Ranchers and abattoir operators in British Columbia are contributing to improve rural food supply and food security in the province, as part of ongoing government efforts to increase livestock production and processing in rural communities.
The Ministry of Agriculture has released an intentions paper with suggested policy changes to meat processing in rural areas of the province that prioritize food safety and animal welfare. The policy changes will also increase economic opportunities and strengthen B.C.’s provincial food system.
Policy changes being shared with ranchers, abattoirs, local governments and health authorities for consideration include:
- increasing the amount of meat that can be processed annually by Class D and E licence holders, and expanding the criteria of who and where their meat can be sold to;
- developing alternative models of licensing mobile abattoirs to improve service for smaller-scale producers;
- exploring a pilot program for conducting certain inspection components virtually; and
- renaming the current “Class A, B, D and E licenses” to more intuitive categories.
The ministry is also collecting input on a number of topics to support public health and a safe meat supply, such as:
- updating licensee training on slaughter practice, animal welfare and food safety to ensure provincially consistent and effective learning opportunities for rural producers;
- revising the code of practice for abattoir operators with required standard operating procedures to bring consistent practices and improved clarity for administrators and operators; and
- increasing the frequency of government inspector visits to rural abattoirs to an annual basis to ensure awareness and compliance with all requirements.
More details about the possible changes are included in a Ministry of Agriculture intentions paper at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/food-safety/meat-inspection-licensing
Comments are being accepted from stakeholders and the public until Oct. 19, 2020.
Information on meat inspection in B.C., including licence types:
For the new consolidated process for provincial meat inspection licences under the Ministry of Agriculture, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AGRI0045-001549
The Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish and Food’s public consultation on local meat production: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019AGRI0045-001135
A backgrounder follows.