Galen Weston comments on farmer's markets [General]

2012 Feb 8
An off-the-cuff remark by Galen Weston at the Canadian Food Summit has enraged the farmers’ markets community and local food lovers.

“Farmers’ markets are great. . . ,” Weston said Tuesday during a speech to about 600 people at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, but added: “One day they’re going to kill some people though.”

“I’m just saying that to be dramatic though,” he quickly added....cont'd at

2012 Feb 8
This is just classic Trolling... an anti-social behaviour relatively common in internet forums. A person says something outlandish *specifically* to get a rise out of a group he (usually) dislikes. It's like when someone posts "Apple is for baristas and wannabe artists" to an iPhone forum, or when someone posts "Jar-Jar Binks is so much cooler than Chewbacca" in a Star Wars forum. ;-)

Far-right wing "entertainment" personalities, like Anne Coulter and even Canada's own Ezra Levant also use this technique. They will say absolutely ridiculous things and then giggle while the lefties writhe and sputter with indignation.

This kind of thing is best ignored especially when accompanied by the admission, "I'm just saying that to be dramatic."

2012 Feb 9
Fresh Foodie If I could give you more than one thumbs up I would...

This story had been circulating aroung the twitterverse yesterday mostly focussing on the first half of the statement "Farmers markets are great...One day they're going to kill some people though". Few people (in my timeline at least) added the second half "I'm just saying that to be dramatic though". Kinda sounds to me like Galen Weston is stirring things up.

In the meantime I plan on spending copious amounts of my spare time and money at the farmers markets this year. I am not expecting to see Galen Weston at any of them-;)

2012 Feb 9
I wonder how many people Loblaws ( helped kill with their 'non-farmers market' style foods.

The high salt/sodium and/or fat and/or sugar based President's Choice Foods.

Like this one .... aimed at kids. DEEP FRIED MAC-'n-CHEESE !! Yikes !!!

(It got a thumbs up from nutritionists because it does not contain trans fats or artificial flavours or colours and is a (good?) source of iron and calcium.)

2012 Feb 9
Funny how it says "uncooked". it's mac and cheese, deep fried... how is that uncooked? just a blanket statement to cover PC's butt in case someone gets sick. cook the hell out of it to make sure the food is completely dead, including the listeria and e coli that is there because your plant is dirty.

2012 Feb 9

Yes...but he's right.

Health and safety regulations and controls on farmers' markets are lacking and I'd actually be surprised if someone hasn't already died as a result of buying food contaminated with something from a farmer's market.

The context that Weston ignores is all the benefits farmers' markets provide the environment, community, farmers and customers! And these benefits surely outweigh the risks.

But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement at farmers' markets.

2012 Feb 9
Yep, there is room for improvement at farmers markets, AND grocery stores.

Both may, or may not kill people. But no matter how you slice it, we all gotta die some day, right? ;-)

And I think I barfed a little I my mouth when I saw the mac 'n cheese stuffed balls that Captain Caper posted. Don't get me wrong, I love homemade mac and cheese, and love things that are breaded or fried, but that product totally gave me the 'no feeling.' ;-)

2012 Feb 9
I can't count the number of times I've found displays full of rotting produce at the Westboro Superstore. Peppers (broken, bruised, squishy) and cauliflower (a whole display covered in black fuzzy spots!) are the worst offenders by far, but a lot of the fruit is hit-or-miss, too. And I would love to hear Mr. Weston's explanation for why I can't get Ontario / Quebec strawberries there in July, only the giant, flavourless ones imported year-round from the southern US! I hit my breaking point a while ago and fired off an email to their customer service department, but never got a response.

We've pretty much given up on the Superstore's produce. We still buy our milk and non-perishables there, but for produce I'd rather go to the Parkdale Market in summer or Farm Boy in the winter. The quality and freshness is infinitely better and the prices are comparable, sometimes cheaper.

2012 Feb 10
It comes to no surprise that Galen Weston is now getting slammed over the comment he made about farmers markets: I am providing the link to the yahoo news story because some of the comments are an interesting read.

