Will the province’s beef producers soon gain access to much-needed processing capacity at Toronto’s Ryding-Regency Meat Packers? While some uncertainty remains, industry representatives are optimistic.
Why it matters: Inadequate processing capacity has been cited as a major barrier to beef industry longevity in Ontario.
Ryding-Regency Meat Packers closed late in 2019 after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency revoked its processing licence due to ongoing food safety concerns. At the time, the agency cited the risk of injury and violations of the Safe Food for Canadians Act as reasons for the action.
Since then, the company has been making efforts to reacquire the licence. New ownership and a new name — Tru Harvest Meats — have been part of the process.
“Audit Inspection went very well last week at newly renovated Tru Harvest Meats plant (formerly Ryding Regency),” reads a July 8 Twitter post from Tony Chaffe, previous and current livestock procurement manager for the company.
“Paperwork is in the hands of CFIA headquarters and we are just waiting for our new establishment number and harvesting licence. Hope to be up and running soon.”
For Rob Lipsett, president and background director for Beef Farmers of Ontario, announcements trickling from the company to the wider public have been welcome news.
“BFO is very pleased to have received the report that the former Ryding-Regency plant had undergone a final inspection,” says Lipsett.
Because processing disruptions caused by COVID-19 have increased the focus on food availability and security, Lipsett believes there is room for increased optimism for Tru Harvest Meats.
“It provides me with a level of optimism that positive news about the licence application will be announced sooner rather than later,” he says.
“Ontario’s beef industry is well positioned to lead an economic recovery post COVID-19 if the proper supports, and supply chain security are provided. Access to ample processing capacity will be a key support to growth and prosperity for the industry moving forward.”