The Ministry of Agriculture’s intentions paper lists several policy changes
The meat processing sector in rural British Columbia could soon see some significant changes.
The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture recently released an intentions paper that outlines policy changes to meat processing in rural areas of the province.
“These ideas are being looked at to supplement, improve or expand the current system following concerns that have been expressed about rural slaughter capacity for many years,” said Lana Popham, minister of agriculture in B.C., in an email statement to Farms.com.
The policy changes include increasing the amount of meat processed annually by Class D and E licence holders, developing alternative models of licensing mobile abattoirs, looking into a pilot program for virtual inspections and renaming the current class licences to more intuitive categories.
“The ideas being proposed are significant in that they could be a different way of doing things, and each one is founded in a principle that is committed to a safe food supply and humane treatment of animals,” Popham said in the statement.
These policy changes were sent to ranchers, local governments, health authorities and abattoirs to solicit feedback.
“By receiving feedback from differing areas of expertise and perspective, the ministry is confident they will better be able to support rural food supply and security, and contribute to B.C.’s commitment to food safety and animal welfare,” Popham’s statement said.
The ministry is also gathering input on issues related to public health and a safe meat supply including the possibility of increasing the frequency of government inspectors’ visits to rural abattoirs.
“British Columbians want to be able to eat local beef, pork, lamb and poultry, and we are looking at inspection models that encourage more livestock and poultry production and processing in B.C.,” said Popham.
Stakeholders and the public can submit feedback on the intentions paper until Oct. 19.
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