Northwest Premium Meat Co-op on XL Foods
The Northwest Premium Meat Co-op in Smithers is hoping more cattle farmers turn to their local abattoir to butcher their beef, after XL food recalled a number of its products due to E. coli contamination. The Northwest Premium Meat Co-op recently made a delegation to the Northern Development Trust Fund to ask for financial help, that request was denied, leaving the meat co-op in dept.
Although not happy with the news of XL foods recalling many products due to E. coli continuation it may give more opportunities for the local abattoir. NWPM Co-op Chair Paul Davidson says, “I guess the good thing is this certainly drives the provinces attention to the fact that inspected beef is important and it's important to have inspectors at these facilities, and for the consumer I'm sure that it's doubly important to get a safe meat product for their family in that end the good part is it draws attention to the importance of inspected beef and that it what we are trying to drive at the Northwest Premium Meat Co-op.”
According to the BC Cattlemen's Association General Manager Kevin Boon using a local abattoir won't meet consumer demand and can be pricey. “You know the big thing at the end of the day is are they able to afford to do it.I know that the abattoir would love to have that year round business ... BC we don't produce enough beef here if we were to put it all through there to actually meet the demand of what our consumers want here in BC we would have to go outside the province for help anyways.”
NWPM Co-op Member Tenley Dahlie says, “Abattoir for beef works to about 25 cents a pound ... if you think about what your comparing to it locally it is probably not using the abattoir and the abattoir they follow the inspection right. There are standard operating procedures there... and the different between this very small plant and the really big plant is in this plant the beef go through one at a time.”
As of right now the Northwest Premium Meat Co-op is encourage consumers to buy locally, and to speak to their local farmers, Davidson explains, “For myself and this situation we have beef calf prop coming in, and we need to decided which animals we are going to hold over for the winter and grass feed next summer for the local market opposed to what animals we are going to ship out off to auction market because we only have so much feed to get our animals through the winter.”
To find out more about your local farmers you can go to www.bvfarmersmarket.com and www.beyondthemarket.ca .