Restaurateurs benefit from ‘house-made’ changes

BRITISH Columbians are now able to enjoy small-batch dairy products, such as “house-made” yogurt and ice cream, in more restaurants.

A change in regulation makes it easier for small businesses to make and serve these products.

“B.C. restaurant owners told us this change would help promote the use of local foods in their kitchens and make it easier for them to run their businesses, and we listened,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, on Thursday. “B.C. chefs are amazing when it comes to using local ingredients, and I look forward to seeing more items on restaurant menus inspired by seasonal harvests, as well as more British Columbians enjoying them.”

Moving forward, licensed restaurants can create and serve dairy products with unique flavours or follow traditional international recipes in their kitchens and add local ingredients for a distinct dining experience. Restaurants will be allowed to serve them only to customers for direct consumption and must use milk and cream pasteurized at a licensed dairy plant.

Previously, restaurants that wanted to make and serve their own ice cream and yogurt required a dairy plant licence. This added unnecessary paperwork and expense to their businesses without additional food safety benefits for consumers.

“While this change might seem small, its valuable because it reduces another piece of red tape for local restaurateurs and small business owners,” said Ian Tostenson, President and CEO, BC Restaurant and Food Services Association. “One of the reasons people enjoy a meal in a restaurant is that special feeling of eating something fresh and unique like a house-made dessert, and this change feeds that satisfaction by replacing red tape with logic – and a bowl of delicious artisan ice cream or yogurt!”

This is another step toward supporting B.C. businesses to grow, encouraging the use of B.C. products in restaurants, and supporting B.C. farmers and food producers, said the Province.

Quick Facts:

* An order-in-council (OIC) brought into force amendments to the Milk Industry Act passed by the legislature in 2018 and the new Dairy Plant Exception Regulation.

* These amendments to the Milk Industry Act update the 40-year-old definition of “dairy plant” and enable exceptions to the definition of “dairy plant” to be articulated through regulation.

* This OIC brings British Columbia in line with other jurisdictions (Ontario, Quebec and Alberta) that already allow restaurants to make their own dairy products for immediate consumption.

* The BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, Restaurants Canada and the BC Dairy Council were consulted on the changes in 2018 and 2019.