Currently, any food sold within 50 kilometres of where it's produced is considered local. But the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is about to expand that to any food grown within that particular province or 50 kilometres from the province.
“It does completely undermine what we feel is local because what we feel is local is to support local farmers and understand who is producing your food,” said Joe Karthein, a manager at the Kootenay Co-op.
The Co-op’s Jocelyn Carver calls the changes ridiculous.
“We label right on the shelf tag, ‘This is a local product’ so as our shoppers and members are shopping they can see what is local is and isn't,” she said.
“To call something local just because it is within a province as huge as B.C. is misleading the consumer and it undermines the local suppliers who work hard to deliver products to their neighbourhoods and communities.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency calls the new approach a modernizing of its labelling and says it's not mandatory.
Kootenay Co-op members, however, say the move is a sell-out to large grocery chains that use the term 'local' purely for marketing.