Thursday, November 30, 2017

Maple Leaf buys Seattle company

Maple Leaf Foods says it has made a deal to buy Field Roast Grain Meat Co. of Seattle, Wash., for $120 million.

The company makes plant-based meat and cheese products and is the second U.S. company in that business that Maple Leaf has bought this year.

"The acquisition of Field Roast complements and expands our portfolio in the fast-growing North American market for alternative proteins," said Michael McCain, Maple Leaf’s president and chief executive officer.

It also aligns with our vision to be a leader in sustainable protein and create shared value through making a positive social impact. Field Roast has built brand leadership through focusing on quality, craftsmanship and taste, and its acquisition will allow Maple Leaf to fuel growth in the category through investment, brand building and innovation," McCain said.

Field Roast pioneered the development of artisanal quality, grain-based meat products and is a leading brand in the premium segment. It draws on culinary heritage from Europe and Asia in its recipes, using grains, fresh vegetables, dried fruits, wine and spices. Products are marketed across North America and include fresh and frozen grain-based roasts and loaves, sausages and frankfurters, burgers, deli slices and appetizers, and Chao brand vegan cheese slices and entrees. 

The company was founded in 1997 and employs approximately 200 people in a 75,000-square-foot plant it leases in Seattle, Washington.

Ontario to double ethanol in gasoline

Ontario is going to force a doubling of ethanol content in gasoline to 10 per cent by 2020, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has announced.

It will also provide incentives for emerging technologies such as renewable gasoline and biocrude.

"By 2020, the proposed actions are projected to result in greenhouse gas pollution reductions that are equivalent to taking up to 130,000 cars off our roads each year, and up to 300,000 cars off our roads each year by 2030," ministry spokesman Gary Wheeler said in an e-mail.

Ethanol distillers welcomed the news.

"Ethanol is the cleanest, cheapest way to reduce carbon in gasoline available today," said Howard Field, president of Greenfield Global. He said the new standards "will help the province achieve its GHG emission targets while ensuring continued local investment, innovation and job creation."

The federal government is expected to include incentives for greater ethanol use and perhaps an increased federal mandate, which currently is five per cent.

In anticipation of the provincial move, IGPC Ethanol Inc. embarked earlier this year on a $200-million expansion of its farmer-owner ethanol refinery Aylmer, Ont., in order to double its production.

"We're right in the middle of a very major construction project right now," IGPC president Jim Grey said.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Schlegel buys St. Jacobs Market

Schlegel Urban Developments of Kitchener is buying the St. Jacobs Market from Mercedes Corporation which is controlled by the descendents of founder Milo Shantz.

It is the largest farmers market in Ontario and a huge tourist draw for the Waterloo Region.

The purchase includes not only the market property, but also the stockyards, a shopping mall, the TSC store property and the antique mall and bulk store beside TSC.

The market was founded by the late Milo Shantz and his brother, Ross.

They are well known in the farming community for founding Hybrid Turkeys, now owned by a Dutch company and one of two turkey-breeding companies which have virtually all of the global market.

Spokesperson Jenny Shantz said this next generation isn't "getting any younger," and the sale was a chance for the family to get out of the business.

It was also a chance for the company's 40 plus shareholders to divest of their investment "in an orderly way."

"There's a little sadness in seeing some of our involvement ebbing away, but we look back and so much has been accomplished," she told CBC News. "We've been able to see many people take ownership in the market, both as vendors and as customers, and we feel good about that."

By selling the market property, Shantz said Mercedes Corp. has sold the majority of its assets and that it would not make sense for the company to carry on as a corporation.
The company still owns many retail properties in the village of St. Jacobs, including the old mill at the corner of King Street N. and Front Street.

"I think you can expect to see us looking for buyers for those as well over the coming year," Shantz said.

James Schlegel, chief executive for Schlegel Urban Developments, said all of the staff are being kept on and the public will notice little change.

The Schlegel family is the largest holder of turkey quota in Ontario, has significant chicken-farming operations and operates a number of large and modern nursing homes..

