Friday, December 14, 2018

Hog virus detection gets a boost

The federal government is providing $1.5 million to the Canadian Pork Council to set up a national virus detection system.
It’s expected the virus detection system will enable the CPC to provide consistent information on the health status of the hog population across the country, track early disease warning signs, and rapidly identify new and emerging diseases in the sector before they spread.
The government earlier gave $94,000 to the University of Montréal to develop an advanced disease surveillance tool to help the hog sector to better understand the frequency of diseases, emerging strains, and the movement of endemic diseases in Canada.
That work is being dove-tailed into this new national surveillance program.

Romaine recall updated

The United States Food and Drug Administration has issued a new warning about food-poisoning risk in romaine and lettuce from California.
It has narrowed its search to central coastal California and specifically the California counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Barbara and it has found E. coli on the Adam Bros. farm in Santa Barbara, but said there are probably more farms involved.
The FDA also updated its tally of sickened people, adding 17 for a new total of 59 in 15 states. Canada has also warned consumers to throw out romaine. There are 22 cases in Canada, according to Public Health Canada.
Areas not linked to the outbreak include the desert growing region near Yuma, Arizona; the California desert growing region near Imperial County and Riverside County; the state of Florida; and Mexico.
The CDC said if you don’t know where your lettuce came from, throw it out. Do not eat it.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sobey’s exceeds expectations

Sobey’s exceeded stock-market analysts expectations, posting a profit of $103.8 million for its second quarter.

“We are gaining traction,” said Michael Medline, Empire Co. Ltd.’s chief executive, during a conference call with analysts. 
Last year the company lost $23.6 million in the second quarter.

Medline is overseeing a turn-around program launched in May, 2017, and has reached the half-way point.

Sobey’s profits suffered after it bought the Safeway chain across Western Canada.

Medline said the company is gaining market share and, when asked where, said “it’s here there and everywhere.” 

The goal is to create $500-million in annualized benefits by the end of the company’s 2020 financial year and Medline said the company is more confident than ever this quarter to achieve that target.

The company recently bought the Farm Boy chain, plans to build a robotic fulfillment centre for home delivery orders, and to open more FreshCo discount stores in the West.
It is Canada’s second-largest supermarket chain, far behind Loblaws.

Hay program to continue for Credit Valley

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is continuing its Bird-Friendly Certified Hay (BFCH) program for the sixth consecutive year.

This was a record year for the program that connects hay growers, hay buyers and rural landowners with available land to create safe habitats for threatened grassland bird populations.

In 2018, there were 41 participants; 15 were farmers working 19 different farm properties on 388 acres of bird-friendly certified hay. 

Hay harvesting is delayed until newly hatched birds are safe. 

This year the agency “we observed 22 pairs of nesting Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark in participating properties.’

The BFCH program provides a matchmaking service for rural landowners trying to find tenant farmers to manage their land.
It is also an online marketplace for people buying and selling bird-friendly certified hay.      

Canadian diets harm immigrants’ health

A comprehensive study by University of Saskatchewan found that many newcomers embracing a western diet and lifestyle are on their way to developing chronic health problems within five years of their arrival.
The researchers studied the health of 300 immigrant and refugee children in Saskatoon and Regina.
“Refugee children are at risk of stunted growth and high cholesterol, while immigrant children are more at risk of being overweight or obese,” said Dr. Hassan Vatanparast, a professor in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition and the School of Public Health, who led the study.
Previous studies have shown that adult newcomers arrive in better health than Canadians, but their health status declines most in the first five years and eventually is comparable to the general population.
Vatanparast and four other researchers published a paper on their findings earlier this year in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism
Of particular concern is that 36 per cent of refugee children had an inadequate intake of zinc, while 23 per cent of immigrant kids fell short. 
About three per cent of Canadian children were deficient in zinc, which is essential for growth and development.
Newcomers also had an inadequate intake of vitamin D, important for bone growth. The study found 44 per cent of refugee children and 38 per cent of immigrant kids had low bone mineral content for their age, gender, and ethnicity.
Nearly half (49 per cent) of the immigrant families were from the Middle East, and most of the refugees in the study (69 per cent) were from Southeast Asian countries.
These findings point to the need for public health and social services systems to consider social factors affecting families in designing and delivering culturally sensitive screening and health promotion programs to prevent chronic health issues among new Canadians, Vatanparast said.
And what about average Canadians? I guess their nutrition doesn't count.

Smithfield loses another lawsuit

Smithfield Foods Inc. has lost the fourth court case in a row to neighbours who complained about its Murphy Brown hog-farming subsidiary.

The eight people who filed the lawsuit will be splitting a court award of $102,400, far lower than the hundreds of millions awarded in the previous three cases.

While the court awarded hundreds of millions, Smithfield’s actual fines will be far less because North Carolina law puts a cap on fines.

It does, however, allow up to three times the initial award in punitive damages. They have yet to be established for this fourth case.

There are a total of 26 nuisance lawsuits filed against Murphy Brown hog farms.

Smithfield is the largest hog-farming and pork-packing company in the United States, but is owned by a Chinese company.

Sick toll rises to 333 in JBS salmonella issue

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified 87 additional cases of Salmonella Newport food poisoning linked to beef recalled by JBS Tolleson of Arizona.

That brings the total to 333 people scattered over 28 states.

The beef was marketed to more than 100 retailers.

Ninety-one people required hospital treatment, but nobody has died.

The recalled beef products, including ground beef, were packaged from July 26 to Sept. 7. They are marked from EST. 267.

JBS Tolleson recalled 6.9 million pounds of beef products on Oct. 4 and another 5.2 million pounds on Dec. 4.