TORONTO — What is “local” food? According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), it’s defined as food originating 50 kilometres from where its sold. But, Kathleen Wynne, the premier of Ontario, says local food should be defined as food produced or harvested within the province.
“The CFIA’s legislation is designed to regulate the labelling and advertising of food products. However, the scope of their definition may be too narrow and could work contrary to the interests of supporting local food and Ontario farmers,” Gabrielle Gallant, agriculture minister for Ontario, is quoted as saying by CBC News.
Under the CFIA’s regulations, Jay Klausen, the owner of Bistro Burger in Alliston, Ont., could be fined up to $50,000 for advertising his burger’s beef as local, since it originated 200 kilometres from his restaurant in Zurich, Ont. “Ontario is local to us here. At least we’re supporting our province. It’s a fine line. It’s a really good debate,” Klausen told CBC. “In Saskatchewan, you could drive for hundreds of miles and not hit anything.”
Opinions are split. “To me, local means can I get there before lunch — can I drive there, meet the farmer, inspect the farm and get home in a day?” David Farnell, co-owner of Real Food for Real Kids, which serves healthy lunches to schools, is quoted as saying by The Star.
Meanwhile, Wynne has raised the issue with Gerry Ritz, the federal Agriculture Minister.