Argentina allows Canadian pork

Argentina is allowing imports of Canadian pork three months after it made a similar move for the U United States.

Argentina had cited swine health concerns to support its bans.

The agreement was announced by Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and International Trade Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne.

The change is effective immediately.

When the ban on U.S. pork was lifted, the National Pork Producers Association there estimated it could export $10 million worth of pork per year to Argentina.

There has been no Canadian estimate made available.

Great Lakes still being polluted

The International Joint Commission issued a report this week saying pollution continues to enter the Great Lakes., threatening drinking water and fish survival.

The situation is particularly bad in Lake Erie, it says.

Farmers, municipalities and others still have a long ways to go in cleaning up the situation, the report says.

There have been improvements, mainly in cleaning up hot spots in harbours, it acknowledges.

It is the first International Joint Commission report since Ontario, Ohio and Michigan signed an agreement to drastically reduce phosphorous runoff into the Great Lakes.

The report calls for improving drinking water and sewage treatment facilities, and strengthening clean-water regulations, particularly limits on phosphorus runoff that is largely responsible for explosive growth of harmful algae in Lake Erie.

So far governments, including Ontario, have relied mainly on voluntary action by farmers. Few have faced fines, other than for major manure spills.

Agencies also should work faster to identify newer types of contamination, such as fire retardant chemicals, and develop strategies for limiting them, the report says.

"While significant progress has been made to restore and protect the lakes, the governments of Canada and the United States and Great Lakes civil society as a whole are living with the costly consequences of past failures to anticipate and prevent environmental problems," the report says.

"By now, it should be clear that prevention makes environmental, economic and common sense."

The two countries negotiated the first version of the water quality agreement in 1972 following a century of abuse that left portions of the lakes in deplorable condition. 

It focuses primarily on toxic pollution, invasive species and nutrient runoff but has been revised several times to include other threats, including climate change.

About 40 million people draw drinking water from the Great Lakes.

"Our municipalities must not be permitted to dump sewage into our drinking water and we call for a 'zero discharge' objective, which will bring to an end the all-too-frequent beach closings," said Gordon Walker, the Canadian co-chairman of the international commission.

Lake Erie, which has the Great Lakes' largest fish population, draws special attention in the report because of a worsening toxic algae plague.

Brazil expects exports to U.S. to resume

The chief executive of one of Brazil’s major beef-packing companies says he expects exports to the U.S. will resume early next year.

The U.S. suspended imports from Brazil in June because of food safety issues.

Brazil said the U.S. was concerned about lesions, but said they were caused by injections of foot and mouth disease vaccine, not by anything that would harm consumers.

However, at the time there was a huge scandal about bribes packers and exporters paid government inspectors to ignore failures to meet standards.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mirexus to buy 4,700 tonnes of corn per year

Mirexus Biotechnologies has begun building a plant in Guelph that will use about 4,500 tonnes of corn per year to produce glycogen which can be used in cosmetics among other products.

It uses a microfiltration process to get the glycogen.

The federal government has given the venture $1 million.

Huron farm has PED

A finisher barn in Huron County has been hit by an outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus.

It is the first outbreak since June 27.

That was a nursery barn in next-door Bruce County.

This brings the total number of Ontario outbreaks to 105.

The risk of spread increases with colder weather which is more favourable for virus survival.

The disease has a much greater impact on newborns, often killing all of them, than on finisher-barn pigs where most recover after a bout.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Foodbank use still increasing

Despite improved employment statistics and economy, more Ontario people are turning to foodbanks for help.

In its annual report, the Ontario Association of Foodbanks says that in March and April, 499,415 visits were logged at foodbanks. That’s three per cent more than a year earlier.
The cost of housing is the main reason, eating up too much of a poor person’s money.

A third of the people being helped are children
Whether Ontario’s increase in the minimum wage will help remains to be seen. The first increase began this month.

A third of those people were there because social assistance (welfare) is not enough to make ends meet.

