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Aug 20, 2013 07:27 AM

What is your definition of "Local Food"

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says "local," "locally grown," and any similar term "shall mean that the domestic goods being advertised originated within 50 km of the place where they are sold, measured directly, point to point.

Earlier this year, the Ontario Liberal government tabled the Local Food Act, which seems to contradict the CFIA’s definition. According to the new proposed piece of legislation “local food” means, “any food produced or harvested in Ontario" or with 50 kms of the Provincial boarder.

What do you think of the revised Ontario definition of "Local Food" ?

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  1. All of Ontario may not conform to the strictest definition of what local food means, but considering a lot of our food comes from places as far away as China, Ontario feels local enough to me.

    1. If you can pick it today and sell it to me tomorrow and no airplanes are involved, then it's local to me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bytepusher

        I tend to agree with your definition. That would limit it to a few hundred miles of Toronto, unless the truck is driving all night.

      2. Given the size of the province it might seem a bit broad, but if you look at the reality of where stuff actually grows and the market for it... I am ok with the new definition, for general marketing purposes.

        1. Considering that Holland Marsh is 70 km from downtown and I would condider it local I have no problem with them expanding it. All of ontario may be too broad but if it helps Ontario farmers I am all for it!

          BTW The reason behind this was a fight with (of all things) a small hamburger joint in Alliston. They advertised all their food as local and some inspector came by and said that they were lying and would fine them 50 thousand dollars and shut them down.. here is the story..

          10 Replies
          1. re: pourboi

            That was only one of several cases, another was company in Toronto preparing catered food for daycares.

            Nobody seems to understand why the CFIA suddenly decided recently to start enforcing these labelling rules that haven't really been much enforced since they were defined in 1973.

            1. re: pourboi

              I saw that story too. I find it hard to accept the Burger Guys assertion of "Natural" Beef. I'm with the CFIA on this one.

              CFIA inspectors define natural as food “produced through the ordinary course of nature without the interference or influence of humans.” It is synonymous with wild. There aren’t many wild cows around these parts.

              1. re: PoppiYYZ

                That is a problem with CFIA definitions.. most "normal" people would say that definition is for "Wild" and in my mind Wild is not synonymous with Natural

                What would you call cows that are in a grass pasture and allowed to graze?

                1. re: pourboi

                  Buy it all the time. Grass feed beef from a Local producer. I can see them grazing when I drive by. Lamb too.

                  Grass fed – refers to livestock that have been raised on pasture and not grain-based feed. These cattle may be “finished” (the last few months prior to processing) on grass or grain dependent on the producer.

                  Grass finished – refers to livestock that are not only raised on grass but spend their final weight-gain stage on grass, which means that no grain was fed to the animal at any stage in their life.

                      1. re: DockPotato

                        Thanks! I always wondered that...

                        1. re: pourboi

                          Sorry I had to make it look like I was lorking !

                          They eat Hay of 20% Timothy Grass and 80% Alfalfa. Large hay bales dropped into feeders in the pasture even in the snow.

                2. re: PoppiYYZ

                  i can agree a bit on this as well so shouldnt the CFIA go after Schniders for their Country Naturals Line??

                  1. re: youdonut

                    Saw an organic documentary where Silk Soya Milk started making some of their products from non-organic soy and labelled it "Natural", but it looks like it has been dropped from the label.

              2. The thing i might have issue with is the "with 50 kms of the Provincial boarder" line, since we border on the united states would that include products from there as well? because i wouldnt consider anything from the US as local. i think that the original rules were fine, maybe expand the distance a bit to say 100 km but it was fin none the less. i also feel that these regulations are being acted upon now more so than in the past because we are becoming more food conscious (foodies?) than we were in the past. back in the 70's and 80's we didnt care as much as now where our food came from.

                3 Replies
                1. re: youdonut

                  The border with the US is an International Border not a Provincial Border. The reason for this is if you have a restaurant in Ottawa then produce from Hull would not be considered local even if it is 2km away..

                  1. re: pourboi

                    Not sure about the US border. Could find anything to clarify that point.

                    I personnally like the old CFIA’s definition. I already know what Ontario is, Canada is, and what China/US/Mexico are. We need some way to identify what is produced close by. At least it is very important to me. Local to me ain't Thunder Bay or Windsor.

                    1. re: PoppiYYZ

                      But what about Holland Marsh? Grimsby? NOTL? all greater than 50km

                      For 50km from downtown you would have to stick in a circle basically Burlington, Aurora, Whitby.. not a lot of farms would meet the criteria... Plus then you would need to have different packaging for the stores within the circle and outside..