Saturday, September 28, 2019

Diced chicken under recall

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has ordered recalls on a number of cooked diced chicken products.

The agency said it has detected listeria monocytogenes bacteria in the products and said an ongoing investigation may lead to additional recalls.

So far the list is:
Tip Top Poultry, Inc.
Cooked Chicken Meat, Natural Proportion (1/2" Diced) (#15332)
13.64 kg
PACK DATE 07/29/19
Reuven International, Ltd.
Cooked Chicken Meat (Diced) (#16307)
4.54 kg
PACK DATE 07/29/19
Reuven International, Ltd.
Mostly Dark Cooked Chicken Meat (Diced) (#18307) 
4.54 kg
PACK DATE 07/29/19
Reuven International, Ltd.
Mostly Dark Cooked Chicken Meat (Diced) (#18507)
4.54 kg
PACK DATE 07/29/19
½" Cooked Diced Chicken (#16385)
4.54 kg
000 74865 54485 6
PACK DATE 07/29/19
½" Mostly Dark Cooked Diced Chicken (#18385)
4.54 kg
007 34730 08984 3
PACK DATE 07/29/19
AlimPlus Inc.
Cooked Diced Chicken Meat – 13 mm – ½"(#16338)
4 kg
PACK DATE 07/29/19

Metro recalling deli products

Metro supermarket chain, which also operates Food Basics stores, is recalling deli products because listeria monocytogenes has been detected in some.

The recall is for:
Brand Name
Common Name
Code(s) on Product
Snack Delights Small (serves 8-10) 1un
1 count
0260911 729999
All Best Before dates up to and including 2019.SE28
Snack Delights Large (serves 11-16) 1un
1 count
0260910 949992
All Best Before dates up to and including 2019.SE28
Fresh 2 Go Snack and Grab Party Tray 450 g
1 count
0222136 414999
All Best Before dates up to and including 2019.OC02
Frsh 2 Go Premium Kolbassa Sausage-Cheese Tray 760 g
1 count
0221922 119995
All Best Before dates up to and including 2019.OC02

Friday, September 27, 2019

Texans guilty of prison meat fraud

Two executives at West Texas Provisions Inc. have pleaded guilty to selling more than $1 million of adulterated meat, including whole cow hearts labeled as ground beef, to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Company president Jeffery Neal Smith, 49, and operations manager Derrick Martinez, 43, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to defraud the United States and could face prison sentences as long as five years.

They have admitted to selling more than 775,000 pounds of uninspected, misbranded or adulterated meat to 32 prison institutions in 18 states for $1,011,166.72.

McDonald’s to test Beyond Meat pattie

McDonald’s Canada will soon launch a test of a Beyond Meat pattie.

The test will be in about 100 outlets in Southwestern Ontario, including London and Sarnia, and may lead to global sales in about 100 countries.

The test begins a week after Tim Horton’s dropped Beyond Meat patties and sausages from its outlets, with the exception of British Columbia and Ontario.

More than a year ago, Beyond Meat made its Canadian fast-food restaurant debut via A&W outlets.

McDonald’s will call it PLT, for protein, lettuce and tomato. It will be priced at $6.49.

In 2002, McDonald’s introduced Veggie Deluxe burgers made mainly of soybean protein. It withdrew them in 2005.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Cargill profits slide 10 per cent

Cargill’s first-quarter profits declined by 10 per cent to $915 million, despite strength in beef and eggs.

During the quarter, Cargill said it invested an additional $75 million in Puris, the largest manufacturer of pea protein in North America. 

Cargill also formed a commercial partnership with InnovaFeed, which produces protein from insects for feed. The companies jointly will market the insects as fish feed.

CFIA suspends St. Ann’s meats

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has suspended two licences held by St. Ann’s Foods of Toronto, a significant beef packing operation.

The CFIA said the plant will be shut down until it complies with regulations and standards.

A week ago the CFIA suspended the licence of Ryding-Regency, also of Toronto and the third-largest beef-packing plant in the province.

The two suspended St. Ann's licences are for Canadian Select Meats Inc. and The Beef Boutique Ltd.

