Thinking about it, one of the hardest things about being a mom (or a parent, for that matter) is the responsibility to make good food choices for my family. It’s my role to ensure that my boys grow up with a variety of healthy, nutrient-dense foods that are rich in flavour and offer a variety of tastes and textures. Because, I know that the favourable habits they form as children will dictate how they feed their own families in the future.
(What’s for dinner? Why not try this recipe for Grilled Pork Chops With Fresh Peach or Mango Salsa, courtesy of Ontario Pork. Prep time is only 10 minutes!)
But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also my role to ensure the food that we’re enjoying is produced and processed in a way that is economically, environmentally and socially responsible. Last month, Ontario Pork launched its inaugural Social Responsibility Report, becoming the first livestock commodity group in the province to commit to socially responsible practices achieved through education, greater dialogue and increased transparency.
So, what can we expect? Over the next three years, Ontario Pork will engage the entire sector and focus on six dimensions:
Farm Management. Ontario Pork will work with pork producers and processors to increase producer Canadian Quality Assurance/Animal Care Assessment (CQA/ACA) compliance, and encourage new producers to comply with the CQA/ACA programs.
Economic Performance. It’s no surprise that financial profitability is the primary purpose of all businesses. The Social Responsibility Report recommends monitoring the business environment and developing programs aimed at educating pork producers on different risk mitigation options.
Environmental Stewardship. Ontario pork producers are stewards of the land. A focus on the environment involves preserving ecosystems and resources, such as soil and water, and minimizing negative environmental impacts of their activities through the implementation of beneficial agricultural practices.
Animal Care and Food Safety. As parents, this is likely where we pay the most attention; we want to ensure the food we’re serving our family is safe and sourced in an ethical way. The Pig Code contains guidelines for the care and handling of pigs on Canadian farms throughout their lives.
Relationships with the Community. Good community relations enable a farm to contribute to the social acceptability of its activities and strengthen its presence in the community. To date, pork producers have donated more than $135,000 in money and product to the Ontario Association of Food Banks (OAFB).
Workers’ Well-Being. Providing competitive working conditions, maintaining fair labour relations, and ensuring a safe working environment are key factors to a farm’s success and the overall health and well-being of its workforce.
To view the full Social Responsibility Report, visit www.ontariopork.on.ca/Social-Responsibility.
How do farming procedures and practices impact your consumption habits and preferences? I find it reassuring when livestock commodities, such as Ontario Pork, take the initiative to proactively set benchmarks and monitor the industry. It gives me confidence in my food choices and perhaps most importantly, encourages me to buy more bacon.
Not that I needed a reason to buy more bacon.
This post is sponsored by Ontario Pork. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.