Farmers targets in Lake Erie cleanup

Ohio's outline for sharply reducing what's making algae flourish in Lake Erie clearly shows that changes in farming methods are what's needed, say critics of a plan unveiled by the state last week.

The plan has about 50 ways to do that, but some environmental groups say the state's updated plan still lacks clear direction about what should come next

.The eight-year plan aims to reduce phosphorous pollution by 40 per cent, but critics say it lacks focus. It comes after Michigan, Ohio and Ontario signed a deal two years ago agreeing to make steep cuts of phosphorus, which mainly comes from farm fertilizers and livestock manure that winds up in streams and rivers and then feeds algae in the lake.

Ohio's strategy calls for more than 50 steps to take or at least consider, including restoring wetlands along the lakeshore and looking at new limits on city wastewater plants.

The National Wildlife Federation said the plan's list of actions has "added more ingredients, but there's still no recipe."

The plan, for example, calls for continuing and expanding mostly voluntary farming practices — such as increasing soil testing and installing devices that control storm water — that are intended to slow fertilizer runoff. But what the plan doesn't get into is how much needs to be done or set goals to reach the 40 percent reduction, the Wildlife Federation’s leader said.

"Those are things we need to link together," she said. "Tell us what's going to prompt that change."

Karl Gebhardt, deputy director for water resources at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, has said the state's plan will be evolving and if what's being done now isn't working, changes will be made.

The poor know a good diet

Canada’s poor know what constitutes a good diet, they simply can’t afford it, says a new study from the University of Toronto.
That scotches the popular belief that poor Canadians make poor food choices because they don’t know what foods are healthy.
When asked what they would buy if they had more money, respondents cited more and better-quality fruits, vegetables and meat rather than processed foods, the report found.
The researchers added that the three factors that guide low-income diners include abundance, availability of familiar “ethnic foods” and access to familiar corporate brands. The report was published in the Journal of Consumer Culture.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Neonics no threat, Guelph team says

Neonicitinoid seed-treatment pesticides are not a threat to honeybee colony survival, provided farmers use them correctly, say two University of Guelph researchers after reviewing available research studies.

The University of Guelph team, led by toxicologist Keith Solomon and adjunct professor Gladys Stephenson, analyzed 64 papers from “open, peer-reviewed literature” on the topic plus 170 unpublished studies submitted to regulators by the products’ manufacturers, Syngenta and Bayer.

The scientists, who on Monday published their findings the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, said Bayer and Syngenta asked them to assess earlier studies conducted by or for the companies, on the impacts of pesticide-treated seeds on honeybees.

They used a “quantitative weight of evidence” approach to gauge the quality of reported data and to compare relevance of results from different studies.

They studied Bayer’s clothianidin and imidacloprid and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam, all used in seed treatments for various field crops.

The original papers, Solomon said, varied in quality and “scientific rigour,” but their results generally showed no adverse effects of pesticides on honeybee hives.

For all three products, the “overall weight of evidence,” based on the studies analyzed, indicated “no adverse effects on colony viability or survival of the colony,” the team wrote in the Journal.

“At least for honeybees, these products are not a major concern,” Solomon said in a university release Tuesday — though he granted the three pesticides can kill individual honeybees, and could also posethreats to other pollinators.

They distinguish between studies showing harm to individual bees and studies that look at impacts on entire colonies.

“What regulations try to protect is the colony — the reproductive unit.” they said.

The Guelph researchers also stressed the importance of “good agricultural practices” in farmers’ neonic use, including making sure the treated seeds are coated and planted properly to avoid airborne contamination of bees during seeding.

Sadly, this is unlikely to change the political decisions at Queen's Park to sharply curb the use of neonics and therefore increase the risks of reduced yields, revenues and farmer profits.

Blood test helps chicken breeders

Scientists have discovered a blood test they were able to use to breed chickens with greater resistance to harmful bacteria.

The team working for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Research Service used blood tests to identify roosters with high levels of , cytokines and chemokines that mobilize their immune response.

The results, published in the journal Poultry Science, showed that the susceptible broilers had more pathogens and signs of infection than the resistant group.

