Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Health clinics open to foreign workers

About 5,000 foreign workers employed by farmers in Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk are eligible for health services provided at clinics run by the Grand River Community Health Centre.

“These workers are outside in the hot sun doing very manual, often repetitive tasks,” says Eliseo Martell, health promoter with the centre.
Ailments such as muscle strains and pulls from continual bending over in fields, skin irritations, sun overexposure, allergies, and eye irritants are common, he said.

“In addition to the physical ailments, social isolation can also be a factor affecting workers well-being,” said social worker Guillermo Rodriguez.

This season is the fourth year that the Grand River Community Health Centre, along with numerous community partners, has offered primary health services to assist the workers.

The clinics provide primary health care and health promotion services, including blood pressure checks, monitoring of blood glucose, medication refills if needed, and counseling for psycho-social distress. Spanish-speaking staff will be on hand to assist with translation.

Three drop-in seasonal agricultural worker health clinics are available:
·      Simcoe at Real Canadian Super Store – Thursdays and Fridays from 4:30-9 p.m.

·      Delhi at Delhi Community Health Centre – Tuesdays and Thursdays 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9-1 p.m.

·      Brantford by Canadian Tire – Fridays from 5-8:30 p.m. (beginning June 16)

“These seasonal workers pay taxes in Canada and also contribute to the Canada Pension Plan while they are here, so this means these workers are eligible to receive healthcare while in our country.” said Janet Noble, director of primary care and community health at Grand River CHC.

“I was recently at a forum where the speaker noted that without these workers, our agricultural industry would collapse,” she said.

China threatens to ban Canadian pork

Chinese authorities say they found ractopamine (Paylean) residues in some pork from Olymel, and say it might cost Canada its accreditation to export to China.

Olymel and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are investigating to determine how the banned growth promotant might have got into the pork shipment.

One of the possibilities is a farmer who cheated by importing Paylean from the United States.

The shipment came from Olymel’s plant at Vallee Jonction, a hog slaughter and cutting plant that employs about 1,500 people.

Olymel spokesman Richard Vigneau said hog farmers that market to Olymel are supposed to adhere to a strict protocol.

If they find a farmer who cheated,  I think they ought to ban him for life from owning any pigs or working in any part of the pork-industry food chain.

Reuters news agency said China views the finding of ractopamine residue in the shipment of pig feet as a “systemic failure” of Canada’s certification program that “could affect future pork exports.”

JBS agrees to multi-billion-dollar fine

J&F, which holds controlling interest in JBS SA, will pay a fine of 10.3 Brazilian lira (about $4.4 billion Cdn) to settle bribery and corruption charges, says the Federal Prosecutors' Office.

The company has 25 years to pay at the rate of 5.62 per cent of annual revenue.

Pension funds that invested in JBS will get some of the money, the government will get some for a fund it runs to pay severance to workers and the federal bank and federal government will share most of the rest.

The brothers who control the company have admitted they bribed government lenders to obtain loans the company used to buy companies, vaulting it into one of the biggest beef packers in the world.

XL Foods Inc. of Alberta is one of the companies it bought. Many others are in the United States.

The settlement also includes about $986 million Cdn. for social projects focused on education, health and corruption prevention.


Record Quebec syrup harvest

This year’s maple syrup harvest set a record in Quebec – a combination of favourable weather and the marketing board drive to regain market share.

Quebec had been losing market share to the Northeastern United States and Ontario when it introduced supply management in an effort to drive up prices.

This spring, Quebec's 13,700 maple syrup producers harvested a record 152.2 million pounds of maple syrup from 44.2 million taps.

That compares with 148 million pounds last year and 120 million pounds in 2014.


Quinta Quinoa wins another award

Quinta Quinoa has been selected the International Startup of the Year during the VitaFoods Europe Conference in Europe.

It comes shortly after it was selected as one of the top 10 International Innovation Award winners at SIAL.  

 “What makes our Quinta Quinoa superior is that it has almost twice the protein and four times the mineral levels of standard quinoa, which is considered a superfood in itself,” said company president Jamie Draves of Rockwood, Ont.

“We have started to call it the ‘Super of the Superfoods’,” he said. 

Since the launch Quinta Quinoa in early 2016, demand for this quinoa has been strong, and availability has expanded to multiple retail locations across Ontario, he said.

With record yields of 2,000 pounds per acre last year, Quinta is currently the only quinoa brand on the market that has completed the nutritional testing necessary to be able to make the claims of being high in protein, fibre and zinc, and an excellent source of iron and magnesium, and a source of calcium, he said.