Defining what local food is in a country as large and diverse as Canada is going to be challenge for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, say some P.E.I. chefs.
The agency has long had a rule which says the local label can only be used on menus and items that originated within 50 kilometres of where they're sold, or no more than one community over. Amid complaints that that rule is too restrictive, the CFIA is reviewing its definition. While that review is underway, CFIA has established interim rules. They define local as anything produced within the province or 50 kilometres outside of the province.
Javier Alarco, executive chef at the Delta Prince Edward, told CBC News that definition makes sense on P.E.I., but not necessarily in some other provinces.
"Ontario or Quebec being so big, that local is literally almost one third of the country away," said Alarco.
"I think stick to naming the product, from where it's coming from, and then everyone should know exactly where it's coming from."
Several business owners CBC News spoke to said they didn't even know there were regulations around using the word local.
A co-op grocery store in British Columbia is fighting against the expanded definition, calling it a sell out to large grocery chains.
CFIA says it will review the definition "in the coming weeks."
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