Thursday, June 30, 2022

Two Ontario AI quarantine zones lifted

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has lifted two avian influenza quarantine zones in Ontario.

One is north of Peterborough, centred around Lakefield.

The other is along Lake Erie, centred around Newbury.

The CFIA has been much slower lifting quarantines in Ontario than in Alberta and British Columbia.

Health Canada drops label for ground beef, pork

Health Canada has dropped its proposal to require labels on ground beef and pork declaring them to be high in saturated fats.

They were missing from the list of foods Health Canada will require tprocessors to label as high in saturated fat, sodium (sal)t and sugars.

The beef and pork industries lobbied vigorously against Health Canada’s labeling requirement and Health Canada relented, saying it would be confusing because it was not proposing the labeling for whole cuts.

Ground beef and pork are now in an exemption category, but Health Canada said labels might be required if processors add saturated fat or certain spices.


World milk production declining

High production costs have prompted a decline of seven-tenths of one per cent in milk production in the world’s seven largest dairy-exporting nations, reports Rabobank.

The seven are the United States, the European Union, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.

“The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has caused grains and oilseeds – among several other agricultural commodities and products – to reach unprecedented price levels,” according to Rabobank. 

“Although fertiliser is flowing from Russian ports, prices remain elevated, resulting in higher feed costs. Producers purchasing feed off-farm will be more susceptible to inflated agricultural commodity prices than producers that grow their own feed.”

Although fertiliser is flowing from Russian ports, prices remain elevated, resulting in higher feed costs.

Also, the current logistical and financial challenges surrounding shipping make imported feeds very expensive, reducing producers’ margins.

“On the plus side, strong farmgate prices are partially offsetting rising input costs, with May’s weighted average EU raw milk price up by 3% month-on-month to EUR 47.36 per 100 kg,” Rabobank said. 

“In the US, milk production increases are stunted by a smaller dairy herd year-on-year, which is expected to be on par this fall.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Canada bans dogs from many countries


Canada has announced a ban on importing dogs from a long list of countries deemed to present a high risk of rabies infection.

The list is:


  • Algeria, Angola
  • Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi
  • Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia
  • Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho, Liberia, Libya
  • Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique
  • Namibia, Niger, Nigeria
  • Republic of Congo, Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan
  • Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Togo, Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Western Sahara
  • Zambia, Zimbabwe

Americas and Caribbean

  • Belize, Bolivia, Brazil
  • Colombia, Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador, El Salvador
  • Guatemala, Guyana
  • Haiti, Honduras
  • Peru
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela

Asia and the Middle East, Eastern Europe 

  • Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh, Belarus, Brunei
  • Cambodia, China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan)
  • Georgia
  • India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos, Lebanon
  • Malaysia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma)
  • Nepal, North Korea
  • Oman
  • Pakistan, Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria
  • Tajikistan, Thailand, Türkiye, Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam
  • Yemen

This list is reviewed regularly and is subject to change. ,the Canadian Fod Inspection Agency said.




The Canadian government has offered $52 million to Ukraine for grain storage and laboratory equipment.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced the funding during a G7 meeting in Germany.

Agriculture minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said she let Ukrainian agriculture minister Mykola Solskyi know the help is coming. 

“He was very happy to hear the news,” she said.

Solskyi earlier told the House of Commons standing committee that Ukraine needs temporary grain storage.

Russia has continued to destroy grain facilities, including a soybean facility owned by Viterra.

Bibeau said a call for proposals has gone out for the purchase and installation of food or agricultural product storage including mobile silos. That will account for $50 million.

The remaining $2 million will be spent on lab equipment to test for animal diseases and other export requirements.

Ukraine’s grain exports are down by 44 per cent so far this year.

Roundup loses another court case

Bayer won four recent lower-court decisions in favour of Roundup weed killer, but lost a big one when the United States Supreme Court denied the company’s bid to overturn an $87-million award to a California couple who claimed Roundup caused their cancers.

Bayer has argued that the cancer claims over Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate go against sound science and product clearance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Bayer’s appeal in the Pilliod case raised an additional challenge, arguing that it would violate the U.S. Constitution’s due process protections to award punitive damages that far outweigh compensatory damages.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Farmers missing too much sleep

 Researchers at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln (UNL) found that planting, harvest and calving season shave off 28 minutes of farmer’s sleep each night.

Susan Harris, UNL extension educator, and Amanda Prokasky, assistant professor of education and child development at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, found this sleep deficit is a recipe for disaster.

They recommend taking a nap.

“Half an hour less sleep in one night is no big deal,” says Prokasky. “But when you start subtracting 30 minutes of sleep every night for four to six weeks during a busy season, that sleep deficit can become pretty significant.”

