Thursday, November 27, 2014

Egg case resumes Monday

The marathon court actions in Ontario’s egg industry resume Monday in Toronto.

This time it’s an appeal filed by Sweda Farms Ltd. from a summary dismissal of the lawsuit Sweda filed against Burnbrae Farms Ltd.

A similar attempt for summary dismissal by L.H. Gray and Son Ltd. failed.

Sweda has charged the two companies which grade about 90 per cent of Ontario’s egg production of conspiring along with Harry Pelissero, general manager of the Ontario egg marketing board, against Sweda.

The sensational lawsuit also alleges that the two egg-grading companies routinely cheat on egg grading to incorporate cracked and dirty eggs in cartons that should only contain Grade A eggs and that they conspired to keep Sweda from importing eggs when it was unable to buy enough on the Ontario market to meet its needs.

None of the allegations have yet been tested in court and lawyers for the egg-grading companies deny any wrongdoing.

Court documents indicate that Sweda has lined up witnesses to testify about Canadian Food Inspection Agency standards for Grade A eggs and the degree of CFIA inspection of automated grading equipment.

Witnesses have also been subpoenaed to outline interactions among the Ontario and national egg marketing bodies, Burnbrae and Gray and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in responding to Sweda’s requests for supplementary import permits.

The witnesses who were called to questioning sessions were Neil Newlands of Orleans on supplementary import issues, Gord Davis on egg grading and the joint purchase of Metzger Produce egg-grading business by Burnbrae and Gray and about negotiations to sell Sweda’s egg-grading business to Burnbrae, Robin Horel of Nepean, chief of staff for the Canadian Egg and Poultry Processors Council, to testify about supplementary egg import procedures and specifically about Sweda Farm’s applications, and Judy Scaife of Nepean to testify about CFIA standards for Grade A, Grade B and Nest Run eggs and about CFIA checks – or lack of them – on automated crack-detection equipment at egg-grading plants.