Ultimately, such resistance could mean fewer pathogens remaining on birds at the processing plant and improved consumer safety, the research team leader said.

CFIA suspends Quebec veggie company

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has suspended the registration of  Les Produits  S & G Ltd. of Sainte-Sophie, Quebec.
The company failed to implement the required corrective measures in the prescribed time frame under the Processed Products Regulations, the CFIA says on its website.

The corrective measures included a policy on glass breakage, Good Manufacturing Practices and record keeping,” it says.

Sobey’s slashing staff

Sobey’s is cutting 20 per cent of its office staff – more than 800 people – in its plan to cut costs by $500 million a year within two years.

The layoffs have already begun, reports the Globe and Mail.

Sobey’s is also planning to push on-line shopping by offering free delivery.

Sobey’s is Canada’s second-largest supermarket chain, but has been losing money since it bought Canada Safeway to increase its business in Western Canada.

Loblaws, which is number one, bought Shopper’s Drug Mart and Metro, which is third, this month bought the Jean Cloutu pharmacy chain.

Chicken market boom continues

The national chicken marketing agency continues to call for production increases next spring and early summer.

For quota period A-149 (Mar. 18 to May 12) it wants an increase of five per cent over last year and for A-150 (May 13,to July 7) four per cent.

Ontario’s increases are greater – 5.7 per cent (62.7 million kilograms) for the spring and 4.6 per cent (63.8 million kilograms) for early summer.

“The Canadian chicken market is still adjusting to the supply disruptions arising from the abrupt reduction in fraudulent fowl imports and finding a new normal of having a greater mix of chicken being produced by Canadians," the Ontario board says on its website.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Aussies develop dipstick DNA technique

Australian researchers have found a quick and easy way to gather DNA for genetic testing.

It would greatly simplify and speed sample collection for plants and animals.

Their report, Nucleic acid purification from plants, animals and microbes in under 30 seconds,” is published in the online journal PLOS Biology.

Current technology is requires expensive laboratory equipment, technicians and multiple steps.

The group discovered that cellulose-based filter paper -- Whatman No.1 paper – can rapidly bind and retain nucleic acids.

Using that paper, they developed a “dipstick” that can purify nucleic acids from a wide range of plant, animal or microbe samples in less than 30 seconds.

They also developed a simple washing process to remove PCR-inhibiting chemical/biological contaminants present in a plant crude extract while retaining enough DNA for amplification.

Following the one-minute wash, a user will transfer the sample to a PCR reaction tube, where it remains for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis.

New berry board approved

The Ontario Farm Producrts Marketing Commission has approved plans for a marketing board with powers to control production and marketing of strawberries, raspberrries and blueberries.

The new Berry Growers of Ontario Marketing Board will be run by commission-appointed directors to start this year.

The appointees are Kevin Howe of Aylmer, Matt Tigchelaar of Jordan and Graham Shaw of Windemere for strawberries; Kerry Copestake of Wooler, Steve Kustermans of Mt. Brydges and Dusty Zamecnik of Langton for blueberries; and Alex McKay of Port Perry, Tom Heeman of Thomas Centre and Brian Rijke of Iroquois for raspberries.

They will serve as directors until elections are held next year.

The board will not have power to control marketing into Ontario from the U.S. or other provinces. Those powers would require a national agency.

NAFTA at a Mexican standoff

Trade talks in Mexico ended this week with a standoff among negotiators for the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Canadian Trade Minister Christia Freeland said she will not agree to the U.S. demands to change the disputes-settling system and for five-year reviews.

Mexico is equally adamant on those issues and joins Canada in resisting U.S. auto-industry demands.

US. trade representative Robert Lighthizer remains stubborn and issued the following statement:

While we have made progress on some of our efforts to modernize NAFTA, I remain concerned about the lack of headway. Thus far, we have seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement. Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result.

A rebalanced, updated NAFTA will promote greater prosperity for American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses and strengthen the North American region as a whole. 