China buying U.S. soybeans

China has placed orders for about 600,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans this week, and has offered them tariff-free delivery.

It’s seen as a goodwill gesture before more trade negotiations next week.

The soybeans will move on 10 ships that will likely arrive in China between October and December.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Joanne Foot joins Animal Care Review Board

A Toronto lawyer, Joanne Foot, has been appointed to a three-year term on the Animal Care Review Board which oversees the Ontario Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals.

The OSPCA is undergoing a major overhaul which included pulling out of farm scrutiny. That is now in the lap of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs which is pondering options.

Foot is currently a member of the Administrative Penalties Tribunal for Toronto. For more than 20 years she worked for   Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, rising to partner specializing in corporate law.

She is involved in continuing education programs and community events. 

Foot becomes the 26th person appointed to the review board.
Goodness knows why they need so many, but it's sure going to be difficult for the voice of farmers to be heard.

Pets will no doubt get plenty of attention.

Chicken pricing mediation fails

Mediation has failed to result in a pricing deal between the Chicken Farmers of Ontario marketing board and the Association of Ontario Chicken Processors.

The issue will now go to the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission which, the board said, “has previously committed to holding hearings if there was no agreement reached in mediation.”

Former Superior Court Justice Frank Newbould was the mediator.

Pig manure lawsuits continue

Smithfield Foods Inc. has sued its insurance company for failure to cover a court award of $100 million to residents who complained about hog manure odours.

The $100-million award is also undergoing a court appeal.

The insurance company claims its policies do not cover Murphy-Brown hog-farming operations, owned by Smithfield, for manure odours.

Smithfield argues the policies do cover all issues related to manure.

Matters vary across the United States. In Illinois and Arkansas pollution is covered by insurance; in Minnesota manure odours are not included.

The situation is not yet clear in North Carolina where the hog manure odours in question arose.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Chicken farmers match food bank donations

Ontario’s chicken farmers have increased their commitment to feeding hungry people.

This week, any donations made online to Feed Ontario will be matched by the CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program.

“Chicken farmers understand that there are people in our communities that need a little help,” said marketing board chairman Ed Benjamins. 

“That’s why hundreds of chicken farming families donate fresh premium Ontario chicken to food banks each year through the CFO Cares: Farmers to Food Banks program,” he said.

“Matching online donations to Feed Ontario mean
s that more children, families, and individuals will be able to access the nutrition they need. With Thanksgiving around the corner, this is our way of spreading a little good.”

CFO kicked off Hunger Action Month a few weeks ago, with three foodbank events in the London area to help raise awareness and strengthen relationships with stakeholders and government.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Marilyn Lorenz joins Agricorp board

Marilyn Lorenz has been appointed to a two-year term on the board of directors for Agricorp.

She has worked in the business administration office at the University of Guelph where she helped entrepreneurs establish businesses based on the university’s research.

She is currently chief operating officer for a neuroscience company.

Sheep board engages Dr. Deb Stark as advisor

Dr. Deb Stark, a former deputy minister of OMAFRA who was also the province’s first chief veterinarian, has signed onto Ontario Sheep Farmers as an advisor to the board of directors.

It’s the first time an Ontario farm organization has taken on such a high-powered executive as an advisor to the board.

Marc Carere, chairman of the board of Ontario Sheep, said that the creative approach to do things differently.

The sheep industry has gone through bouts of turmoil with clashes between those who aim to develop large-volume flocks and advanced technologies versus long-established shepherds who run smaller flocks and pursue more traditional stewardship approaches.

“We recognized that there’s a lot of issues that keep coming to our industry,” Carere said. 

It’s not clear how many meetings Stark will attend; she might be engaged as a public spokesperson for the industry.

There's no doubt she's one smart cookie.

Chinese pull out of farm tour

In what some are calling a snub, a delegation from China pulled out of a tour of United States farms before visits in Nebraska and Montana.

But the New York Times cited anonymous sources who said the Chinese delegation canceled the farm visits only out of concern that it would become a “media circus” and falsely imply that Beijing was meddling in U.S. domestic politics.

