, particularly in the last several months. If you are in the meat industry, it's vital that you know about new and existing laws. Read the background on BC's proposed new meat inspection regulations by visiting the Ministry of Health Planning web site. Read the draft regs here and the Food Safety Act (Bill 37) here.

And while we are on the subject of meat, the federal government (under Health Canada) has proposed a new set of raw meat labelling regulations. In an effort to improve the safety of meat and poultry, Health Canada has been conducting consultations with stakeholders, including mandatory safe handling labels for any products containing more than 2% raw meat or poultry. A summary of the proposed labelling regs is available here.


New Rules for Exporting Food Products to the US

The US's new Bioterrorism Act came into effect on December 12. Read about the new rules affecting virtually everyone who imports food to our neighbour to the south by clicking here. The BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries is helping to organize an information session in conjunction with the Pacific Agriculture Show on Friday, Feb. 20 from 1 - 4 pm. Eric Coutour, Assistant Customs Attache from the US Embassy in Ottawa, is the speaker and the title of his talk is "Borders: What's New!". We are told he is "dynamic and entertaining and uses humour to get his point across." His expertise in international trade "will make this a not-to-be missed presentation." Find out more details here.

Another item on the Bioterrorism Act has come to our attention. The US Food and Drug Administration notes: "We understand that the new rule may be particularly onerous for small businesses, gift basket companies and those that accept mail-in orders [ouch! sounds like many of our members!]. It also puts significant pressure on administrative personnel. If your enterprise is experiencing difficulties and frustrations with the new rule, you may wish to comment on the regulations directly to the FDA." Written comments can be sent to: Dockets Management Branch (HFA-305); Food and Drug Administration; 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061; Rockville, MD USA 20852. To make an e-mail comment, click here. You must include the docket number: 2002N-0278.


Our Office Has Moved

SSFPA's membership, board members, and staff are an eclectic mix of rural and urban dwellers. Our co-ordinator, Frank Moreland, and his partner, Sandra Mark (who works for SSFPA in various technical assistance capacities), have moved from BC's capital in Victoria to a rural haven up-Island in Fanny Bay, BC. This means our office has also moved. Our snail mail address is RR #1, Site 43, Comp 53, Fanny Bay, BC V0R 1W0. Phone is (250) 335-3001; cell phone is (250) 361-6639. Our e-mail addresses remain the same: frank@ssfpa.net for Frank Moreland; memdev@ssfpa.net for our membership development coordinator - and "sound bits" editor - Mary Murphy.


BC Food Quality and Safety Initiative

The BC Food Quality and Safety Initiative is a joint federal-provincial, $1.7 million dollar AgriFood Futures Fund, established to assist small-scale producers and processors with their food safety programs over the next five years. These funds will be used to match industry contributions dollar for dollar. The good news for small scalers is that genuine "in-kind" contributions of time, labour and materials may be considered to be the same as a cash contribution. Applications should be available by next summer, along with more financial details. To view the initial work of the FS&Q steering committee and the strategic plan for the delivery of this funding, please visit the BC Agriculture Council's website at http://www.bcac.bc.ca/Announcements.asp. To be put on a mailing list for an e-mail update and application when the program is formally in place, please send a message to philipwatney@foodaudit.com, with the subject line: FS&Q mailing list.


Correction on Information re: Chairmanship of Food Processors Alliance of Canada (FPAC)

In November's sound bits we mistakenly stated that SSFPA's Coordinator, Frank Moreland, had been named co-chair of the Food Processors Alliance of Canada (FPAC). In fact, Frank chaired FPAC's annual meeting in November. The organization has a single chair, Ted Johnston. FPAC fosters industry-wide communication leading to more effective action on behalf of food and beverage processing companies. It emphasizes that food processing contributes $64 billion worth of goods to the Canadian economy and 249,000 jobs to the Canadian economy (2001 figures) and must be given more recognition by government policy makers. Read Frank's report of the issues affecting both small and large food processors by clicking here. FPAC Chair Ted Johnston's recommendations for policy guidelines to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada can be found here.


Another Opportunity

If you would like to collaborate with someone already producing high quality, in-demand, all-natural foods, contact SSFPA member Marsha Andrews of Marsha's Culinary Delights. Marsha's unique products, prized by health-conscious gourmets, contain organic ingredients (condiments) and have no refined sweeteners; instead Marsha uses maple syrup and honey. There are no preservatives or additives in these products, and they are also GMO-free. If you want to find out more about Marsha's Culinary Delights, click here to see the text of its brochure.

At this point in her company's development, Marsha wants to focus on product development and re-configure her business. She would like to consider a number of options including (1) taking on a partner who would focus on marketing, web site development and perhaps e-commerce; or (2) negotiate a labelling arrangement with another business. If you are interested in exploring these or other possibilities, give Marsha a call at (604) 271-7139 or e-mail her at mandrews@shaw.ca. It could be a great opportunity for the right person or the right enterprise.

15 Million Initiative Will Help Farmers Manage Risk

The federal government's Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has announced that producer organizations will have access to a $15 million fund to build custom-made business risk solutions for their members.

