Monday, October 31, 2016

CFA supports CETA

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is congratulating Canadian negotiators for their role leading up to the signing of a free trade agreement with the European Union.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the deal Sunday, but cautioned that many details remain to be negotiated, plus parliamentary ratifications by all nations involved in the deal.

“This is a very positive step that could allow Canadian agricultural exporters to capture significant business opportunities throughout the EU's 28 member countries, representing access to more than 500 million consumers,” the Canadian Federation of Agriculture said in a news release.

“CFA is supportive of the deal, provided that:

 *   Agricultural exporters can take full advantage of the market access concessions that were negotiated;
 *   Safeguards guaranteed to farmers in Belgium do not impede new market access for Canadian farmers;
 *   The federal government fully mitigate CETA's impact to the Canadian dairy industry as a result of the EU's new access that allows it to sell 17,000 tonnes of cheese into the Canadian market.”

The CFA says “farm leaders urge the government to clarify its position on these points while CETA moves through the steps toward ratification in Canadian and EU members' legislatures over the coming months.

“CFA calls for the government to continue its support for balanced trade approach that strengthens and supports all of the commodities that make up Canada's diverse agricultural sector."

Now doesn't that all add up to a mealy-mouthed bunch of mug-wumping!

Chicken board wins Mistele award

The Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board has won the Paul Mistele Memorial Award for this year for its program to organize donations to the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

The association thanks chicken farmers for providing more than 175,000 kilos of chicken to Ontarians in need since March 2015.

The late Paul Mistele began Ontario Pork’s Donate-A-Hog program in the midst of a disastrous plunge in hog prices in 1998.

The Paul Mistele Memorial Award recognizes agricultural partners who have shown a significant and enduring commitment to ending hunger in Ontario.

 “There are no words to express our gratitude for the Chicken Farmers of Ontario and its creation of the CFO Cares Food Bank Donation Program,” says Carolyn Stewart, executive director of the OAFB.

“This program has dramatically increased the amount of fresh food available to the people we serve, and has made a direct and positive impact in over 85 communities province-wide.”

It also provides people with valuable protein, she said.

The chicken board has had an amazing year of improving its image, starting with programs to open production to small-scale producers and processors who will not require quota and serving niche markets.

Cancer risk of meat debunked

 A panel of 10 researchers who specialize in different sciences says meat is probably not a significant cancer risk.

They say the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) and United Nations Global Harmonized System for Classification and Labeling (GHS) use outmoded hazard-based schemes to evaluate cancer risks to the public.

"This hazard-identification only process places chemicals with widely differing potencies and very different modes of action into the same category," Alan Boobis, professor in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College in London, said in a news release. 

"The consequences are unnecessary health scares and unnecessary diversion of public funds."

The commentary recommends updating evaluation approaches by international governmental organizations to use internationally accepted methodologies that are already used by government regulatory bodies for cancer risk assessment.

“Among those approaches are those of the World Health Organization's International Program on Chemical Safety (IPCS),” the researchers say.

They published their views in the official journal of the International Society for Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.

Canadian cow had TB, U.S. finds

A Canadian cow from a ranch near Jenner, Alta., tested positive for tuberculosis at a packing plant in the United States.

That has led to quarantines covering about 30 southeastern Alberta ranches where the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and provincial officials are investigating.

"The investigation is ongoing and it is not yet known how many animals will require testing," said agency spokesman Denis Schryburt in an email to Canadian Press.

"The number of animals requiring testing will depend on a number of factors such as whether additional animals test positive and the movements of exposed animals to other locations."

He said the affected cow came from a ranch near Jenner, about 250 kilometres east of Calgary.

Canada is officially clear of tuberculosis. It’s not yet clear whether the U.S. will impose trade restrictions.

Feed can transmit viruses

Dr. Scott Dee of South Dakota has confirmed that viral diseases can be transmitted via feed, including feed imported from countries thousands of miles away.

That’s likely how Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus arrived in the United States; the first PED strain was 99.8 percent similar to a strain found in China, Dee said.

“I am quite convinced of that,” he said.

Ontario’s pork industry is also convinced that PED came from the United States via blood plasma purchased by Grand Valley Fortifiers of Cambridge as an ingredient in rations for piglets.

Of great concern is that China and other countries have Foot and Mouth, Hog cholera, Pseudorabies, and extremely virulent strains of Porcine Respiratory Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS).

Dee conducted his research at the Pipestone Applied Research, Pipestone Veterinary Services, South Dakota State University (SDSU) and Swine Health Information Center (SHIC).

“Via simulation, we’ve shown for the first time that viral pathogens can move from country to country through feed imports from countries of high risk to countries without the disease,” Dee said in a news release.