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Deconstructing Dinner: Crack down on backyard and farm fresh eggs


Over the past month, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (the CFIA) has embarked on a concentrated effort in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, threatening area businesses with fines unless they remove their ungraded farm-fresh eggs from store shelves. Close to a dozen businesses that Deconstructing Dinner is aware of have received such a visit. This episode hears from a number of those businesses including comments on the issue from the BC Egg Marketing Board, the CFIA and the regional health authority Interior Health.

While the availability of eggs from local farms in the region has been significantly curtailed following this "crack" down on local eggs, the increasingly popular alternative to store-bought eggs (backyard eggs) is too being met with a crack down of its own. In December 2009, Nelson B.C. resident Monica Nissen was paid a visit by a local bylaw enforcement officer who demanded that Nissen remove her chickens from her backyard, or too face a fine and the possible confiscation of her birds. The City's bylaw enforcement officer was acting on two supposed complaints... and we say "supposed" because according to all of Nissen's immediate neighbours, none of them took issue with the chickens... leaving Nissen and Deconstructing Dinner wondering just what constitutes a valid complaint if it clearly didn't come from an immediate neighbour? We'll also be joined by Nelson city councillor Kim Charlesworth, who recounts the past year's efforts to revise the local bylaw that prohibits backyard chickens within city limits and we'll hear from Ian Fraser - a senior animal control officer for Victoria Animal Control Services - a city that does permit backyard chickens and hence, backyard eggs.

Join us for this important broadcast as we explore what Kootenay businesses and residents are calling an affront to food sovereignty following these latest efforts by local and federal authorities who appear determined to ensure that the only eggs easily accessible to Canadians are the factory-farmed options.

Guests/Voices

Kevin Smith, farmer/baker, Old World Bakery (Balfour, BC) -

The Old World Bakery produces a line of baked goods for their own retail customers and many local businsses. Kevin Smith and his wife Darla also farm in the community of Ainsworth.

Bonny Kavalov, co-owner, Nature's Den (Rossland, BC) -

Bonny and her husband Sid operate this small health store in Rossland, BC.

Wayne Popoff, owner, Kootenay Liquidators (Castlegar, BC) -

Wayne is a hobby farmer just outside of Castlegar and operates a store that sells feed products and farm-fresh eggs among other things.

Amyn Alibhai, board member, BC Egg Marketing Board (Kamloops, BC) -

Since its inception in 1967 as the first egg marketing board in Canada with quota, the British Columbia Egg Marketing Board (BCEMB) serves as a non-profit, producer organization financed solely by its Registered Producers through a levy system. The BCEMB is one of eleven provincial and territorial egg marketing boards that meet under the umbrella of the Egg Farmers of Canada (EFC) to address industry issues of regional, national and international importance. Amyn owns Sunshine Eggs - a large producer of graded eggs.

Deanna Zgrablic, food processing specialist inspector , Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) (Abbotsford, BC) -

The CFIA is Canada's government agency which seeks to "safeguard food, animals and plants, which enhance the health and well-being of Canada's people, environment and economy".

Ron Popoff, environmental health team leader, Interior Health (Cranbrook, BC) -
IH is one of five geographically-based health authorities created in 2001 by the Government of British Columbia. It is responsible for ensuring publicly funded health services are provided to the people of the Southern Interior.

Monica Nissen, former backyard chickener (Nelson, BC) -

Kim Charlesworth, city councillor, City of Nelson (Nelson, BC) -

Ian Fraser, senior animal control officer, Victoria Animal Control Services (Victoria, BC) -


Photos of Monica Nissen's backyard chickens and coop



Monica Nissen's backyard chickens... no longer in her backyard

Download the audio for this episode here.

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