Sunday, May 19, 2013

Egg inquiry to be narrow

While the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission is investigating the Egg Farmers of Ontario marketing board, it has decided the inquiry won’t delve into the basic issues raised by the two parties who requested the inquiry.

Svante Lind of Best Choice Eggs and Verified Eggs and Norman Bourdeau, former information-technology officer for L.H. Gray and Son Ltd., both put egg grading at the heart of their requests for an inquiry.

They allege that Gray and Burnbrae Farms Ltd., which buy about 90 per cent of the eggs marketing board members produce, cheated on grading to include eggs that are cracked and/or dirty and do not meet Grade A standards.

That, they charge, inflates the price the public pays for eggs and the revenues of the marketing board which is financed by levies on only Grade A eggs.

But the commission inquiry will not investigate the grading of eggs.

It has fluffed that off on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and food-safety officials in the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Food safety is an issue if cracked eggs, washed in manure-polluted water, are then sold to an unsuspecting public that includes some who eat raw eggs.

And the inquiry will not be conducted by the commissioners, who are appointed to oversee marketing boards, nor will it be public. It will be conducted by some yet-to-be-named person.

The inquiry will be narrowly focused on the administration and governance of the Egg Farmers of Ontario marketing board.

The fix is in, folks. This inquiry will be a waste of time and money because the commission, the egg board, Burnbrae Farms Ltd. and L.H. Gray and Sons Ltd. don’t want it to dig up and display any wrongdoing.