Beef recall prompting consumers to buy local
Published Wednesday, October 3, 2012 6:57PM ADT
Growing concerns about the meat we eat has consumers taking a closer look at where it all comes from.
Those who support eating local say a recent beef recall provides an opportunity to get their message across about the benefits of eating local.
Hundreds of people visit Sean Gallagher’s market in Halifax each day and local food is one of the main attractions.
Gallagher says most of the meat at his market comes from the Annapolis Valley and that makes for an intimate relationship between producers and retailers because the retailer can ask questions.
“What’s the feed? How are you actually raising this animal and how did it live?” asks Gallagher. “It’s a whole different ball game.”
One customer takes the whole process a step further and sometimes goes directly to the farm.
“We stock up with meat there once a month or every two months,” says customer Jennifer Earl. “And we get our veggies from here every week.”
For some, knowledge about the source equals confidence in food safety.
“I want to know where my meat comes from and I want to know who grows the food,” says customer Jean-Luc Godard.
Farmer Don Kiley says awareness of the importance of healthy food is growing.
“Versus the different problems you see with the genetically-modified foods and the antibiotics in beef,” he says.
Antibiotics and grain are blamed by some for the presence of large amounts of E. coli in cattle intestines.
Health officials are urging concerned customers to check the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website for a list of affected products and to call the store where the meatwas purchased.
Meanwhile, the federal government says it is improving inspections of major meat plants across the country. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says there are 46 inspectors at Alberta’s XL Foods plant, where the troubles began last month.
“There is a 20 per cent increase over the last couple of years, so you know, we are ramping it up,” says Ritz. “There are more people on the ground to address those kinds of situations.”
The relatively small Atlantic Beef Products plant on Prince Edward Island says Canadians are buying less beef, but it’s too early to tell whether that is the result of the recent beef recall.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw
As a list of recalled meat products from an Alberta plant continues to grow, so does consumer anxiety.