High-level trade talks are to resume in early October.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Ontario egg board faces $7-million fine

The Egg Farmers of Ontario marketing board is facing two fines totalling more than $7 million for exceeding production limits.

Egg Farmers of Ontario notes in its current financial report that it has assessed $3,016,697 in “liquidated damages” against the Ontario board for 2016 and another $4,187,547  for 2017.

The financial-report footnote 12 says “There is a process related to the assessment of the LDA (liquidated damages assessment) and the process is currently continuing.”

Ontario has been aggressive in setting production targets, including a special “nest-run” program for eggs that go directly to processing.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Politicians to debate farm policy

The leading political parties will debate agriculture policy in an on-line forum hosted by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture early Tuesday evening.

Representatives from the Liberal Party of Canada, Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party and the Green Party of Canada will be debating their policy positions.
It can be found online on the CFA Facebook page and on YouTube.
There are also some local debates scheduled in Moorefield and Monkton for Perth-Wellington candidates.

Ryding-Regency shut down

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has suspended the licence for Ryding-Regency beef-packing plant in Toronto.

The agency said the licence will remain suspended, effectively shutting the plant down, until it comes into compliance with federal meat-inspection regulations.

It did not specify what it deemed lacking.

Friday, September 20, 2019

U.S. Agriculture Secretaries urge ratification

All former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Ronald Reagan’s administration have declared their support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). 

They send a letter to leaders in Congress, urging them to approve the deal.

It said “We need a strong and reliable trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA.” 

The letter was sent by former Secretaries John Block, who served under Reagan, Mike Espy and Dan Glickman who served under Bill Clinton and Ann Veneman, Mike Johanns  and Ed Shafer who served under George W. Bush, and Tom Vilsack who served under Barrack Obama.

U.S. China trade talks resume

Second-tier Chinese officials are in Washington, D.C. today preparing the way for a meeting of top-level trade officials to come at an indefinite date later.

And some Chinese officials are touring U.S. farms, said Agriculture Department Secretary Sonny Perdue. He said it’s an effort to “build goodwill,” but did not offer any details about the trip.

He said he doesn’t know if Beijing plans to make an announcement about additional purchases of U.S. farm goods during the visit.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Veterinarians join to address African Swine Fever

Government veterinarians from across North, South and Central America have formed a working group to address the threat of African Swine Fever.

The group will ‘coordinate efforts to prevent the spread of African swine fever in the Americas region,’ the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said. 

The new group was formed Tuesday at a meeting of the OIE and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Panama City. 

OIE in May launched a global initiative for the control of ASF, in part by strengthening countries’ prevention and preparation efforts. 

Joining like groups in other regions of the world, the formation of a Standing Group of Experts on ASF in the Americas comes as the region is free of the disease, in hopes of preventing the disastrous effects of the deadly pig virus that have been seen in Europe and more recently in Asia, particularly in China.  

With projections that as much as half of China’s hog herd will succumb to ASF by the end of the year, pork is already in short supply there, and skyrocketing prices prompted the government to release 10,000 tonnes of pork from its reserves this week. 

The 10th Meeting of the GF TADs Steering Committee of the Americas gathered 15 OIE delegates and senior authorities, as well as regional organizations representing North, Central and South America. 

Discussions led to the creation of the Americas group. Included in the new group, on an ad hoc basis, will be internationally recognized ASF or swine disease experts with experience working in Europe or Asia, OIE officials said.

$12 million bee research centre for Guelph

The University of Guelph said it has raised almost half the $12 million it needs for its plans to become North America’s  leading bee research centre.

The university said “a recent transformational gift from the Riviere Charitable Foundation will cover a substantial portion of the cost. A fundraising campaign has been launched to further support the initiative and raise an additional $6 million."

“The University of Guelph leads the world in honey bee research and conservation,” said university president Franco Vaccarino.

Its honey bee research goes back more than 120 years and “we are uniquely positioned to help make a difference, and this donation recognizes and celebrates our research strength and our innovativeness to find sustainable solutions,” Vaccarino said.