"Our teams will be meeting again next month in Washington. I hope our partners will come to the table in a serious way so we can see meaningful progress before the end of the year.”

Premium Brands buys three more

As predicted during its quarterly report about a week ago, Premium Brands has made deals to buy several more companies.

The deals are:

Buddy’s Kitchen Inc. bought from its founding family and management in Minnesota;

Raybern Foods of California, bought from TSG Consumer Partners, management and other shareholders; and

A half interest in California-based Shaw Bakers.

Buddy's makes sandwiches and other prepared meals for a variety of customers with a particular focus in the airline and convenience store channels. 

It operates two modern production facilities in the Minneapolis area, one of which is 91,000 square feet and the other 62,000 square feet.

Raybern's makes branded specialty sandwiches for the U.S. retail market and operates a modern 146,000 square foot facility in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Its line of authentic hand-held products includes top-seller Philly Cheesesteak sandwich and a wide variety of other frozen and refrigerated sandwiches and wraps.

Shaw Bakers is a manufacturer and distributor of fresh and frozen artisan breads as well as a range of sweet and savory pastries. 

It operates a 67,600 square feet facility in the greater San Francisco area.
On a combined basis Buddy's, Raybern's and Shaw Bakers have annual sales of approximately $147 million Cdn.

Premium Brands owns a number of Ontario companies, including Belmont Meats and Piller’s Meats and Delicattessens.

Farmers increase food donations

A tax break from the province is prompting farmers to donate more fresh produce to food banks, reports the CBC today.

For years, the Daily Bread Food Bank has had informal relationships with Ontario farms to obtain produce they can’t market because it fails to meet buyers’ standards.

After the tax break became law, about a year ago the Daily Food Bank hired a staffer to develop formal agreements with farms in an effort to get even more fresh fruits and vegetables.

This frees money for the agency to buy more dairy and protein products, says. executive director Gail Nyberg.

Now, a hamper given out by Daily Bread or one of its partner agencies across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) contains more than 30 per cent fresh food, "and we're pushing to even have more," Nyberg told the CBC.

"We want people to get two to three days' worth of food covering all of the food groups. Giving someone a bag of crackers isn't really helping. We want to have protein, we want to have fresh fruit and vegetables, we want to have dairy."

The growing relationships with farms are paying off, she said. Between July 1 and Nov. 21 last year, the Daily Bread had collected some 181,000 pounds of food. As of today, the total is 510,000 pounds, Nyberg said.

The CBC features long-term donor Dominion Farms of Bradford in its report.

Metro sales, profits increased

Metro Inc. has reported profits of $154.9-million in its fourth quarter, up from $145.0-million a year ago,, and sales of $3.23-billion, up from $2.93-billion.

In October it made a deal to buy the Jean Coutu drug-store chain for $4.5 billion.

Metro is Canada’s third-largest supermarket chain behind Loblaws and Sobey’s.

Premium Brands buys three more

As predicted during its quarterly report about a week ago, Premium Brands has made deals to buy several more companies.

The deals are:

Buddy’s Kitchen Inc. bought from its founding family and management in Minnesota;

Raybern Foods of California, bought from TSG Consumer Partners, management and other shareholders; and

A half interest in California-based Shaw Bakers.

Buddy's makes sandwiches and other prepared meals for a variety of customers with a particular focus in the airline and convenience store channels.  

It operates two modern production facilities in the Minneapolis area, one of which is 91,000 square feet and the other 62,000 square feet.

Raybern's makes branded specialty sandwiches for the U.S. retail market and operates a modern 146,000 square foot facility in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Its line of authentic hand-held products includes top-seller Philly Cheesesteak sandwich and a wide variety of other frozen and refrigerated sandwiches and wraps.

Shaw Bakers is a manufacturer and distributor of fresh and frozen artisan breads as well as a range of sweet and savory pastries.
It operates a 67,600 square feet facility in the greater San Francisco area.
On a combined basis Buddy's, Raybern's and Shaw Bakers have annual sales of approximately $147 million Cdn.