To complete the study, 40 agriculture workers wore a wrist monitor that continuously recorded data on motion and activity for one week during a busy season and one week during a slower and more routine week.

They found that farmers not only spent 28 fewer minutes sleeping, but they also spent 25 fewer minutes in bed.

According to another farmer sleep study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, farmers who sleep fewer than 7.5 hours per night increase their risk of injury by 61 per cent.

NIH also found that decreased sleep results in decreased stability, making it 7.4 times more likely that you’ll have poor, inconsistent balance.

To avoid on-farm incidents, Harris and Prokasky suggest producers:

1.    Take a brief break—even if it’s 15 minutes.

2.    Consider a nap—research shows a 20-to-30-minute nap will improve mood, sharpen focus and reduce fatigue without leaving you feeling groggy.

3.    Adjust your schedule.

Rural Ontario suffering because of discrimination

A new study from the University of Western Ontario has found that racism is hurting small towns and rural communities.

The authors say these communities need to learn and practice cultural acceptance and racial tolerance in order to counter their own economic and demographic decline. 

I think it's part and parcel of rural conservative attitudes and politics - i.e. resistance to change and messages from the "elites" in the media, universities and government.

The research team surveyed hundreds of immigrants, Indigenous and racialized people in nine regions in southwestern Ontario, including the London, Hamilton, St. Thomas, Guelph, Sarnia and Niagara regions, and their outlying rural communities.

Victoria Esses, a psychology professor and the director of the Network for Economic and Social Trends at Western, said results of the study suggest greater incidents of discrimination in smaller communities, compared to medium-sized cities, because of the monolithic nature of rural life. 

"People in those communities have less experience with immigrants and diversity and they may feel uncomfortable around people from different cultures."

The study found 80 per cent of Indigenous people in more than half the regions reported experiencing discrimination within the last three years, compared to 60 per cent of immigrants or racialized people. 

Esses said she believes Indigenous people faced higher rates of discrimination because of well-established negative stereotypes and a lack of direct contact with Indigenous people and culture by those living in rural communities.

Esses told CBC Radio that the survey highlights the chilling effect acts of discrimination can have on engagement in small town life for people of diverse backgrounds.

"You disengage from the community, you don't get involved in that community and I would say you wouldn't have a very great view of that community," she said. 

While most of the discrimination was reported at work, many of them also experienced it in public settings, such as in banks, restaurants, public transit, libraries and community centres. 

"We need diversity training," she said. "One of the problems in small communities is they don't have a lot of exposure to diverse communities.

"There are a lot of people out there who have goodwill but they don't know how to intervene when they witness discrimination. So they do nothing or they turn away in embarrassment.

"Providing people with training and tools to intervene effectively and safely I would say would be a big help in reducing discrimination." 

Belated recall of gelato

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has detected norovirus in Gelato Artigianale al gusto di Raspberry Gelato sold
 at Angelo's Italian Market Inc., 755 Wonderland Road North, London, Ont., up to and including June 14.

It has no reports of anyone falling ill from consuming the gelato.

I suppose it's better late with the information than not at all.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

PED in Oxford County


A farrow-to-finish operation in Oxford County is coping with an outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus.

It follows close on an outbreak in a finisher operation in Lambton County.

Usually outbreaks are at a seasonal low during summer because the virus is curbed by heat.

Friday, June 24, 2022

PED outbreak in Lambton County


There has been an outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in a finishing operation in Lambton County.

It is the first outbreak since May 13 when a finishing barn in the Niagara Region was hit.

Avian flu appears over in Ontario

There have been no new outbreaks of highly-pathogenic avian influenza in Ontario since May 18, leaving the poultry industry breathing a bit easier.

Since the beginning of the outbreak on March 25, there have been 20 commercial and six small flocks infected.

Seven flocks are from the four Ontario poultry marketing boards.  One was a large duck operation.

Recovery is now well underway, reports the Feather Board Command Centre.

Due to the successful completion of specific disease response milestone activities as prescribed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), infected zones (the thee-kilometre zone around infected premises) have now been released for all but two zones. 

Post outbreak surveillance is in progress in several of the quarantine zones. 

Farmers within those zones must submit weekly responses to CFIIA’s Flock Health Questionnaires.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Pork industry helps storm-stricken food bank

                         MPP David Smith at the food bank

Pork producers in Peterborough-Kawartha have stepped up with a $2,500 donation to the local food bank, matched by the Ontario Pork marketing board with additional support from Conestoga Meats of Breslau.

The donations will go to replace food lost during the May 21 storm that knocked out electricity needed to keep foods frozen or refrigerated.

Dave Malcolm, president of the local pork association, rallied fellow producers when the pork board put out the call after being contscted by Dave Smith, the local member of the legislature.

Almost 1,500 kilograms of Ontario-grown pork tenderloin was delivered to Kawartha Food Share on June 20 for distribution to the organization’s member agencies.

