According to a blog post by Jim Romahn (http://agri007.blogspot.com/2013/06/court-documents-detail-egg-deficiencies.html), Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reports demonstrate that the statements made by Norman Bourdeau about cracks being packed into retail Grade A egg cartons, are true. Attempts to keep this evidence hidden have been going on for years and now the ‘yolk’ is on L. H. Gray/Gray Egg Farms. The consequences for this are yet to be determined, but let’s hope there are some consequences. Especially since Gray, through his legal representative, has been protesting and denying this practice vehemently since this whole saga began.
Gray isn’t the only party who said the equivalent of “but I didn’t inhale”. Burnbrae Eggs and the Egg Farmers of Ontario also took that position. So is Mr. Bourdeau correct about them too? I had hoped that Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission would have at least checked into EFO as they are the supervising body for EFO. Literally after years of repeated requests, Farm Products is finally (and probably reluctantly) ‘investigating’ EFO – but it’s just their transparency that is being questioned. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been hollering about EFO’s lack of transparency for years so I’m thankful that Farm Products is finally doing something – or at least appear to be doing something. But this goes beyond transparency and that should be evident to all parties involved – egg producers, graders, Farm Products, CFIA and the Ministry of Agriculture. If only the majority of consumers understood the egg industry and supply management, this would have been investigated long ago.
It appears that Mr. Bourdeau is not Chicken Little stating that the sky is falling. The question is how many foxes are there in this tale?
Jim Romahn thinks Harry Pelissero and the Egg Farmers of Ontario are in a hurry to start a new process for quota sales and purchases (April 23, 2013 post – http://agri007.blogspot.ca). Seems Harry and the Board is in a hurry to spend the egg producer’s money too. Must be burning a hole in their pocket or there’s an awful lot of women on that Board? This time it is $1 million towards clinical drug trials for an antidepressant. Technically the expenditure doesn’t even fall into the EFO mandate or mission since the trials are slated to use fertilized eggs – which aren’t a part of EFO’s oversight.
I would bet that the decision to fund these trials didn’t even warrant much of an explanation to the producers. My guess is that the producers were merely told that this is what’s happening. Got questions about it? Too bad. Did anyone ask about liability? Sure hope EFO can’t be associated with future lawsuits from the use of this antidepressant, if and/or when it’s approved for use. But did anyone even ask? Doubt it. Check out a recent Maclean’s article if you think it can’t happen. (http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/04/20/theres-a-pill-for-that/). How about getting an outside, independent opinion about the trials? Was that considered? Who would know, since minutes aren’t available?
And where did this $1 million dollars come from? It came from the pockets of the producers. How’d that feel producers? Does the phrase ‘lay there and love it’ mean anything to you? Maybe the egg producers are all wealthy enough that $1 million is just a drop in the bucket for them?
Is the Farm Products Commission watching this unfold? Is this what EFO was set up to do? I don’t think so.
As a former EFO egg producer, I constantly asked my Board of Director to improve the transparency of the management of EFO. When I became dissatisfied with the absence of improvements, I complained to the overseeing government body of EFO, the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, to take action to force EFO to become more transparent. And let’s be clear, I wasn’t asking for videotaped meetings being shown on YouTube. I wasn’t asking to view the complete accounting ledgers of EFO’s operations. I was asking for minutes of meetings! I was asking for accountability regarding how EFO was spending the money that I provided for them! Quite simply, I was asking for honesty. I guess that’s too much to ask from EFO and it appears that Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission has difficulty being honest as well after having read Jim Romahn’s August 20, 2012 blog posting about their lack of transparency (http://agri007.blogspot.ca/2012/08/kamenz-accused-of-misleading-egg-lawyer.html).
Over the weekend, I was told about a form that all EFO Board of Directors are required to sign when they become a Director. The form is in place so that the Directors agree not to talk or discuss with anyone, even egg producers, about policy, procedures or business activities of EFO. Well, holy shit! Why does EFO even have a Board of Directors? Just let Mr. Pelissero run EFO and get rid of the façade of having a producer-run Board. Quit having the meetings and paying all the Directors to go to them! Those honorariums are going to be needed to fund the legal defense anyway. The Directors should be ashamed of themselves if they agree to sign this form and accept the terms included in the form. And the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission appears to be in EFO’s back pocket. Taxpayer dollars wasted again! The head of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission, Geri Kamenz should recognize that the tail is wagging the dog. Maybe that’s how it worked at Mr. Kamenz previous job, Ontario Federation of Agriculture? I guess farmers are accustomed to having their taxpayer dollars wasted.