VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – How concerned are you about the quality of your meat?

At least one local, independent butcher is reporting a bump in business because of the ever-expanding beef recall.

The E. coli scare involves beef at supermarkets across the country; it has has forced the temporary closure of the XL Foods beef plant in Alberta and it has led some people to start looking at alternative sources for their meat.

David Ritzer is The Honest Butcher in Vancouver, specializing in local, sustainable butchery. “I commit to buying whole animals from small, family-owned, sustainable farms in BC.”

“I am one of the only — if not the only –  shop doing exclusively whole animals. I don’t supplement with any commercially-available boxed meat whatsoever. Everything comes in whole, directly from family-owned farms in BC,” he tells News1130.

“I buy a whole animal and I commit to utilizing the whole animal. I make everything in-house and use every single part for stocks, broths, pates, terrines, sausages, bacon, and so on and so forth,” he adds.

Ritzer says he has seen new faces in his shop since the beef recall started to spread across the country.

“I have a pretty loyal clientele to begin with, who understand and appreciate what I’m doing and the amount of work that goes into the type of butchery that I’m doing. But people are concerned [about] where their food comes from, especially their meat. Now this has happened again and there have been new people coming through the door.”

Ritzer feels more people are willing to pay a little more for their meat when they can be guaranteed it comes from a quality source.

“It puts it into perspective, the amount of time and effort it takes to meet these [producers] in our province who are working really, really hard to raise animals sustainably and in a clean way to help prevent things like E. coli, swine flu and avian flu. It basically boils down to if we take better care of our animals, like these local producers do, then a lot of these problems would be alleviated,” he believes.

“There are a lot of buzzwords that don’t mean what they should anymore, like ‘free-run’ and ‘free-range.’ Just because something is local, it doesn’t mean that it had a good life and was raised properly and sustainably, slaughtered properly, and butchered properly. You just have to ask the right questions.”

Ritzer admits quality meat costs a bit more, “but at the same time, the more you buy, the more farmers get supported. That’s how business works.”

“Support local people doing good things and don’t believe all the hype. Eat a little bit less, pay a little bit more and the world is a better place.”

Health officials in Alberta have confirmed two new cases of illness caused by E. coli, bringing the province’s total to 10. Saskatchewan is reporting a spike of 13 cases, and is doing tests to determine if any are linked to the beef recall.