“Our plan is to integrate the new centre within parts of U of G known for nature, food production and sustainability,” said Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College.

“Anyone interested in honey bee health and management will be able to come and explore their interests in a state-of-the-art facility,” he said.

World-renowned experts in conservation and bee health hold U of G research chairs – notably the Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation and the Pinchin Family Chair in Bee Health – that boost research and awareness of the plight of pollinators. 

This includes environmental sciences professor Ernesto Guzman, known globally for his research on bee disease, who holds the Pinchin chair and is director of the Honey Bee Research Centre.

Ford goes to Japan

It may be no coincidence that Ontario Premier Doug Ford is on a trade mission to Japan.

The federal Conservatives want to distance themselves from unpopular Ford, and the distance to Japan seems about right.

Meanwhile, Conservative leader Andrew Sheer seems intent on repeating Ford's follies.
Recall that the first thing Ford did was cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy by $3.6 billion.
Sheer has promised to cut taxes by $6.=1 billion.

Then Ford promised spending increases for goodies. Sheer seems to be unveiling expensive goodies every day.

So when Ford took office, he said that balancing the budget would require spending cuts. Surprise, surprise! 

Want to bet that Sheer won't want to cut the deficit if he's elected?

And where do the cuts fall? Ford targeted things such as support for refugees, legal aid, and services for the poor and marginalized. Recall the autism outrage?

Maybe Sheer should be in Japan with Ford.

Tim’s drops Beyond Meat

Tim Horton’s has dropped Beyond Meat sausages and patties from its breakfast menus in all Canadian stores except in Ontario and British Columbia.

Apparently Canadians in most provinces and territories prefer real meat to the vegetable proteins and additives used to produce Beyond Meat substitutes.

I think they teste like spiced sawdust.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Beef farmers lobby politicians

The Ontario and Quebec beef-producer organizations are lobbying the political parties engaged in election campaigning to promise help to offset export losses.

The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) and Les Producteurs de bovins du Qu├ębec (PBQ) want a Beef Cattle Investment and Assistance Program.

They also draw attention to the generous trade-related subsidies promised to dairy and poultry farmers. 

“The loss of key export markets in China and Saudi Arabia, combined with reduced processing capacity in Eastern Canada and market access challenges in the U.S. and the E.U., has created a perfect storm,” said Joe Hill, president of Beef Farmers of Ontario.

“Beef farmers have incurred losses of more than $180 per animal since the beginning of January, largely as a result of government action and inaction. 

“Collective beef cattle farm losses in the two provinces have exceeded $100 million since the start of the year. 

“On the cattle feeding side alone, the industry is losing more than $2.5 million per week on average, which is simply not sustainable. Something needs to be done,” Hill said.

 Claude Viel, chairman of Les Producteurs de bovins du Quebec, said “current trade opportunities should favour the growth of beef production, but in reality, this is not the case. Quebec’s cattle production volume is declining and continues to get worse. 

“The new trade agreements do not currently encourage better farm profitability, quite the contrary,” he said.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

African Swine Fever spreads to South Korea

South Korea has found African Swine Fever near its border with North Korea, and has culled 4,000 hogs to prevent it from spreading.

The outbreak comes about four months after North Korea reported its first case.

The disease has spread in all directions out of China which has lost about half of its hogs to the disease.

Monday, September 16, 2019

PIC rejects show merger

The Poultry Industry Council has rejected the idea of merging its annual show with the Canadian Poultry XPO planned for Stratford late next year.

The Canadian Poultry Council and the Western Fair District recently invited the XPO organizers to a meeting and “after reviewing the presentation by XPO organizers, (the Poultry industry Council) has decided not to participate or collaborate with the show that’s planned for Stratford in late 2020, and will have no official affiliation with the event, the council said in a news release.

 “PIC does not believe there is value to collaborate with the Canadian Poultry XPO event,” said council chairman Ed Verkley. 

“We will not be working together as we see little net benefit for PIC members based on a presentation to the PIC board by Poultry XPO organizers.”

The Canadian Poultry XPO is being launched by the organizers of the Canadian Dairy XPO at Stratford, Jordon and Donna Underhill