2012 Feb 10
While I agree with Fresh Foodie's assessment, the problem is that a great number of people believe the shit that spews from Ezra Levant's mouth, as they will these comments from Weston.

I think we need a "Weston Leaks" website where people can post information about Weston's companies, in particular potential food safety leaks.

I used to almost like Weston until he said that.

2012 Feb 11
You can get sick from food you buy anywhere.

I have seen Loblaws put stickers over outdated items and sell them.
Also have seen AP/Metro scratch the dates off items that were refrigerated and sell them (I did report this though).

Also- some of the food at farmer's markets is not safely stored.
I do not feel comfortable buying any egg dishes that have been sitting unrefrigerated out in the sun all day.
-I have seen a few vendors do that with quiche.
I actually got sick from a quiche that was from a restaurant (green door) because it was not well stored or kept at the wrong afte that I am much more careful.

I guess you have to have to be very careful no matter where you buy food thesedays.

2012 Feb 16
I agree that you can get sick from food anywhere, but it also seems to me that some people are far more prone to food borne illnesses than others. I notice that some post far more often than others about getting sick from something they ate.

2012 Feb 16
I agree wholeheartedly with this last comment -- I know people who always seem to be sick from the food they ate. I understand that it happens and I've been ill before too, but not nearly with the frequency of others. I imagine that, in some cases, it might be an undiagnosed food sensitivity but if I was getting sick after eating on a regular basis then I'd be looking into that.

Alternatively, I wonder how many people get sick from their own poor hygene etc. and blame it on someone else's food. I mean, people eat in front of computers all the time but keyboards are pretty much the filthiest things on Earth. (Full disclosure: I'm guilty of eating at my computer all the time.)

2012 Feb 16
I’m going to cautiously weigh in here as a recent experience at a farmer’s market made me consider this issue in some depth. However, I’d like to first stress that I don’t support Weston’s comments; they’re flippant and unnecessarily antagonistic.

I was recently at a farmer’s market, and I noticed a vendor selling soup in 1L mason jars for an astronomical price. I immediately start crunching the numbers in my head and start thinking that this could be lucrative, provided the registration fee for the booth isn’t too much. As any home cook knows, almost any type of soup is a really, really cheap to make.

With this all in my mind, I started asking questions: Does this soup have to be produced in a commercial kitchen? Are the jars sealed or processed in any way? Have the jars been refrigerated today at all? Are there any rules that you have to follow? Does anyone check your process for best practices?

The answers were all met with a shrug and “No”. Now, understand that I am not at all a germaphobe or particularly fastidious - I keep my kitchen very clean before, during and after cooking, and I follow commonly accepted practices when prepping food. But I also regularly leave soup or stock out on the stovetop to cool overnight, dry cure my own meat, preserve all kinds of fruits and vegetables and regularly use raw eggs in my cooking. I know what I am doing and deem any risks taken as acceptable.

Even given all of that, I can see that there is the possibility of contamination when left completely to the skills and integrity of the person producing a product with no oversight whatsoever. Is anyone likely to get sick and die? Certainly not. It is however interesting to me that in a province where almost every aspect of the food supply chain is swamped in over-regulation, farmer’s market fly under the radar without any checks or balances.

Is the more ‘industrial’ system better from a safety perspective? Probably not, but we all know that there are many hoops to jump through that, to me at least, would identify a lot of potential problems before they can affect consumers. Nevertheless, despite all these rules we still have our scandals at regular intervals.

2012 Feb 16
Canned goods are another matter - I would personally NEVER buy the canned goods you see at farmers markets. That IMO is overstepping the bounds of a "farmers market" and should be regulated like any food production facility would be.

An awful lot of people do not know what current safe practices are for canning.

2012 Feb 16
PB&A - I'm inclined to think that the reverse is at least as true, if not more so. I think increasingly people get sick these days because of their obsession with unnecessary hygiene.

