Friday, October 19, 2012

Dinnertime Worries

I'm worried about my dinner plate, I really am.

I try hard to source my food from producers I have met, and I've been lucky: my freezer is stocked with pork, beef, chicken and lamb, and never mind this 100-mile thing, the furthest my meat has travelled is more like 20.

But I'm worried about next year.

The small, family-run abattoir where I get my beef and lamb cut is planning to shut down operations at the end of the year. Oh, they have more than enough work to keep them busy, but they say they cannot afford to keep up with the ever-changing rules and regulations that govern their work, plus an overly zealous inspector who is apparently making impossible demands that will force them to close.

At my abattoir, each animal is dealt with individually, so when my farmer girlfriend had her wedding in the month of June, we knew meat from the heifer she jokingly named June was the only meat we were eating that night.

That pound of hamburger you buy at the grocery story could contain meat from hundreds of animals. And if just one of the guest workers at XL Foods didn't cleanly get out the guts of that Alberta-raised steer in 90 seconds, you've got poop in your meat. You know that's what e-coli is, right? Poop in your meat?

What confuses me is the same lax inspections that let so many people eat contaminated meat from XL is the very same system that's putting my friends out of business, and forcing me to buy the supermarket meat produced by places like XL.

There's something not right here.

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