Butchers in a state of shock due to the failures of their slaughterhouse

Shaken by the revelations of duty Regarding the repeated breaches of health and animal welfare standards in the slaughterhouse’s B&B meats, butchers and breeders now fear for their reputations. The Ministry of Agriculture should have informed them of the faults that led to the filing of legal proceedings against the establishment, they argue.

“There is no place for cabochons in the industry,” says coldly Jean-Sébastien Gascon, director general of the Société des feedlots du Québec. The head of Partenaires Boeuf Québec, a Quebec-raised beef marketing program, recalls how “we work hard in the industry to establish consumer confidence.”

There is no place for cabochons in the industry

Mr. Gascon reacts strongly to the information contained in the hundreds of inspection reports from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ) obtained by the duty. These detail the repeated failures observed in 2022 and 2023 at the Marieville abattoir. In less than two years, the DPCP has filed twenty lawsuits against the company.

Jean-Sébastien Gascon now fears the damage that the repeated failures of a single establishment could cause to the sector. “In our industry, you have to be perfect 52 weeks a year. Take ground beef – you can’t afford a rough week in quality,” he says. Quality and respect for animals are the pillars of meat marketing, according to him.

“It’s absolutely necessary that people in the industry meet today’s standards. If they don’t respond or there’s no game plan to make the necessary fixes quickly, shut the site down. We don’t have the luxury of error,” he believes.

“We had to return many products”

Many local butchers stopped sourcing from the Marieville abattoir last year. This is the case of the Viandal de Verdun butcher shop, which was not satisfied with what was delivered to it. The same goes for Ghislain Lauzon, owner of Boucherie ô naturel in Bécancour. This cattle and sheep farmer, a former friend of Mr. Bouffard, questions MAPAQ’s inaction in the matter.

“If there is something wrong with the meat, we should know,” said Christos Christopoulos, CEO of Aliments Arès. This Montreal wholesaler, which distributes meat and seafood to thousands of restaurants, butchers and grocery stores across the province, does business with B & B meats.

Mr. Christopoulos wanted to point out that the products offered by his company are of excellent quality. “With this company, a couple of months ago, we had problems with the products. We had to return many products because they were not up to our standards. They were not products we could sell”, he confides.

The recent departure of several local butchers has pushed B&B Meats to step up its efforts with Montreal halal butchers. “For us, B&B meats is a very new and very small supplier,” recalls Moudia Amine of the Al-Khair butcher chain. “We rarely asked them, and when we did, it was in very small quantities. »

Mme Amine regrets not having been informed by MAPAQ. “For us, if we have a notice from the MAPAQ, don’t worry about it being known,” he said, recalling that retail inspections are listed and quickly accessible to the public. “It should be the same for larger facilities. »

Upon learning of the lawsuits against B&B Meats, Porcherie Ardennes and Porcmeilleur, both of which had their animals slaughtered at the Marieville facility, cut ties with the slaughterhouse. Reputation is priceless, even if slaughtering your animals further away will incur additional transport costs, they argue.

“A restaurant has a breach and it becomes public. It’s in the newspaper. Why can’t we know about a slaughterhouse, the one that supplies (meat) to many businesses? » asks Pascal Viens, co-owner of Porcmeilleur. The customers of these facilities, who do not have access to what is done inside an establishment, should be able to be informed of the repeated violations observed, even if they do not necessarily entail fines, he believes.

MAPAQ refused to grant an interview to duty, indicating not to comment out specific files. By e-mail, the ministry also wanted to reassure by writing that “the majority of slaughter or processing establishments comply with the regulatory framework”.

He did not say whether a compliance plan was needed at Viandes B & B in recent months. “Several measures can be put in place to improve the compliance of a slaughterhouse or processing plant,” a ministry spokesman replied. which added that this “intervenes with the operator” when the health and safety of consumers are at risk.

And why doesn’t MAPAQ inform customers of slaughterhouses that have several violations? “In this type of situation, which sometimes involves legal proceedings, certain information must be protected to guarantee the proper functioning of these”, the ministry replied, and specified that it would also publish “transparently and proactively the relative convictions to the safety of food establishments. ”, when they are returned.

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