Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Saputo sues B.C. milk board

Saputo is suing the British Columbia milk marketing board for $100,000 in the province’s Supreme Court.

Saputo claims $65,000 for a shipment of 17,784 litres of milk delivered in August, 2013, from Chilliwack Cattle Co.

It claims another $26,000 for a shipment of 120.029 litres from an organic farm that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency detained because it suspected feed was contaminated.

 On closer inspection, it turned out fine, but Saputo made its claim on the basis that the delay reduced the value of the milk.

And then Saputo refused to take delivery from Chilliwack Cattle Company after sensational news coverage of underground video shot for Mercy for Animals.

Chilliwack Dairy Co. subsequently pleaded guilty and faced a record-high fine for abusing animals.

Saputo is complaining to the court that it can only buy milk from the marketing board, meaning It can’t reject milk from farms it does not like.

I find it more than a little ironic that Saputo would complain about Chilliwack Cattle Co. hurting its reputation when a book has documented Saputo's dealings with the Montreal Mafia.

Broiler breeder flock has AI

A flock of 18,000 broiler breeder chickens in Northern Georgia is the latest to fall victim to an outbreak of avian influenza.

More than 200,000 birds have been culled across Tennessee , Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia in the last month.

But this pales in comparison with millions of birds that have either been infected or sacrificed to prevent the spread of avian flu in Asia and Europe.

Listeria can hide inside lettuce

Researchers have found that food-poisoning bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes, can hide inside romaine lettuce.

That means that surface cleansing and disinfecting procedures won’t kill the nasty bacteria that is particularly risky for the very young, the very old and people with compromised immune systems.

A team at Purdue University in Indianna, led by Amanda Deering, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Food Science, showed that the bacteria could live within lettuce in every stage of the plant growth process, residing inside the plant tissue.

L. monocytogenes can gain entry into the plant through cracked seed coats, small tears in root tissue during germination and damaged plant tissue. The researchers found that exposing lettuce to the bacteria could lead to infection of plant tissue in as little as 30 minutes.

“Knowing this can happen, we need to keep it on our radar as we continue to follow good agricultural practices,” Deering said.

L. monocytogenes can also cross the placental barrier in pregnant women, which can trigger a miscarriage.

“For immune-compromised consumers, it’s important to remember, that canned or cooked produce is better,” Deering said.

This bacteria thrives in cool temperatures which are sometimes used to fight other food-poisoning strains of bacteria. Heat kills them all.

Guelph gets $20 million donation

The Arrell Family Foundation is donating $20 million to the University of Guelph to research food security, safety and sustainability.

It is the largest private-sector gift the university has ever received and comes in its 150th year.

“This landmark gift will allow our university to address the defining challenge of our time: food security, safety and sustainaTbility,” said university president Franco Vaccarino.

“We are uniquely positioned to make a difference,” Vaccarino said, boasting about the university’s long history in agriculture research and international development.

“The Arrell family has shown incredible generosity and foresight in making this gift, and we are grateful to them for their faith in our agri-food prowess.”

The donation will create the Arrell Food Institute. The University will provide matching funds of $20 million, for a total commitment of $40 million.

Along with recent government and private funding — including a $77-million award from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund for the Food From Thought project — this gift brings the total investment in agri-food at the university to more than $150 million in the past 12 months.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tax deferrals offered to livestock farmers

The federal government is offering tax deferrals for farmers hit by the weather last year.

This extends a program that applied to much of the Northern tier of Ontario last year.

“Extreme weather created difficulties for Canada’s livestock industry across the country last summer,” said Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay to explain why the tax break is being offered.

“This tax deferral will help producers manage the impacts of the drought, and to focus on rebuilding their herds in coming years,” he said.

It also applies to parts of Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

The Ontario municipalities covered this year are:

Belleville,  Kingston, Niagara Falls, Peterborough, Port Colborne, St. Catharines, Welland, Haldimand County, Centre Hastings, Trent Hills, Tweed, Fort Erie, Greater Napanee, Grimsby, Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Pelham, Frontenac Islands, Leeds and the Thousand Islands, Loyalist, Madoc, South Frontenac, Stone Mills, Tyendinaga,  Wainfleet and West Lincoln.