“In the aftermath of a devastating storm that forced food banks across our community to throw out stores of produce and meat, local farmers stepped up – despite damage to their own farms,” said Smith.

“Their generosity shows us once again that our hardworking farmers are responsible and devoted members of our community. I cannot thank them enough,” he said.

Malcolm said family farms in the Kawartha Lakes region weren’t spared by the storm. 

While people and animals were safe, several buildings were heavily damaged and farm operations had to rely on generators for several days.

Despite this, Malcolm and his fellow farmers stepped up to meet the need in their community.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Senate bill aims to break up meat giants

A bill to investigate big meatpacking companies has passed out of committee to the Senate in the United States.

The Meat Packing Special Investigator Act would create an Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters within U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Packers and Stockyards Division.

The legislation would equip a team of investigators with subpoena power, dedicated to preventing and addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and enforcing antitrust laws. 

The investigators would coordinate with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to protect the food supply and increase national security. 

An amendment to the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, and supported by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, puts a professional civil servant,  not a political appointee, in charge.

Food prices up by 9.7 per cent

Food prices were 9.7 per cent higher in May than a year ago, reports Statistics Canada.

But there has been no change since April.

Energy prices are up by 34.8 per cent.

The Consumer Price Index is up by 7.7 per cent compared with 6.3 per cent in April. It’s considered the best measure of inflation.

The inflation rate is now higher than it has been since 1983. That’s when interest rates spiked to 20 per cent and more.

Viterra’s Ukraine terminal on fire

 Viterra's Everi terminal in Ukraine's southern port city of Mykolaiv is on fire after being hit in an attack, according to Reuters news agency.

There were no fatalities and one employee reportedly suffered minor burns.

Seven Russian missiles hit Mykolaiv on Wednesday, regional governor Vitaliy Kim said earlier.

Kellogg’s splitting three ways

 Kellogg’s is splitting into three companies and will put its focus on snacks.

The Morningstar plant-based foods business is one and may be put up for sale.

The third is for breakfast cereals.

The cereals and Morningstar will remain in Battle Creek, Michigan, and the snack foods will be managed from Kellogg’s Chicago offices.

The company’s plant at London, Ont., closed in 2014.

Milk price to increase 2.5 per cent

The Canadian Dairy Commission sis hikng milk prices by 2.5 per cent on Sept. 1.

It’s a rare mid-year increase requested by milk producers to offset rising costs, especially for feed.

They got an 8.7 per cent increase on Feb. 1.

The commission recommended that provincial milk marketing boards increase the price of milk by $1.92 per hectolitre. That’s for milk used to produce dairy products such as butter and cheese. 

The Ontario board answers only to the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission for increases to fluid milk prices which goes into retail milks. 

It has been asked, but refused to answer, inquiries about an increase to fluid milk prices earlier this year. I have been waiting for months for a reply to a Freedom-of-Information request for correspondence between the commission and the milk board on pricing.

The CDC on Tuesday separately announced an increase to its support price for butter, also effective Sept. 1, boosting that rate from to $10.0206/kg, up from $9.7923.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Grain commission making changes


The Canadian Grain Commission has announced a number of changes that take effect July 1.


Mildew standard samples for Canadian Eastern Red Spring wheat are being replaced.

The update for  No. 1 and No. 2 CERS follows years of research which indicated mildew had “minimal impact on flour yield and refinement, dough properties and baking quality,” the commission said.

There is no change for other grades “as it can provide additional quality protection to accompany sprout tolerances,” the commission said.

In Western Canada, declarations will be required for wheats being produced, then marketed, under variety registration. Exemptions for Eastern Canada continue for 2022-23.

To qualify for the highest grades, coloured beans must be grown from seed that has completed the variety registration process. That applies to black, cranberry, pinto, red kidney, red Mexican and yellow eye beans.

Split pea tolerances will be increased from one to three per cent.

Canola standards are being tightened from five to one per cent admixtures of No. 1, 2 and 4 grades.

The allowable broken deduction for canola is being increased from .75 to .8 of one per cent.

The tolerance for excreta in the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 grades of domestic mustard seed is being updated from 1 kernel-size piece per 500 grams to 0.01% effective August 1, 2022.

The commission said “this change is to bring it in line with excreta tolerances for other official grains while ensuring stringent quality control.”





Maryland researchers advance plant breeding technology

A research team at the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has learned how to use CRISPR technology to manipulate several genes at once.

Until now the technology has been used to edit one gene at a time, either knocking it out or turning it off or on.

The researchers say this will advance plant breeding to a new level.

“The possibilities are really limitless in terms of the traits that can be combined,” said Yiping Qi, an associate professor in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and co-author of the study. 

