A new report from the watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting says the government’s apple farm in Jasper, Alberta is far from clean.
It was recently revealed that a former owner and his family have been hiding a large amount of fruit and vegetables from inspectors since 2013.
“This apple farm is just a perfect example of the problem with apple growers in Alberta, as they continue to abuse the regulatory system to hide their illicit activities,” said Alex Neve, executive director of Fairness And Accuracy in Media.
“If you are an apple farmer, this is not an isolated case, it’s a common practice across the country.”
The group says the apples that are grown at the farm are “not safe for human consumption.”
“We have never seen this many apple trees in one location and this many apples on one property,” said Neve.
The Fairness & Accuracy in Journalism report says it is investigating allegations of apples being planted in “indiscriminate” ways and that “fraudulent” practices have been committed.
“These farms are also not safe for the public, which is why we are calling on the provincial government to immediately stop these abuses and take urgent steps to secure the safety of our food supply,” said Julie Naylor, co-founder of Fair-and-Clean, which has been investigating this issue since 2016.
The farm was sold to a local family in June 2017 for $12,000.
“A lot of the apples on the property have been taken from their original source and they have no way of identifying the source,” said the family’s lawyer, Michael Pyle.
“They’ve been hiding apples in an area where the apples are not safe.”
The family had hoped to sell the farm, but are now considering a lawsuit against the company who owns the property, according to the report.
“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered about what has happened and who is responsible for this,” said Naylor.
We’re not sure if this is an isolated incident or if the farmers have been operating in this manner for years.”