As It Happens

'Grin and bear it': How this Newfoundlander is dealing with the end of Potted Meat

The spreadable meat in a can hasn't been on the shelves for a while now, and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are starting to notice.
James Murphy only has one can of Potted Meat left in his cupboard. (Submitted by James Murphy)
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A popular food product has been discontinued in Newfoundland and Labrador, and it has locals like James Murphy in a bit of a conundrum. 

It's called Potted Meat, and Maple Leaf Foods has stopped producing the household staple. 

Murphy from Bay Roberts, N.L., spoke with As It Happens guest host Jim Brown about how people in the province are handling the news. Here is part of their conversation.  

For listeners who haven't had the pleasure, what exactly is Potted Meat?

Basically, it's a meat spread, and we don't know exactly what the meat consists of, but we love it.

And why do you think it's such a loved food in Newfoundland?

I don't know across Canada, but it's been around in Newfoundland as long as I can remember. I remember eating it as a child for lunch for sandwiches and stuff. I've always had it. I lived in Calgary for 13 years and I'd have my parents send me out some because we couldn't get it out there.

So, traditionally, how would you go about eating your Potted Meat? Would you just spread it on some bread?

Well, on some bread or mixed up with some mayo and just dip with some crackers or just the product itself.

CBC's St. John's Morning Show listeners call in to report the end of Potted Meat 0:19
 

And now, of all things, it's not available in Newfoundland.

No, no. I discovered it about two months ago. Maple Leaf didn't put out any kind of press release or anything saying that it was going to be discontinued, but I went to my local supermarket and the manager on staff that day said, "No, it's a discontinued product." I said, "What? That can't be true!"

'Basically it's a meat spread, and we don't know exactly what the meat consists of.' - James Murphy, Potted Meat fan

Now this isn't the first time that Newfoundlanders have been exchanging stories about the potential loss of a favourite food. Because recently there was a big Vienna sausage scare wasn't there?

Yeah, yeah there was a rumour last week there ... about the bologna being discontinued.  And, yeah, that kind of put a little scare in everybody.

What's going on here, James? This can't be a coincidence. Potted Meat, Vienna sausages, big stick bologna, mustard pickles. There's got to be more to it than coincidence.   

I don't know if there's more to it, but yeah, we love to eat stuff that's not healthy for us.

Why do you think that is? Why are Newfoundlanders so passionate about pre-packaged foods?

I really don't know. But you know bologna in particular, if you're a person that likes to go hunting or a guy that likes to go in and cut his wood and burn it in his wood stove, you can rest assured that this guy's got some bologna taken in the woods with him for a fry-up.

So how are you going to replace Potted Meat in your diet now?

I don't know. We'll just have to grin and bear it and we'll have to move onto the next unhealthy snack choice.

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