Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA)
Site 43, C-53, Fanny Bay, BC V0R 1W0
New Meat Inspection Regs are Coming
There is probably no more complex or controversial
issue facing the Canadian food sector than the safety and inspection
of meat. New regulations are being drawn up; whether you are a livestock
producer or a meat processor in BC, they will affect you!
The inspection rules are intended to apply across
the province, providing consistent standards for all slaughterhouses.
The new system will require ante- and post-mortem inspection of all
animals at the point of slaughter by a government inspector. Inspection
costs are currently borne by government; however, shared payment of
costs between government and plant operators is under review.
Check out the draft
regulations along with supporting manuals
If you are a stakeholder in the meat and poultry
industry, your comments on these draft regulations are being solicited.
They can be forwarded to the Ministry of Health Planning by writing
directly to Kersteen Johnson, Executive Director, Health Protection
Planning Division, 4th Floor, 1515 Blanshard Street, Victoria, British
Colombia, V8W 3C8. Meetings to discuss your comments/questions can also
be arranged should more formal discussions about the draft regulations
Your comments are requested no later than Monday,
December 1, 2003. SSFPA has been informed
that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food wants BC's meat industry to
remain viable and needs to know what processors require in the face
of new regulations and consumer concerns. This could include modifications
to the proposed regulations, training, and financing for capital
improvements. But no one will know what you need unless you read the
draft regulations and make your concerns known!
Report from the Food Processors Alliance of
SSFPA's Coordinator, Frank Moreland, recently chaired
the fifth annual meeting of FPAC. This organization 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.
Frank notes that many of the same issues affect
both small and large processors. Click here
to read Frank's report, with its discussions on:
- Voluntary GMO Labelling;
- UPC Barcode Cost Sharing Project;
- The US Bioterrorism Act;
- Mandatory Nutritional Labelling; and
- FPAC feedback on the Agricultural Policy Framework
and a program called "Advancing Agriculture--Setting a New Course
A letter from FPAC's chair (Ted Johnston), recommending
policy guidelines to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, can be found
Co-ops: An Alternative Business Model
The BC Co-operative Association is holding a one
day seminar on November 21 in Abbotsford, BC, highlighting the advantages
of the co-op model in the context of agri-business ventures. The targeted
audience for the seminar are agricultural producers/processors associations,
extension workers, lending agents and financial institutions, agricultural
training institute personnel, community economic development workers,
and others advising farmers and processors on new market options. The
deadline for registration has been extended to November 14. For more
information, click here
SSFPA Business Planning for Shared Services
& Membership Benefits
Would you like to share services with other small
processors and buy packaging and other source materials in bulk? Would
you like to join with others to develop a flexible marketing and distribution
network? SSFPA is conducting a business planning project with these
goals in mind. Support for this initiative comes from CEDTAP (Canadian
Economic Development Technical Assistance Program) and VanCity Credit
Union. A 17-member steering committee is providing both vision and practical
advice as the project develops.
The SSFPA is also exploring the feasibility of membership
benefits: medical and dental insurance, liability insurance, and more
effective mentoring services. The Business Plan Development project
is looking at how to combine business services with non-market services
like the above insurance programs. For more information, see next month's
SSFPA Membership Extension & Board of Directors
SSFPA's Board of Directors has decided not to invoice
members for dues until early in 2004 and to extend current memberships.
The SSFPA is working very hard with limited resources to prepare a package
of member benefits (see above) that will meet the needs that small-scale
food processors around Western Canada have identified as critical to
their future success. Once a package is fully prepared that the Board
feels it can be proud to offer - and that will be feasible for it to
administer - members of the SSFPA will be contacted about renewals and
2004 dues. 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.
Cyber-Help For Farmers
This training program (sponsored by the BC
Certified Organic Program) is a single three-hour session that familiarizes
participants with computers and computer terminology. Both hardware
and software aspects are explored with an emphasis on finding useful
agricultural information online. Cost is $25.00 per person, and includes
a take-home instructional CD. The instructor, Randi Paul, has been a
farmer herself, and has extensive experience teaching computer skills.
Upcoming "cyber-help" workshops this month
are in Duncan, Courtenay, Salt Spring Island, Summerland, and Creston.
to find dates, locations, and contact information for most of these
events. For the Salt Spring Island session (November 14), call John
Wilcox at 539-5942 .
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
Health Canada's public consultation on the revision
of the "Guidelines
for the Safety Assessment of Novel Foods Derived from Plants and Microorganisms"
concluded on September 30, 2003. Although deadline for public input
has passed, you may still be able to submit comments by contacting Lance
Hill at Health Canada, ASAP.
Safety Workshop: Vancouver, November 13. What are the common food
hazards? What Canadian food regulations deal with food safety? Click
on this link to find out about the workshop addressing these questions
or call 1-800-333-3333. A draft
agenda is also available.
Workshops: Farmers, ranchers, First Nations, and other land-holding
stakeholders may find opportunities in this emerging sector. A series
of workshops is being held in November in Vernon, Cranbrook, Abbotsford,
and Prince George. Information and a registration form is available
from the link.
Raw Meat Labelling. Health Canada is considering a regulation requiring
all raw ground beef and poultry to carry a safe handlng label. The objective
would be to improve food safety by providing consumers with a consistent
message about steps they can take to reduce the risk of foodborne illness
when handling and cooking these products. For more information, check
the above link.
An Evening All About Apples, Victoria, BC:
LifeCycles invites you
to this event on Sunday, November 23 at Spinnaker's Brew Pub. $50/ticket
for a gourmet five course dinner infused with local apples and stories
from local farmers. For more information call Tara at (250) 383-5800.
Christmas Craft Fair, Victoria, BC:
The season for giving will soon be upon us. One of SSFPA's members,
Jana Wessel of Earth's Herbal Organic Tea & Herb Company, is organizing
a weekly indoor craft fair at a location on Johnson Street during December.
The cost for four Saturdays is $15/day, 11 am - 9 pm. There will be
live festive music in the evenings and shoppers will be encouraged to
linger and enjoy hot cider or tea. Sounds like a great opportunity.
If you are interested in taking part, call Jana ASAP at (250) 250-884-5459.
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
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) 380-1947
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:
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
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.
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.
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
An awesome collection of information on agriculture and food-sector
business in Australia - with plenty of international information and
links as well.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.