Meat processing rules on verge of softening

There is some cautious optimism that tough meat processing regulations may be softened.

North Okanagan Regional District officials anticipate that provincial rules negatively impacting small processors and farmers are on the verge of being amended.

“They may not make wholesale changes but there could be some adjustments,” said Jerry Oglow, chairman.

“Hopefully we will have something positive to hear by the summer.”

The rules, which were initiated last fall, force all meat to be slaughtered in a provincially licensed facility. It also has to be inspected prior to being sold.

NORD is concerned the rules will put small processors out of business, as well as farmers who can’t get their beef, poultry or pork processed.

Director Buffy Baumbrough has discussed the matter with a senior government official in an attempt to get more information about potential changes to the regulations.

“She said she would look into this for us and provide us with some answers,” said Baumbrough.

However, until Victoria does announce amendments to the rules, farmers and local residents are being asked to remain vigilant in their opposition to the regulations.

“I would encourage anyone within agriculture to keep writing and let the government know where we stand,” said director Rick Fairbairn.

“There is nowhere to get out product slaughtered.”

NORD recently spearheaded a survey of livestock processors and producers about the impact of the provincial rules.

It showed that many farmers have abandoned their activities because they cannot access processors for their meat.

NORD issued a report based on the survey and it calls on the provincial government to form a task force on the concerns and provide substantive funding for processing facilities.

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