A closer look at local food
The local food movement has been gaining a lot of traction recently, and Canadian Pizza's Brandi Cowen explores the complications in getting it from the farm to the table.
People in Germany are warned against eating raw vegetables as
unprecedented E. coli outbreak spreads to eight European nations.
Farmers in China watch their watermelon crops explode after improperly
applying a chemical growth accelerator to their fields. The United
States recalls more than 500 million eggs after dangerous levels of
salmonella are detected in eggs from two Iowa farms.
Closer to home, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) samples 285
imported manufactured products that either haven’t been inspected for
some time, or are suspected to have compliance problems. Testing reveals
a 75 per cent quality non-compliance rate in 2008 and 2009. Two years
later, the agency reports that the non-compliance rate has got worse,
jumping to 84 per cent.
These are just some of the food safety horror stories that have made
headlines in the past two years. Factor in growing support for local
economies in the wake of the 2008 global economic meltdown, and an
increasing consumer consciousness of the toll our purchasing decisions
can take on the environment, and it’s little wonder the local food
movement has been gaining ground in recent years.
Increased consumer curiosity about where our food comes from can be a
mixed blessing for many restaurateurs. On the one hand, you’ve got a
captive audience that shares your passion for what goes on the plate. On
the other hand, truly embracing the local trend can sometimes seem like
one more task to cram into a day that doesn’t have enough hours. It’s
true that sourcing local food for your kitchen can be time-consuming,
but as the local food movement gains traction, there are more tools to
help busy restaurateurs connect with others involved in the local food
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