Column generates response

Agricultural Minister responds to Morning Star column on meat inspection system

I would like to provide your readers with some important information regarding British Columbia’s meat inspection system (Out of touch, Nov. 14, 2012).

You can be assured I am well aware of the industry concerns as we work towards a new meat inspection program for B.C.

That is why, since being appointed Agriculture Minister in September, I have spent a significant amount of time in communities across the province – including the RDNO – hearing first-hand from stakeholders and industry and community leaders.

This is not as straightforward an issue as your column suggests. There are diverse opinions on the subject, and while your paper has eloquently expressed one view it is only one side of the story.

The underlying challenge is to devise a system that is able to accommodate the needs of small producers and respects the investments they have in their land, while also respecting the investments people have made in large abattoirs.

All the while we must be guided by the most important principles of ensuring consumer health and safety and improving meat standards.

In closing, I will say this; consumer safety is paramount, and when the final decision is made British Columbians can be confident that their new provincial meat inspection system will support the highest standards of food safety.

Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture