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
December 2003


The frost is on the fields - and maybe on your windows, too. We at the Small Scale Food Processor Association wish you and yours a very happy and peaceful holiday season!

 

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.


Important Food Safety News for Small Processors

SSFPA board member Philip Watney provides us with two important items on food safety gathered from his attendance at last month's "Farm Gate to Dinner Plate" conference.

  • Food safety (HACCP) plans for small-scale processors: Small operators have significantly more challenges in implementing food safety procedures than large companies. The conference identified three major obstacles for small operators in establishing and maintaining food safety or HACCP programs: skeptical attitudes, complexity of the procedures involved, and lack of resources. Are there solutions? Good models, such as Ontario's "HACCP Advantage" program (scheduled to be available in 2004) are being developed specifically for small companies. Not only do these straightforward, lower-cost models make food safety plans less cumbersome, but they also help create more "buy in" from both management and employees.

  • 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.

For more information on both these items, click here.


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

Last month we mistakenly stated that SSFPA's Coordinator, Frank Moreland, had been named co-chair of the Food Processos 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.


Opportunity Knocks!

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, 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. You can even join online at https://www.ssfpa.net/Regis.


...And 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. [Note: this web site is not scheduled to be available until Dec. 19, 2003.


News for Exporters

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. News for exporters to Asia can be found here. Thanks to Lance Hill of Health Canada for providing us with this information.


Great Turnout for Health Canada's "Product Recall Workshop," Richmond, BC

Last October, SSFPA Coordinator Frank Moreland worked with Health Canada in hosting this seminar, which dealt with the crucial and complex process of food product recalls. The BC seminar had by far the largest turnout of small and medium food processors in the country (50 in Richmond, compared to 23 in Halifax and Mississauga, 18 in Calgary, and 11 in Winnipeg). This no doubt reflects the small-scale focus of so much food production in BC, along with a growing interest in both quality control and food safety. If there is interest, the SSFPA will prepare a one-day educational recall workshop in Spring 2004. Members will qualify for a discount in the registration cost.


Strength in Numbers ... the Possibilities of the Co-op Model

Did you know that:

  • Agricultural co-operatives have a history of success and currently generate $15 billion in sales across Canada?

  • Co-ops are a market force with real bargaining power for their members?

  • The agricultural sector has much to gain financially from a ‘strength-in-numbers’ approach?

The focus of October's joint session of the BC Cooperative Association and the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development Fund was on the cooperative model, highlighting its advantages in the context of agri-business ventures. SSFPA's coodinator, Frank Moreland, gave a presentation in which he, too, stressed the co-op theme, while informing his audience on the membership, activities, and vision of the Small Scale Food Processor Association. Check out Frank's power point summary here.


SSFPA Membership Extension & Board of Directors Contact List

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.


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

Report on "Seeds for Survival Rural Seminar": SSFPA Co-ordinator Frank Moreland and his partner Sandra Mark coordinated this event in Valement, BC on October 3-5 for the BC Women's Farm Network. Saving the family farm and the agricultural lifestyle of Western Canada was the focus.

Proposed Raw Meat Labelling: 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 at the link above.

New Meat Inspection Regulations are Coming: Read the draft regs sent out by the BC government by clicking the link. You'll find the supporting manual and guidelines here.

New Natural Health Products Regulations. ... yes, the "R" word again. 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.

Christmas Craft Fair, Victoria, BC: The season for giving is here. If you live in Victoria, you can show your support for local craftspeople and small food processors by attending December's Saturday indoor craft fair at the Second Story Book Store on Johnson Street, 11 am - 9 pm. There is live festive music in the evenings and you are encouraged to linger and enjoy hot cider or tea. Plus you may find a unique gift for that special person in your life. To find out more (we hear there still might be space for a vendor or two), call Jana 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 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.