Known as Private Sector Risk Management Partnerships, the initiative will help producer organizations connect with the private sector financial community to build customized risk management tools. Producer groups can apply under the initiative for funding to help them develop solid business proposals to take to private sector providers of risk management tools and services.

For further information on the initiative and the application process, interested producer organizations should contact the Private Sector Risk Management Partnership's office at 1-866-299-9599 or visit the website at www.agr.gc.ca/psrmp.


SSFPA Membership Extension & Board of Directors Contact List

SSFPA's Board of Directors has decided not to invoice members for dues until February 2004. To read the memo announcing this policy - and for a contact list of our Board of Directors - go to this page of our web site.


Do You Have a Question about Nutritional Labelling? We Probably Have the Answer!

Must all pre-packaged foods carry a Nutrition Facts label? What laboratories should be used for product analysis? Can food manufacturers use databases to generate their Nutrition Facts information?

Lance Hill, our contact at Health Canada, has provided SSFPA with a document containing answers to these and many more questions on the new Nutritional Labelling regulations. There is far too much information to include it in "sound bits," but we've placed the document here and strongly encourage you to read the material and bookmark the page.

Quick Bits ... Quick Clicks

What's on the Menu for Food Manufacturing in Canada? A webcast (electronic live meeting) scheduled for the morning of January 22 will explore current and expected trends. For information on how you can be involved, contact Meenu Bakshi at (604) 640-3090 or get audio information at 1-866-862-7608; conference ID 5942643#.

Milk Ingredients Technical Support Program (MITSP): Offered by the Canadian Dairy Commission, this program provides financial support and assistance to Canadian processors who lack the facilities, technical expertise and/or resources to conduct controlled product trials and analysis for products containing dairy ingredients. The funding may cover up to 75% of eligible costs to a limit of $20,000. E-mail or call Shana Bailey (613-792-2035) for more information.

New Natural Health Products Regulations. Information sessions have been held cross-country and, due to the interest, more are planned for 2004. Dates and places aren't available yet but pre-registrations are being accepted. And while we're on the subject of health ....

The November 2003 issue of the Health Policy Research Bulletin features "Complementary and Alternative Health Care: The Other Mainstream?"


Other Upcoming Events

The Ag Aware Calendar http://www.agaware.bc.ca/Events/list_events.asp: No reason for us to re-invent the wheel, when AgAware produces such a good calendar. Here you'll find an excellent listing of upcoming activities.


Join Our Newsletter Network

If you'd like a monthly e-mail update of sound bits, contact us and we'll put your name on our list serve. It's a quick and easy way to find out what's happening in the "small scale" food world.


SSFPA Reports, Sound Bites Newsletters, and the Living Inventory

SSFPA has carefully presented and archived all its reports and its "Sound Bites" newsletters. These documents cover pretty much everything that has been discovered, discussed, and accomplished in the last two years of organizing and establishing this organization. Explore our goals, our past, and our present by going to our Documents page. [Note: directing others to this web site is a good way to familiarize them with the general issues facing small scale agriculture and food processors.]

SSFPA members can also gain access to the Living Inventory via our web site. The Living Inventory is an interactive data base which serves as an electronic marketplace, enabling small processors and producers to buy and sell products, inputs, and services from one another. To learn more about SSFPA, contact Mary or Frank as noted below:

Small Scale Food Processor Association
"We're Big on Small"
(250) 335-3001 or (250) 973-6952
E-mail: memdev@ssfpa.net
Web site: http://www.ssfpa.net/DocsForms/DocsForms.htm

Related Links and List Serves

For information on sustainable food economies, community economic development, and other issues of concern to the small-scale food sector, we recommend these:

Agribusiness Accountability Initiative: This organization promotes collaborative responses to corporate power in the global food system. Its website offers a comprehensive overview of problems and solutions related to his issue.

Alberta Food Processors Association: AFPA and SSFPA have exchanged supporter memberships to be able to work with transparency to eventually help large and small processors in both provinces. AFPA has a great web site with both industry and consumer information galore. Check out its monthly newsletter here.

Centre for Alternative Technology: The Centre is the UK's leading provider of environmental, sustainability and alternative technology and lifestyle publications. You can learn about ecological sewage treatment, building, architecture, alternative energy, organic gardening, composting, biofuels, green education, sustainable careers and energy conservation.

Farm Folk/City Folk: FarmFolk/CityFolk is a non-profit society, based in British Columbia, that wants one simple thing: for people to eat local, fresh, seasonal foods, grown using farming practices that contribute to the health of the planet.

International Association for Food Protection: Founded in 1911, this is a non-profit association of food safety professionals. Comprised of a diverse membership of over 3,000 Members from 50 nations, the IAFP is dedicated to the education and service of its members as well as industry personnel

Rangeland: An awesome collection of information on agriculture and food-sector business in Australia - with plenty of international information and links as well.

Organic Consumers Association: Look for articles on genetically modified food and fair trade issues along with general information about organic food production. If you'd like regular updates from OCA through its "Biodemocracy News," contact biodemocracy@lists.organicconsumers.org.