Do you enjoy eating food? If so, how safe do you think your food is? How safe do you want your food to be?
As we head into another growing season, we will have many opportunities to purchase locally grown food products. We all realize the importance of buying quality food for ourselves and our family, as well as the economic value of supporting our local producers.
Knowing where our food comes from and how our food is grown are very important purchasing factors. All of us want to be sure the foods we eat are safe and nutritious.
Here in Chatham-Kent, we have some of the best producers in the world in terms of knowledge, efficiency, caring for their land, and also caring for the foods they grow and the animals they raise.
Most countries around the world have regulations and inspections in regards to food. But these standards are not the same. Canada has one of the most stringent food quality and safety standards in the world. However, there are other issues you need to be aware of.
Crop protection products are used to control weeds, insects, diseases, etc. Some consumers would rather not have any commercial crop protection products on the foods they buy, so they purchase certified organic products. We have a number of organic producers in our area to meet this consumer demand.
The rest of our producers mainly use commercial crop protection products. The actual product and the amounts used are regulated by Canadian government agencies. However, the Canadian government does not have jurisdiction on the types and amounts of crop protection products used in other countries, including the U.S., Mexico, Chile, China, India, and other countries of the world we import food from.
So what does this mean to you as a consumer? Well, the grapes you buy that are grown in Chile, or the strawberries from California, or the jar of pickles from India, may be sprayed with crop protection products that are banned for use by our Canadian government. The fact is that farmers in other countries are able to use crop protection products that our own farmers are not allowed to use. So you have absolutely no idea what chemicals are being sprayed on the foods being imported into our country and into your homes.
Here in Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) monitors and tests the foods our farmers produce, the food products made in Canada, and the foods imported into Canada. The inspections and testing for imported food products is determined by a number of factors, including the amount of that food we eat as Canadians, trends on eating habits, and other areas. One of the CFIA’s goals is to ensure Canadians have safe and healthy foods.
But we also need to realize the CFIA has only so many food inspectors. The vast majority of food imported into Canada is simply not tested. It just can’t be, as there is too much imported food for the CFIA to test. Saying that, they do test many foods and they do monitor parts of the world where they know there could be issues related to food safety.
As a consumer, you need to realize this. You need to be more aware of the foods you eat, including fresh, canned, and frozen, and where these foods come from by reading and understanding the food labels. And just so you know, I have told my family not to buy any foods made in China, which includes fish. I have seen what gets applied to fields and I have seen what gets fed to the fish. You would definitely not want to be eating those products. So read the labels on the food you buy.
All of this is another reason to buy locally grown food products, because you will be buying fresh, nutritious, and safe foods.
Think about this – Trusting God completely means having faith that he knows what is best for your life.
Just some food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community’s agricultural website: www.wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’