Sunday, June 14, 2009

Toutes mes félicitaions à Mme Lucie Cadieux!!!!

It's official: North America's first ever IGP(Protected Geographical Indication) has been granted to beautiful Charlevoix's lambs.

Ms Cadieux's relentless efforts over ten years has paid off, and her lambs are now covered by a strict labelling system that will guarantee consumers on the origin of the lamb they eat.

IGP, AOC, DOP are three letter labels often found on European products. These labels indicate regional origins, but they also imply that strict protocols are followed in the production of said goods. One more label to confuse consumers, and more headaches for farmers? Well, not really. These labels guarantee that the Parmigiano Reggiano (DOP) you pay 27$-37$/kg for is not substituted with Pada Grano or some random 'parmesan'. It means that the bottle of Meursault you shell out 30$-65$ for really comes from a specific territory within Burgundy. It also means that the farmer, cheesemaker, or vigneron receives recognition for their work and efforts.

While IGPs and AOCs do not necessarily indicate a small production, these labels put artisans on the same footing as large producers: both must follow strictly regulated steps, and all must keep detailed accounts of every single process during production, from the use of pesticides on crops to feed and antibiotics for cattle. Since all producers must follow the same steps, you the consumer are better able to judge their worth. For example, the AOC label for Comté cheese covers the entire Franche-Comté region (16 202 km²/6 256 sq mi), yet each village (and even each farmer) produces a cheese that will differ in flavour from the next.

Hopefully, Ms Cadieux's efforts will set a precedent in North America, and more regions will seek to protect their special produce. It's time farmers get the recognition they deserve for feeding us!

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