Friday, September 29, 2017

Farm marketers caught lying

CBC Marketplace has caught vendors at farmers’ markets lying that they grew the produce they are selling.

They were caught on camera buying produce at the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto, removing it from packaging and putting it in baskets and bushel baskets so it would look like they had grown and picked it on their own farm.

Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal said his ministry wants to ensure integrity and investigates if and when it receives complaints.

While some shoppers may be misled, it’s common knowledge to most who frequent the largest one – the St. Jacobs Farmers Market – that there are many vendors who buy what they are selling, including some that stock up at the Ontario Food Terminal or at the produce auction market north of Elmira.

How else, for example, can they offer bananas, oranges and other fruits and vegetables out of season?

It is common for some farmers’ market vendors to supplement what they have grown with produce they pick up at the Elmira auction or buy from neighbours.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Premium Brands buys another company

Premium Brands is buying Skilcor Food Products, the third Ontario company it has bought within the last year.

Skilcor markets cooked back ribs and other protein products.  It has annual sales of approximately $27 million and operates out of a specially designed 34,000 square foot facility that was built in 2006 in Brampton.

"Skilcor further strengthens our rapidly growing presence in central Canada's protein manufacturing and protein distribution segments,” said president and chief executive officer George Paleologou in announcing the deal.

“It will not only expand our portfolio of products but will also give us specialized production capacity that will enable us to provide customers with premium quality differentiated protein solutions in the high growth ready-to-eat product category."

"I have no doubt that Premium Brands is the right partner for us, our company and our people," said Mrs. Deborah Kinzinger, founder and chair of Skilcor. 

 "I am very proud of our team, our culture and our products and of how much we have accomplished since Skilcor was founded back in 1969.

Earlier this month Premium Brands bought Leadbetter Foods Inc. which Paleologou said would be a good fit with Belmont Foods which is bought for close to $50 million last October.

Metro’s buying Jean Coutu

Montreal-based Metro Inc. announced Tuesday it’s in “exclusive” talks with the Jean Coutu Group on the possibilities of a $4.5-billion cash-and-stock takeover.

It would give Metro 418 drugstores to add to the 250 it already owns and its more than 600 grocery stores which includes Food Basics.

A non-binding letter of intent calls for Metro to buy all shares of Coutu for $24.50 a share; 75 per cent would be paid in cash and 25 per cent in Metro shares.

The Coutu family, which holds control of the Jean Coutu Group, has “indicated its intention” to support the proposed deal, the companies said.

A deal, if completed, would give Metro a chain of 418 drugstores.

The proposed deal still depends on negotiation of “definitive agreements” which, if reached, would also be subject to the usual regulatory approvals.

The two companies emphasized there’s “no guarantees” a deal will close.

Metro is Canada’s third-largest supermarket chain. Loblaws, which is first, bought Shoppers Drug Mart chain in 2014 and Sobeys, which is second, bought the Safeway supermarket chain which is the leader in many parts of Western Canada.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Four directors appointed to veggie board

The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Council has appointed four directors to the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers Marketing Board.

The four are Eric Allaer of Port Lambton who was previously chairman of the District 1 committee, Michael Denys of Wallaceburg who served as chairman of the Ontario Seed Corn Growers Marketing Board, Tom Hebblethwaite of Blenhem, also a previous chairman of the Seed Corn Growers and chairman of the Ontario Black Tobacco Growers Association and Chris Stewart of Cedar Springs, also a previous member of the Seed Corn Growers and the Black Fired Tobacco board.

They were appointed to one-year terms.

There will be eight directors, elected in alternating years for two-year terms.

Four days earlier, the commission appointed Suzanne van Bommel board chair.

Syngenta strikes deal with farmers

Syngenta has reached an out-of-court settlement with farmers who sued the company over lost sales to China because Syngenta sold genetically-modified seed corn the Chinese would not buy.

Bloomberg news agency says Syngenta AG agreed to pay more than $1.4 billion to more than 100,000 farmers.

The deal ended court action in Minnesota this week.

Canadian lawsuits are not included in the settlement, according to Paul Minehart, a Syngenta spokesman.

Syngenta halted the trial involving about 22,000 Minnesota farmers to announce the settlement. Those farmers were seeking more than $400 million in damages over their corn losses.

The settlement comes three months after Syngenta lost a $218-million jury verdict to corn growers in Kansas.


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Child doctors, nutritionists diss sports drinks

Sports drinks and those with lot of caffeine have drawn criticism from the Canadian Paediatric Society with support from Dieticians of Canada.

The issue is too much sugar and caffeine for young people engaging in sports, they say in a position statement released this week.

“For most children and youth, sports drinks are unnecessary,” said Dr. Catherine Pound, co-author of the statement and a paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

“Energy drinks are unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst. Doctors should counsel patients and their families about the potential risks and side effects of using these beverages and should screen routinely for their use,” she wrote.

Caffeinated energy drinks claim to boost energy, reduce fatigue and improve concentration, but caffeine levels typically exceed Health Canada’s maximum daily intake for children.

When mixed with alcohol, these drinks can be especially dangerous. 

Among university students, studies have shown an association with risk-taking behaviours such as drug use.  

Sports drinks, which contain a mixture of sugars and electrolytes, are often marketed as fluid replacements during sports or vigorous physical activity. 

“Sports and caffeinated energy drinks may contribute to obesity and dental cavities in children and adolescents,” said Becky Blair, co-author of the statement and a member of Dietitians of Canada.

“When it comes to staying hydrated, water is the best choice for kids.”

The Canadian Paediatric Society is lobbying for legislation to ban marketing to youth.