Premium Brands owns a number of Ontario companies, including Belmont Meats and Piller’s Meats and Delicattessens.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dairy mergers continue

CanWest DHI, Canadian Dairy Network and Valacta have agreed to become partners.

They plan to become “a unified market presence” under joint management of producer services over the coming year.

Farmer owners and members of the three will be asked for approval of a governance structure.

“We have worked closely with our partners at CanWest DHI and the Canadian Dairy Network for
more than two decades and this is a natural extension of our historic working relationship”
said Valacta chairman Pierre Lampron.

The new partnership would continue to operate from their primary business locations in Guelph and Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec.

The partnership will bring together more than 500 people serving more than 11,000 dairy farms across the country.

Canadian Dairy Network chairman Norm McNaughton said “this is an important milestone in the evolution of our industry. We are demonstrating that not only can we work together across the country, we can also work together across different areas of our industry”.

CanWest and CDN are in the same Guelph building and the partners will manage four labs in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

In addition to milk recording and genetic evaluation services, the partners would continue their responsibilities for the analysis of raw milk payment and milk quality services for Dairy Farmers of Quebec, SaskMilk, Alberta Milk and the BC Milk Marketing Board as well as specialized milk analysis services.

These lab services will be in addition to the six million individual cow samples collected and tested annually by the partners.

CanWest DHI chairman Ed Friesen said “I'm proud of the leadership demonstrated by the respective
boards. They have the vision and commitment to position the dairy industry for the future and ensure
that we have the ability and infrastructure to support Canadian dairy producers and keep us globally
competitive for years to come.”

Loblaws off one hook, still on another

The federal Competition Bureau said Tuesday it has dropped an investigation into allegations that Loblaw Companies Ltd. abused its dominant position in the Canadian grocery business in its dealings with suppliers.

The Commissioner of Competition said the decision to end the case follows a three-year investigation conducted by the agency into claims that the company implemented and enforced a number of anti-competitive policies.

But the company is still under investigation related to prices of bread and perhaps other products. That investigation, which includes Canada’s two largest bread companies, one of them owned by Weston’s which also owns Loblaws, began this fall.

The now-shelved investigation responded to supplier complaints that "under its policies, Loblaw sought compensation from suppliers when its profitability decreased due to other retailers' competitive activities such as when they sold products at lower prices," the Competition Bureau said in a statement posted on its website.

"Loblaw put an end to several of these policies in January, 2016, during the Bureau's investigation."

The regulator said that while a number of suppliers suggested that the policies influenced their dealings with other retailers, the allegations were not sufficiently supported by the evidence.

The bureau said it will take action if it receives additional information and concludes that any policies are in violation of the law.

"The line between hard bargaining and anti-competitive conduct is a fine one and firms should be careful not to cross it," competition commissioner John Pecman said in a release. 

Kevin Groh, Loblaws’ vice-president for corporate affairs, said he is pleased with the decision.

"We have been an open book and made significant contributions to the bureau's review,"  he said.

"We have used the process to better understand the bureau's concerns and observations, and have simplified the way we conduct our business with suppliers. We are continuing to introduce industry-leading compliance measures."

Loblaws and Sobey’s have several times announced they will reduce the amount they will pay on invoices by one or two per cent, and apply the cuts retroactively.

Suppliers have little choice but to comply, else they would lose access to more than 70 per cent of Canadian grocery shoppers.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Russia bans Brazil’s beef and pork

Russia has temporarily banned imports of pork and beef products from some of Brazil’s companies from Dec. 1, the country’s agricultural safety watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said on Monday.
Russia said last week it was considering a ban on all pork and beef imports from Brazil after finding the feed additive ractopamine in some shipments, an allegation Brazilian meat industry groups denied.
Given the seriousness of the situation, Rosselkhoznadzor is forced to take urgent measures to protect Russian consumers and the domestic food market and introduce temporary restrictions from Dec. 1 this year,” the agency said in a statement.
Brazil Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said that only a few companies were affected by the restrictions with the rest operating as usual.

