It has recently come to my attention that Zehrs, and other grocery chains will be switching their beef products over to provide Ontario corn fed beef. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to talk to Zehrs assistant store manager Brad Lewis. I sat down with him and asked a few questions. Here’s what I know.
Zehrs decided to make the switch from American beef to Canadian beef due to consumers demand for it. We asked, they answered. It became very apparent that people are very interested in where their food is coming from and how it is prepared, so Zehrs stepped up their game to provide with many local products.
Lewis couldn’t think of any real cons regarding this switch. He felt certain the product quality would actually improve and that prices should relatively stay the same. I also asked about other meat products and if Zehrs intended to make a switch to Ontario poultry and pork as well. He was not 100% sure but said it was something they had talked about and he hoped the rest of the meats would follow suit.
This is very exciting news as far as I am concerned!!! I always felt very concerned about not knowing exactly where my beef was coming from. Fortunately when I am at home I know exactly where I am getting it – my back yard! However that is not an option for the majority of consumers. The Ontario Cattle Feeders Association is a group of like-minded farm families that share the same visions, challenges and, hopefully, future successes. The meat comes from 110 independent family run beef operations. That’s right family run, no corporate nonsense. These farms are located all across Ontario, with farm sizes ranging from 150 head of cattle to 5000. All of the farms participating are 2nd and 3rd generation family farms.
Another great thing about this Ontario beef is that the certifications that the beef must meet are very strict. All families must have completed an environmental farm plan, 80% of the animals diet must be corn, all medical records must be accountable and feed samples are to be provided upon request. Those are just a few of the certifications that I read, there are many more!
Jim Ginn, Reeve of Central Huron, and also a beef farmer informed me that, “Canada has some of the highest standards and stringent guidelines for chemical residues in food, whereas the imports from other countries may not always meet Canadian standards… local food ensures safe and high quality food for consumers. It also cuts down drastically on our ecological footprint and helps out our local economy enormously. All in all this is a wonderful change.”
Finally we can feel good again about eating meat! We can know where it came from, how the animal was fed, and how the animals were treated!