My perspective – Food for thought
- Published on Thursday, March 30, 2017
By Kate Jackman-Atkinson
The Neepawa Banner
Agriculture is extremely important to our region, but as many people know, the real money isn’t in primary production. In agriculture, changing a commodity into a more finished product adds greatly to its value.
There are many companies, including Neepawa-based Farmery Brewery who have taken this route. They not only make beer from their barley, they have also started packaging it into products, such as cake mixes.
The problem is that going from farmer to middle man is an expensive step. For those looking to produce food products, it’s also one mired in regulations and red tape. In Manitoba, food produced for public consumption must be prepared in a certified and inspected commercial kitchen, which is an expensive undertaking for an individual entrepreneur armed only with an idea.
The province has made it slightly easier for people to dip a toe in the industry by establishing less stringent rules for vendors at farmers’ markets. There, vendors are allowed to sell products that haven’t been made in an approved kitchen, provided they don’t contain any potentially hazardous foods. Manitoba Health inspectors consider hazardous foods to include meat or meat products, poultry or poultry products, milk or milk products or any food with these products as ingredients. This means that products such as homemade perogies, cabbage rolls, sandwiches and cream-filled pastries can only be sold if they’ve been made, packaged and labelled by an approved establishment.
Anyone wanting to sell in any other environment,…
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