Many of you know that I love the radio show/podcast Deconstructing Dinner. It is a weekly radio show produced in Nelson, B.C., that deals with issues to do with food production, food distribution, and food security. The May 6, 2010 show is titled “’Crack’ down of backyard chickens and farm-fresh eggs”. The first part of the show describes recent incidents where inspectors from the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) have visited small businesses in the Kootenay region of B.C. The inspectors are enforcing a regulation that prohibits the selling of “un-graded” eggs by retail outlets. The grading of eggs is the process where the eggs are sent to an approved grading station to be checked for quality, size, etc. There are some oddities to this regulation however, as a farmer may sell un-graded eggs from the “farm gate” but not through a retail establishment.
The comment is made in the show that the process behind an inspector focusing on a particular issue, like un-graded eggs, is largely complaint driven. It is interesting to note that to make these eggs legal they would need to be sent to a registered grading station. These grading stations are normally attached to a large factory egg farm. I have often wondered how long it would take for the larger food producers, who are likely to be impacted by the recent shift to buying local foods, to react in some way. You make the connections.
In the future, I believe we will see more and more of these kinds of events. Moreover, there will likely be new legislation that makes local food production more difficult and favors the corporate food producers. Support your local farmers and tell your government representatives that you want continued access to these resources. Tell ’em it supports the local economy.