Friday, December 29, 2017

Syrians praying for rain

Syrian President Bashar Assad has ordered imams to pray for rain in this week's prayers.

The orders came in a circular distributed by the Religious Affairs Ministry.

Strange that Assad did not order them to pray for peace as his troops continue to fight, including the use of poison gas, to retain control for his brutal regime.

Romaine food poisoning spreads

The United States Centres for Disease Control is reporting that 17 people have been stricken with E. coli 0157:H7 food poisoning.

It follows a similar situation in Canada where more than 30 people have been sickened. Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have had the most cases.

Preliminary results show that the type of E. coli making people sick in both countries is closely related genetically, meaning the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection.

The Public Health Agency of Canada also says the cases here have a highly-similar DNA profile and it has identified romaine lettuce as the likely source.

But the officials on both sides of the border have yet to name a company or state where the romaine originated.

Are they afraid to reveal helpful information to consumers because they might be sued?

Just get Trump to tweet it!


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Agrium, Potash Corp. merger ok’d

The United States has granted approval for Agrium and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan to merge.

The companies said they will begin to operate as Nutrien on Jan. 1.

Agrium needed to sell two production facilities in the U.S. to gain approval there.

One will go to Itafos and the other to Trammo Inc.

The two agreed in September, 2016, to pursue a merger that would require approvals from a number of countries. The U.S. was the final hurdle.

The partners say they believe the merger will reduce costs by $500 million a year.

Potash Corp. is the world’s largest potash-mining company and Agrium is the world’s largest fertilizer retailing company.

Potash has its head office in Saskatchewan and Agrium in Calgary.

Two potato varieties snapped up

Two new potato varieties developed by plant breeder breeder Dr. Benoit Bizimungu have been snapped up by companies hoping to turn them into profit-spinning sensations.

Progest 2001 Inc. based out of Sainte-Croix, Quebec, took AAC Confederation and Canadian Eastern Seed Growers Inc. of New Brunswick took AAC Canada Gold Dorée.

Both come out of the federal agriculture department’s research station at Fredericton, New Brunswick, and are getting an advanced release under a program that leaves final stages of commercialization up to companies who get to choose what they want during a field day when about 10 to 15 lines are on display.

Both company presidents are really excited about the commercial potential these potatoes possess and feel they could rival Yukon Gold, says Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in a news release. Bizimungu says both varieties have good yield and disease resistance profiles that make them more profitable and can be considered an improvement over Yukon Gold.

“Taste and texture are important,” André Gagnon, president of Progest 2001 Inc., said. “We need tasty special potatoes that fit customer needs! We feel that AAC Confederation has the potential to become a popular yellow variety for consumers.”

André Côté and his brother, Eric, own Eastern Seed Growers Inc. and said “we chose AAC Canada Gold-Dorée for its golden flesh and its golden potential as a winner in the markets.”

Bizimungu said “a lot of work goes into developing a new potato variety. For instance, the AAC Canada Gold-Dorée was six years in development before being released in 2015 to the potato industry to be evaluated of commercial potential.
“It is no surprise that the potato was taken up so quickly by the industry because it has great attributes.”

Bizimungu said this latest licensing demonstrates the breeding program is making progress in identifying the kind of potatoes the industry needs and shows the value of the department’s national breeding program.

Christmas Day thieves take veal

Thieves drove off with a refrigerated semi truck trailer loaded with veal on Christmas Day.

The truck was parked in a lot in North York and was taken during the night.

The 16-metre trailer wasn’t attached to a cab.

The veal was in packages from Ontario-based White Veal Meat Packers.

Toronto police are asking the public for help to find the truck and the veal. 

They would like to know about any too-good-to-be-true deals on veal, about veal sold outside of normal distribution channels. I guess you could call it a search for Boxing Day veals.