Of course, I'm not advocating bad kitchen practices or in any way, shape or form advocating or condoning businesses playing fast and loose with hygiene laws, but we now have entire generations whose food has for their entire life has been plastic wrapped, homogenised, pasteurised, disinfected, chemically treated and genetically developed. The slightest exposure to anything that might vaguely resemble an imperfection or blemish seems to bring them out in hives, because their immune systems haven't been exposed to much of anything and therefore haven't had the chance to develop the ability to handle or tolerate anything outside their hermetically sealed norm.

I firmly believe that this is behind the vast majority of food intolerances that seem so much more prevalent today than they ever were before. I don't want to sound like an old curmudgeon - I'm really not - but there seems to be an obsession with cleanliness that is counter-productive. Children should be allowed to go and eat worms, and to be horrible icky little creatures. It's how they avoid getting sick in later life.

Also, while I'm in full on rant mode, I find myself wanting to slap people upside the head sometimes. "Oh, I'm allergic to asparagus / broccoli / lamb / whatever". No you aren't. "I don't like" does not equate to "I'm allergic / intolerant to". Broccoli does not bring you out in a rash, make your tongue swell up or any of the wide range of other symptoms you claim it will. Grow up. I accept that some people do have an actual biological allergy to some chemical substances found in some foods, but it seems to have become a catch-all excuse as to why you won't eat half of the entire panoply of foodstuffs that we are lucky enough to have access to. At least be adult enough to admit that you thought it looked funny when you were a kid and since then you haven't dared touch it.

2012 Feb 16

I agree to a certain extent. I don't use hand sanitizer or throw out everything that I drop on the floor, because I mean, c'mon. I guess, raw chicken cross-contamination may have been a better example. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it's really hard to identify what exactly makes people ill but that some people always seem ill so either they're more susceptible, they have bad habits that negatively impact them, they have some underlying condition, or they ate something contaminated or something.

I just mean to say that people too often blame what they ate too quickly without accurately recognizing the large number of potential other causes.

2012 Feb 16
You go Johnny English !!!

I have to completely agree. I go crazy with all the hand sanitizer I see people using. I currently work at the Ottawa Hosptial and that is pretty much the ONLY place in this city where this should be used regularly. That and maybe old folks homes.

My kid takes violin lessons at a local music studio and there have to be a dozen hand sanitizer machines all over, with instructions in big letters that teachers and students must sanitize both before and after lesson! F-that! And they even have the nerve to put an Ottawa Hospital stick on one of them - something tells me that is not in fact condoned by the Ottawa Hospital.

2012 Feb 26
CFIA food recalls just searching my archives on "President's Choice"

Feb 29 2009 - President's Choice Muesli - Salmonella
April 1 2009 - President's Choice Nut Collection - Salmonella
June 30 2009 - numerous meat products - O157:H7 ecoli BACTERIA

Product / UPC
PC cab sirloin tip stk marinating sc / 21129700000
PC cab sirloin tip oven roast sc / 21131500000
PC cab strip loin grilling stk sc / 21130400000
PC cab strp loin prem oven rst sc / 21130500000
PC cab tenderloin grilling stk sc / 21866600000
PC cab tnderloin prem. oven rst sc / 21126700000
PC cab flank marinating steak sc / 21127500000
PC tnt top sirloin steak cp / 20663200000
PC tnt top sirloin beefeater steak / 21040700000
PC tnt top sirloin cap steak / 21040800000
PC tnt top sirloin steak / 21040900000
PC tnt top sirloin oven roast / 21041000000
PC tnt top sirloin steak / 20913700000
PC tnt top sirlion steak cp / 20296500000
PC tnt top sirloin roast / 20925300000
PC tnt top srln c/o beefeater / 20901800000
PC tnt top srln cap stk bnls / 20907900000
PC tnt top srln cap stk bnls / 21019200000
PC tnt top sirloin steak / 21019300000
PC tnt top sirlion steak cp / 20335200000
PC tnt top srln c/o beefeater / 21019100000
PC tnt top sirloin oven roast / 21019400000
PC cab beef ground xlean sc / 21129300000
PC cab beef ground lean sc / 28519200000

July 2nd 2009 - same recall as above, same or similar list of products (won't bother reposting a big list)
March 7 2010 - President’s Choice Honey Mustard flavourSouthwest Ranch Veggie Dip - Salmonella

Yup, that's just the way I'd bake it

June 23 2010 undeclared milk in PRESIDENT’S CHOICE® LOUISIANA HOT SAUCE


Jan 19 2011 - President's Choice Organics infant cereals - health hazard rancidity

How many of the tainted Maple Leaf products were bought at his stores?

