Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 12, 2000
Out of our kitchens, CWL tells gov't
By GORDON LEGGE
Special to the WCR
Alberta's Catholic women want the government to stay out of the kitchens of the province.
Edmonton Catholic Women's League president Mary Lou Veeken urged CWL members to express their concerns about discussions to restrict the production and sale of home-made foods at public functions.
Putting a motion to the provincial convention, Veeken said the restrictions could affect farmers' markets, bake sales, potluck dinners and other community events.
"This affects all of us whether we sell or provide refreshments," she said. "We all need to act on this."
But a provincial government spokesman said the motion is an over-reaction to inaccurate news reports.
"They are making a very big mountain out of a very small hill," David Bray, assistant director of communications for Alberta Health and Wellness, said in an interview following the convention.
"There is no desire to interfere with Church events," Bray said, citing events like bake sales and church socials.
At the convention, Veeken said she wanted to know what research has revealed a problem with homemade meals at public functions.
"We're simply telling the government to stay out of our kitchens," said provincial CWL president Lucille Partington. "You have to tell them fairly strongly. They like to go into every room in our house."
While some CWL speakers said the province was being overzealous in its vigilance and catering to commercial restaurant operations, others said some guidelines are necessary to ensure the public is not the victim of food poisoning. The motion was passed by an overwhelming majority.
Alberta Health spokesman Bray said a series of food preparation consultations involving federal, provincial and municipal officials began in January.
A number of foods, like quiche, cheesecake and perogies, which are commonly sold at public events, could be potentially hazardous with regards to food-borne illnesses, he said. So far, there hasn't been a problem in Alberta. But there has been elsewhere in Canada.
Officials are trying to find a balance between ensuring public health and integrity of the events at which they are sold.
"There are no new regulations at the moment," Bray said. "We want to ensure that certain products sold at certain venues meet acceptable health standards."