Enjoying Manitoba’s Bounty – but no Raw Milk


Sometimes there are perks to being a food blogger, even though I don’t have a large audience (yet?). I received a personal invitation to the Manitoba Food Producers’ Association‘s Christmas reception. The MFPA represents many of Manitoba’s local food producers, and as an avowed locavore and champion of local groceries, of course I was pleased to attend.

Aside from the delicious, locally-made food I was bound to find there (and which did not disappoint), I was particularly interested in speaking with a few people. I was glad to find the Buy Manitoba representatives at their station: Megan and Gemma are lovely ladies who were happy to explain things to me. There have been some rumblings among the Manitoba Food Bloggers and others about the generous definition of local that Buy Manitoba uses – apparently it extends to soft drinks bottled in the province by multinational companies, and to Safeway eggs which might come from any of four provinces in a given carton. I am hopeful that somebody from Buy Manitoba will respond and tell us how Coke is a local producer.

I have to say, though, that pretty much everything I saw at the Caboto Centre that night was definitely locally made. Cakes from Gunn’s and Jeanne’s, delightful northern pike cooked on the spot, Bothwell cheeses, locally made samosas and sausages. I even found Manitoba birch syrup, which I can’t wait to get and try.

I somehow missed Constance Popp‘s chocolates, which makes me very sad. All I can think of is that she must have got there after I left, which was pretty early as I had to go see my sons sing and dance (ah, the things we do for love. They were wonderful, though).

I had some very interesting conversations with the representatives of Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Intiatives – in particular, their Food Safety people. I asked them what they thought about the illegality of raw milk in this province, and I got a remarkable range of responses (all off the record, I should add). One person told me she was completely against legalising raw milk, and that in her opinion people shouldn’t be able to buy raw meat, either. Another representative referred me to the movie “Forks Over Knives“, which espouses a vegan diet. A third was more supportive of the availability of raw milk to adults, but was understandably concerned about the dangers of trying to introduce it into a mass market. We agreed that maybe farm gates sales would be safest, as well as some serious labelling and education. Both of the latter two mentioned (and promptly emailed to me the next day as promised) some reports that have recently surfaced in Indiana – a FAQ sheet from Purdue University, and a report prepared by the Indiana Board of Animal Health for Indiana legislators. While both of them express trepidation about possible health issues, it is clear that the debate is far from over.

What do you think, should Coke that is bottled in this province be considered locally made? And should we be able to buy raw milk at the farm gate, if it is accompanied by a fact sheet on how to use it safely? Or should we ban raw meat, too?

Let me know what you think!

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8 Responses to “Enjoying Manitoba’s Bounty – but no Raw Milk”

  1. If you know who then you know who :) Says:

    Personally, I think that we should be able to buy raw milk at the farm gate.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Oh my gosh, banning raw meat is ridiculous!!! It is taking away our freedom to choose how we want to prepare it of course. But also another responsibility of making sure that we and our children know all about WHY we must prepare and cook things in a certain way. The things we teach about food safety will all be taken away! What next…..? Cooked eggs too?
    As for milk sold at the gate, I am also in agreement, it is another issue of freedom of choice, BUT some farmers will take advantage of this and this is where things will all go wrong unless we are a member of an official government group?? Blah blah blah. I would love to sell Sheep milk, yoghurt and cheese, and this would be great for me as I would then not have the legality with the processing at a factory and I could do it at home, which then means I cut all the transport cost. Let’s see what happens.

  3. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    I don’t think she was entirely serious ;-). But as far as CAFO meat is concerned, it is certainly banned from my house!

    Thanks so much for your responses. Yes, inspection would be an issue, wouldn’t it?

  4. Aagaard Farms Says:

    I think it comes to a matter of free choice! Of course, I’m biased: I have goats and drink raw milk regularly and it is lovely! I also believe it contains more of the ‘good stuff’ without the heat pasturization. Know your farmer, and buyer beware and all that….

  5. drtaher Says:

    It would depend on where you are located … raw milk in developing countries is a big no-no. Goat’s milk is also noted for reduced levels of Folic acid, so it is advisable to get that folate from green leafy vegetables.

  6. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Thanks for the response, Dr. Taher! I understand your concern about refrigeration – but how about raw milk that is used almost immediately?

    I myself have not drunk liquid milk since 1987 – I don’t know if I would do better with raw milk, as Chris Kesser does. I would love to have it to use in cheesemaking, however.

    Here is an interesting link:

    http://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-is-raw-milk-worth-the-risk

  7. Gemma Jean Says:

    Coke products fall under the category of a Manitoba Made Food – Any food product or beverage processed and packaged entirely in Manitoba. When the main ingredients are available in Manitoba in sufficient quantities they must be used.

    In Manitoba we have a Coke and Pepsi bottling plant – they’re producing their product here in Manitoba and they’re products that are made here are marked with the Buy Manitoba tag you see in Safeway.

    While they are a multinational company, the Buy Manitoba program is seeking to help consumers identify food products that are made here in Manitoba, and Coke and Pepsi products fall into that category.

    You can check out an article we posted that better explains our qualifying rules and the reasoning behind them here http://www.buymanitobafoods.ca/920/

    Gemma Manangan
    PR/Communications Officer
    Buy Manitoba/MFPA

  8. Gemma Jean Says:

    I can confirm that Safeway’s private label eggs under the Lucerne brand, are all sourced from Manitoba egg farms.

    The only Safeway eggs that aren’t from Manitoba are the Safeway Organics. We will double check and ensure that these eggs are not labeled with the Buy Manitoba tags in store.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions about the eggs. The representative I spoke with was very helpful!

    Gemma Manangan
    PR/Communications Officer
    Buy Manitoba/MFPA

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