A Message from our Will, Purchasing Team Manager
We take sourcing very seriously at Fresh City. The products we choose to list are carefully deliberated and debated by our purchasing team. We also value transparency with you, our customers, and want you to be able to make an informed purchasing decision when you shop with us.
I spent the better part of last week reaching out to our dairy partners in response to the recent news articles highlighting the presence of palm and palm by-products in dairy cattle feed. In the conventional world, palmitic acid is a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) approved supplement to add to cattle feed, which normally consists of grasses and grains, to provide supplemental fat and energy to the cow.
Organic Dairy Suppliers
The dairy farmers & producers we have partnered with abide by a number of regulations, namely the Canadian Organic Regime, and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario Interim Grassfed Protocol. The Canadian Organic Regime's list of approved feed, feed additives and supplements lists, "Energy Feeds," which palm and palm by-products would fall under. I spoke with the Technical Expert of Inputs & Crop Production at EcoCert, and in his article published on the OCO, he states that there is currently no approved certified organic palm or palm by-product feed supplement in circulation in Canada. All of our certified organic partners have also confirmed that they do not use palm or palm by-products in their cattle feed. The Interim Grassfed Protocol outright prohibits the use of oils, and palm by-product in cattle feed. Our partners who meet Organic regulations are Organic Meadow, Harmony Organic, L'Ancetre, Maison Riviera (organic line), M-C Dairy and Stirling Organic. Those that meet the Grassfed protocol are Thornloe, Rolling Meadow, and Emerald Grasslands.
Small & Local Dairy Suppliers
Sheldon Creek is a smaller local producer. They are not certified organic and they do not bear the Grassfed stamp. But due to their smaller size, and single-herd, have full insight into what their cattle eat, because they're the ones who feed them! They have ensured us that they do not feed their cattle any palm or palm by-products.
Maison Riviera is a Quebec-based small dairy producer, and they have ensured us that their goat milk products do not contain palm or palm by-products, however their cow's milk products that do not bear the Certified Organic stamp do use conventional milk.
Kiwi Pure is a New Zealand-based dairy producer, and much like our Firstlight Wagyu beef program, New Zealand cattle pretty much have the best lives. They have access to pasture 365 days of the year and are fed solely on fresh grass - lucky cows!
House-made Prepared Meals & Baked Goods
Lastly, our house-made products from our wonderful team at Mabel's Bakery that contain butter, do currentlly use conventional butter. Over the next several weeks, we will be moving to organic butter in Mabel's entrees, sides and sandwiches.
At this time, our pastries (including the pastry used for our entrees, like Chicken Pot Pie) and baked goods will continue to use conventional butter. This is something we have wrestled with as a company and is an ongoing conversation. The main reason we continue to source butter from conventional producers like Lactantia, Natrel, and Gay Lea is volume and cost. Many of the specialty suppliers I mentioned above are not producing Organic or Grassfed dairy at a volume that can support a bakery's demand. They are also, by the nature of their certification, more expensive than their conventional counterpart. Were we to switch to organic butter in all of our Mabel's house-made items, we would have to increase the prices on those products - something we don't take lightly as we want to keep good food accessible to all. We will continue to have these tough conversations and always strive to make the best decision possible.
Thank you very much for your continued support of Fresh City, and thank you for taking the time to read through this.