Customers won’t be finding Wildcat Jerky at the Moncton Market this weekend because of a provincial change in licensing requirements for food vendors and operators.
Vendor Will Steeves said he was told by public health inspectors the provincial government considers his jerky a high-risk product and he needs a Class 5 license to sell it.
To get that licence, Steeves needs a commercial-grade kitchen, which is something he said he can’t afford to build unless he’s still operating.
Expensive kitchen needed
He asked the province if he can continue to operate until the spring, at which time he would build the new $50,000 kitchen, but hasn’t heard back.
“All I’m asking for is just their assistance because the licensing was fairly new — just their assistance in guiding me through this process and allowing us to have some time with these changes that are new to us,” said Steeves.
Wildcat Jerky’s closure comes as the provincial Department of Health implements updated rules requiring food vendors to have specific licences that depend on the nature of their business. Class 5 is the strictest of three possible licences.
As part of the ongoing rollout, inspectors also closed another beef jerky vendor last weekend, The Smoke Shop. Another 19 vendors were found to be violating the new guidelines, but they’re allowed to continue operating and will have up until their next pre-determined inspection date to make the necessary changes.
Steeves said inspectors told him they would follow up with him Saturday to confirm he had relocated to a commercial-grade kitchen in order to get the Class 5 licence. He chose to close because they would have shut him down and/or confiscated his product.
Steeves said after nine years at the market, he didn’t have a single…