I do not consider this as a market closure, but something that happens regularly in inspections, which is what they are for,” Maggi told reporters in Brasilia.

Pork board seeks clarification

The Ontario Pork marketing board is seeking clarification of a posting on the website of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission outlining fees, including 20 cents per weaner hog.

The board notes that it has been collecting the fee since 2014.

The fee does not apply to weaners exported from the province.

NAFTA failure unlikely, study says

United States politicians won’t allow the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to fail, says the author of a report for the C.D. Howe Institute.

An end to NAFTA would hit the auto industry and agriculture so hard that politicians in Congress and the Senate won’t allow it to happen, says lead author Dan Ciuriak, a former chief economist with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

The U.S. would lose more than Canada if the negotiations fail and Trump carries through on his threats to scrap NAFTA.

About $110 billion is at stake for the three countries.

"This battle will be fought within the United States, between U.S. stakeholders, Congress and the White House, not between Canada and Mexico and the Trump administration," says the study, titled Nafta Requiem: What if the U.S. walks away?

The effects on agriculture and autos amount to "poison pills" that Congress would be unable to swallow, said Ciuriak.

"How would the Trump administration roll over the agriculture lobby plus the auto lobby to withdraw from NAFTA?" Mr. Ciuriak asked in an interview. "I just don't see the politics working for the administration on that."

Terminating the agreement would cost Mexico $25-billion in economic welfare, or the combination of a reduction in wages and income.

The comparable figure for Canada is $14.5-billion and for the U.S. is $20-billion.

The beef, pork, poultry and dairy industries in the United States would each take hits of about $1-billion in exports.

CFIA closes Blue Goose Pure Foods Inc.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has suspended the licence of Blue Goose Pure Foods Inc. of Burlington, effectively putting the company out of business until it meets CFIA standards.

The CFIA website does not specify the failures at the facility that prompted the suspension.

The company processes free-range organic chicken, beef and trout.

It buys from a number of farmers and among its customers is Sobey’s supermarket chain.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Milk regulations passed

The Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission has amended a number of milk-industry regulations.

Milk quality standards and testing protocols, which are enforced on behalf of the government by Dairy Farmers of Ontario, are amended to merge with counterparts in
Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The amendments include:

•Changing the method for calculating when bacterial content, somatic cell count and abnormal freezing point will result in a penalty and

•Instituting a warning, rather than a penalty, for the first freezing-point problem in a 12 month period.

Animal Care and Welfare regulations have been adopted, at the request of Dairy Farmers of Ontario, so care and handling can be checked as part of the on-farm inspection program. Proposed requirements include:

•A prohibition on tail docking unless it is medically necessary as determined by a veterinarian;

•Requirements related to the location and disposal of dead farm animals;
•Requirements that cattle must be:

- stabled or milked in premises that are designed in a manner that does not cause injury or lameness;

- provided a ration, including water, that maintains health and vigour;

- identified for traceability and herd management purposes; and

- provided with hoof care to ensure hooves are maintained in good condition.

The proposed amendments would allow DFO's Director of Regulatory Compliance to require a producer to obtain a written assessment from a veterinarian regarding animal care and welfare and to follow the recommendations from that veterinarian.

The dairy board asked for, and got, a number of other changes to Regulation 761 including:

•Setting out milk cooling requirements for second and subsequent millings;

•Rejection of milk by bulk tank milk graders where milk cannot be properly graded by sight and smell;

•Removing the requirement that time temperature recorders display the time and date during power interruptions; and,

•Clarifying that milk is marketed once transfer to the tank-truck has started.

Amendments to sections related to cow milk will result in a number of consequential amendments related to goat milk. 

“The amendments would be consistent with current industry norms, and provide standards for bacteria, SCC and abnormal freezing point for goat milk,” the commission says.

 “The amendments regarding the rejection of milk where it cannot be properly graded, blend temperatures and clarifying when milk is considered marketed will also apply to the goat sector to ensure consistent parameters and outcomes for both species.”