2012 Feb 26
Now searching on "Loblaw" in addition to the above

August 29 2008




2012 Feb 26
Superstore, in addition to above


Reason for Recall: Health Hazard - salmonella
Product(s): jalapeno peppers

2012 Feb 26
Wow!! That's a lot of salmonella and ecoli!!! And the metal bits in the baked goods, well,,, wow. I really feel blessed that pretty well the only things I buy at the store are garbage bags and toilet paper, and they're not for eating, of course. ;-)

I was thinking about some of the posts above, regarding canned goods at the farmers markets. Interesting that the example of soup was used, because my husband and I have been thinking quite a bit about making and canning bone stock (made from our own veal, pork, chicken, etc) to sell at the market to fill in the gaps when other items we sell are in low supply.

But, we are not sure if it would be financially feasible as the cost of hydro to make it may end up running pretty high. The way we raise our animals can be costly enough, let alone if we are processing it further. Maybe that's why the soup Tracinho saw was so costly?

As well, even if we have made the stock safely, we wonder about how it will be handled by the consumer. Once it's left our table, we have little to no control over what they may do to it or with it that may be unsafe... but I guess I could say the same for anything a customer might buy from us. If you leave a frozen chicken in your hot car to thaw out, it may not turn out very good. ;-)

I've also long felt that while sellers or producers have a responsibility to provide safe/good/quality products, the consumer also has a certain amount of responsibility to ask questions. If the questions are answered to your satisfaction, great. If not, move on and shop elsewhere.

I get what zymurgist is saying about processing overstepping the bounds of the farmers market, but I've always thought of the farmers market to be an extension of the farm gate. It is not always practical to have all the customers travel to the farm, but more sensible to have the farmer travel to town once week to sell their wares.

There was a time when the government recognized this (the farmers market as an extension of the farm gate), and eggs, meat and milk were not regulated as strictly as they are now. Now, most small farms can't legally sell most of what they produce!! I'm not suggesting that regulations are all bad, but sometimes they hamper the choice of consumers, and the ability for farms to make a living.

I've been told by many farmers, and I believe this to be very true, that 'the cream rises to the top.' If a farm or business is selling safe/tasty/quality food, they will do well, but those that have half rate, poorly produced, unsafe, un-tasty food will not flourish and eventually fail. Hopefully not killing any people on their way down. ;-)

2012 Feb 26
organicgirl - I should say that I would buy canned goods but I would ask first about processing and if I was not happy with the answer I got, I'd definitely not buy. Personally if I were to sell canned goods like that I'd have a sheet on display with something written on it about the way it is processed. And I'd also give out a sheet to purchasers about proper handling. Though you are right that they do bear responsibility just as they do with store purchased goods - if the milk smells sour then dump it out :-)

2012 Mar 20
No shortage of President's Choice products in the big recall going on now for beef - but no farmers markets that I can see.

Who are you killing now, Galen Weston?

2012 Sep 18
Who is Galen Weston killing this week? Lots of Loblaw products involved in the big Cargill beef recall

Still don't see any farmers markets

2012 Sep 19
zymurgist, I like this so much I used it as a quote yesterday!

Of course, it's not really Galens fault that Cargill is having quality control issues. But your comment still made me chuckle!

2012 Sep 19
On the contrary - it is every bit his fault because he is the one making the decision to carry that product.

2012 Dec 15
Mr Weston is back in the news for endangering people's lives with his products

2012 Dec 15
Zymurgist - you understand that ecoli is on most meat products? and that as soon as it's cooked it's dead - the issue is almost always with ground beef because as the ecoli is on the outside of the meat when it's ground it goes throughout the beef, your local butcher will have the same issues.

and the products that are in question aren't Mr. Weston's he just owns a store that you are able to walk into and buy someone's products at.

