Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Farmers seek answers after Pilot Mound meat seizure

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FARMERS involved in small-scale food production want answers in the wake of fines and the seizure of meat from a farm near Pilot Mound.

A small delegation of mostly farmers met with provincial bureaucrats Friday.

Members of the delegation did not want to be identified as the crackdown on Pam and Clinton Cavers and their Harbourfront Farms last month has sent a chill through the sector.

The province seized and destroyed $8,000 worth of cured meat from the couple's on-farm meat shop.

Farmers want clear rules and reasonable rules for food safety for small-scale food production, said Colin Anderson, a PhD student at the University of Manitoba who is studying direct-farm marketing.

"My sense of what we need to do here is build some trust and establish a process by which we can further explore artisanal processing," he said.

It's still not clear what regulations the Caverses violated that caused a provincial inspector to summon RCMP and raid their farm last month. One arm of the Agriculture Department was assisting the Caverses to develop their specialty smoked meats.

"There's a lot of confusion," Anderson said.

The Caverses have been mentors to many farmers.

Dialogue and clear rules for small-scale food production are especially important as immigrants arrive demanding products not available from large commercial operations.

Some demands range from products such as goat meat, to chicken feet, to halal meats.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 19, 2013 A10

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