New B.C. Meat Inspection to benefit consumers and producers

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VICTORIA, B.C. – Ranchers, producers, and consumers in British Columbia will now be able to benefit from a new consolidated process for the provincial meat inspection that ensures food safety and animal welfare are still top priorities.

Starting December 1, 2020, any slaughter activity that’s licensed under the Meat Inspection Regulation for Class A, B, D, and E meat slaughter licenses will now be regulated under the Ministry of Agriculture. Previously, regional health authorities had responsibility for licenses for Class D and E.

According to Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, residents in B.C. are looking for high-quality and trusted meat products that have been raised by B.C ranchers and farmers, with this change helping to meet the demand.

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The change was made as a response to the recent consultation from the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture, Fish, and Food’s report on local meat production and inspection.

The Ministry of Agriculture will provide benefits to consumers, existing license holders, and producers, including:

  • creating new economic opportunities for the communities throughout the province
  • strengthening the resiliency of B.C’s food system
  • streamlining licensing to reduce the administrative burdens for animal slaughtering businesses
  • improving overall consistency in Class D and E administrative throughout the province
  • increasing the frequency of inspections to ensure food safety and animal welfare is maintained

Tristan Banwell, a rancher, Class D license holder, and Vice President of the Small-Scale Meat Producers Association says, “This change will enable effective oversight and create more opportunities for small on-farm abattoirs. We will also have a clear path to growth for those who want to expand their facilities, which is crucial as we work to rebuild diverse local economies in rural areas.”

Class D and E licenses support local livestock and meat production in communities across the province where any existing slaughter capacity is limited or non-existent. The Government says it is consulting with ranchers, abattoir operators, local governments, and other stakeholders to review and improve slaughter capacity.

More information will be released in the fall, and for more information, you can view the Government of B.C website.

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