Which Came First – The Health Inspector or the Idiot?

A friend sent me this link to an article on the CBC website about a farmer/B&B owner in Prince Edward Island who is no longer allowed to serve eggs from his farm to guests at his B&B.

Paul Offer has been told that, as a food service operation, his B&B must serve federally-inspected eggs. As a small organic farmer, he’s allowed to sell his (organic, free-range) eggs to the public at the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market, but can’t serve them to guests in his own home. Rather than adhere to the law, Offer and his wife plan to shut down the B&B aspect of their business.

Holy crap, does this ever hurt my head. Supposedly this is a federal law, but Offer has been eating and serving eggs from his farm for decades.

And why is it okay for him to sell the eggs to the public via a farmers’ market? You would think it would actually be the opposite situation, as it is here in Ontario, where small farmers can sell eggs “at the gate”, but to sell them to the public, the eggs must be inspected.

I’m not really familiar with the provincial laws regarding quotas in PEI, but here in Ontario, the small-scale egg farmer is kind of screwed – they cannot sell their eggs to the public unless they’re inspected, but in order to have them inspected they must meet quota (and pay a lot for those quotas) which require them to raise many more birds than they’re comfortable with.

This seems like another case of the government out to get the little guy. Part of the charm of Offer’s B&B is the fact that guests can see where their food comes from, and experience how fresh it is.

Why the crackdown now? There was a case in the news recently in Toronto where a number of Chinese restaurants were found to be serving uninspected eggs (many of which were cracked, covered in feces or dirty), from a somewhat sketchy source, provoking allegations of an underground illegal egg market.

My guess is that the feds want to look like they’re actually doing something about this. But there’s a difference between an organic egg farmer serving eggs to guests in his home, and some kind of urban wholesale black market.

Image: CBC