2012 Dec 15
Maybe so 4brricarb, But taking the pi$$ out of Galen Weston is so much fun.

There is something about that guy that just rubs me the wrong way. Not only in his President Choice commercials but in general. And no, it's not jealousy ... I certainly would not trade places with him or want anything he has.

Anyone else kinda dislike this guy, as well ? Please chime in, so I do not feel alone or just downright wrong.

2012 Dec 15
He is completely lacking in sincerity.

2012 Dec 15
no doubt that Mr. Weston is fun to poke put yourself out there like he's gonna happen - i must say the cheese cake pops they make are pretty tasty tho.

2012 Dec 15
While there are lots of PC products I quite enjoy, I loathe the PC commercials featuring Mr. Weston. They are too contrived and make me squirm.

2016 Jul 30

quote :

"Two Canadian companies have reached a $2.5 million settlement with a Manitoba teen who is disabled for life because he consumed ground beef tainted with E. coli in July 2004.

Court documents say the boy was two-and-a-half years old when his mother fed him the meat, which she bought at Superstore on McPhillips Street in Winnipeg."

2017 Feb 9
Galen Weston is endangering babies now

2017 Feb 9
Organic food in a plastic pouch?!!!

Oct 10
Now Galen Weston is killing babies

Oct 11
And we wish you all the best in your ongoing struggle with tact and subtlety!

Mar 19
How many $14/hr cashiers do you figure Galen Weston will kill during the Covid 19 outbreak, while he and his precious shareholders rake in record profits?

Now that we all see who the real people are adding value to the economy, will it finally be time for economic justice for the survivors?

How much are our janitors worth now when cleanliness is paramount? Without them the spread would undoubtedly be far worse.

How much are the shelf stockers worth? And the cashiers? Without them we simply wouldn't be eating right now would we? Yet they literally risk their lives exposing themselves like this, while earning minimum wage or barely more.

My employer provided me and my coworkers with hazmat grade masks in case we feel more comfortable using them for the times we are still required to interact with coworkers.

I don's see masks of any sort on an of the grocery store works. It is probably bad for Mr Weston's bottom line.

Mar 19
Here is the mask my employer provided for my cushy office job even though I am able to work at home most of the time

How is Galen Weston protecting his front line staff?

Mar 19
Wow, we get your point zym, no need to post a pic of a dead guy.

Mar 20
As much as I despise Galen Westen and his ilk,
"How much are the shelf stockers worth? And the cashiers?" ....

It's up to the (free) labour market to determine. With a bottom price of minimum wage .. which is a political decision.

(Economic) facts don't care about feelings.

Paying a person based on what someone 'thinks they are worth' is called communism. And we all know how successful that is.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, capitalism is the worst economic system except for all the other forms.

Mar 20
If only the shelf stockers and cashiers would get together in some sort of group and demand better... If only those who benefit from this fracture in labour hadn't spent their vast resources demonizing such behaviour because that's cheaper than paying people and they need their ivory back scratcher collection!

Mar 20
Yes well, you know Winnie was also a racist.
But the free market.............

Mar 21
Yes I hear the people of Norway live in absolute misery with their terrible Socialism.

Mar 21
Thanks for resurrecting this Zym! Even in the midst of pulling together to get through a tough time we can count on you to tell us all who is Bad, who is To Blame, and who is Most Virtuous. It’s good to know this experience hasn’t changed you, but maybe share your wisdom with us after? Maybe?

I see people creating threads in this forum where the theme is “let’s help our neighbours”, “let’s stick together”, but you... You can’t even get one week into this without dredging up the meanest and most incendiary thing you can find and you start sharpening your guillotine. Not cool.

We get it, you're working in the midst of this and that is noble. That said, when the crisis has passed, that’s the time for the honest conversation about what went wrong, what went right and what do we do differently next time. Please stop.

Mar 21
Yes well, you know Winnie was also a racist.
But the free market.............

Mar 21
"This is no time for sociology"
- Stephen Harper

The problem is, it never does become time for it.