He imagined a blight spreading through wheat fields and scientists being able to remove a gene from the wheat that makes it susceptible to the blight and simultaneously turning on genes that shorten the plant’s life cycle and increase seed production.

They could rapidly produce blight-resistant wheat before the disease had the chance to do too much damage, Qi said.


Roundup wins a fourth court case

A jury has decided that Bayer’s Roundup did not cause an Oregon man’s cancer. 

The decision, delivered in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Ore., marked the fourth-consecutive win in court for the company.

“The jury’s unanimous verdict in favor of the company brings this trial to a successful conclusion and is consistent with the evidence in this case that Roundup does not cause cancer and was not the cause of Mr. Johnson’s (one of the plaintiffs) cancer,” Bayer said in a prepared statement. 

“While we have great sympathy for Mr. Johnson, the jury has weighed the evidence from both sides in this case and concluded that Roundup is not responsible for his injuries,” the statement said.

Other court cases have gone against Bayer and juries have awarded plaintiffs with millions of dollars in compensation. One jury awarded $250 million in punitive damages, but later courts reduced the total in that case to less than $80 million.

In June, 2020, the company said it would set aside $10 billion to settle lawsuits.

CFIA Winnipeg lab wins global recognition

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s lab at Winnipeg has won global recognition as one of seven reference labs for foreign animal diseases, including African Swine Fever.

The seven global labs are designated as World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) Reference Laboratories.

The CFIA said it learned of the designation last week and it included Dr. Aruna Ambagala as Canada's designated expert for African Swine Fever.

"These laboratories play a critical role in the international monitoring and control of animal diseases, in applied research, as well as in providing support for diagnosis, training and advice to member countries," CFIA said.

"This designation by the WOAH is a sign of Canada's scientific excellence and demonstrates Canada's increasing ability, capacity, and readiness to detect and respond to an outbreak of ASF as well as support global efforts to manage the disease."

Monday, June 20, 2022

Province is placing rabies vaccines

The province has begun to place rabies vaccines in urban areas frequented by skunks and raccoons and will be dropping them from aircraft in rural areas.

The urban baiting will last into September in  Brant, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Norfolk, Ohsweken, Oxford, Waterloo and Wellington. Baiting will also occur in the city of Cornwall and Cornwall Island in mid-August.

.Baits are not distributed near schools, playgrounds, or where children are likely to be present.

The government said “baiting is an important part of our rabies control plan – one of the most successful in North America.”

Baiting by aircraft will start August 7 in St. Lawrence in Frontenac and Leeds & Grenville counties, and August 15 in Brant, Brantford, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Niagara, Norfolk, Ohsweken, Oxford, Waterloo and Wellington. All baiting dates are subject to change depending on weather conditions.

Since 2015, the ministry has distributed more than 7.5 million vaccine baits and tested more than 25,000 wildlife samples. This action has contained the original outbreak to within 65 kilometres of the original case and the number of positive cases has dropped by 95 per cent since 2016.

The khaki-green coloured bait is made of wax-fat and smells like marshmallow to attract animals. A label with a toll-free telephone number (1-888-574-6656) and the message “Do not eat” are printed on the bait, and a plastic package containing the liquid rabies vaccine is embedded in the centre. If found, the bait should not be touched, but left for raccoons, skunks and foxes to consume.

Court orders a new glyphosate review

 An appeals court in California has ordered the United States Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a new review of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and similar weed killers.

In a 3-0 decision, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with several environmental, farmworker and food-safety advocacy groups that the EPA did not adequately consider whether glyphosate causes cancer and threatens endangered species.

The litigation began after the EPA reauthorized the use of glyphosate in January 2020.

Groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety and the Rural Coalition, which represents farmworkers, faulted the agency for approving glyphosate despite its alleged harms to agriculture, farmers exposed during spraying, and wildlife such as the monarch butterfly.

Circuit Judge Michelle Friedland wrote for the Pasadena, California-based appeals court that the EPA did not properly justify its findings that glyphosate did not threaten human health and was unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans. She also faulted aspects of the agency’s approval process.

Health community pushes meat labeling

 Canada’s health community has launched a lobbying campaign to counter a lobbying campaign by the Canadian beef and pork industries.

At issue is a Health Canada proposal to label ground meat as high in saturated fat.

The beef and pork industries fear it will reduce sales. The health lobby said the labeling is needed so consumers will know the risks presented by eating a lot of saturated fats.

Health Canada has yet to publish its proposals, but the meat industry with backing from the Alberta government and the federal Conservate Party has been lobbying for an exemption.

Health Canada has been pondering warning labels about saturated fats, sugar and salt.

Infant formula recall – again


Shoppers Drug Mart is recalling Similac baby formula made by Abbott Laboratories in Michigan because of contamination with salmonella and Coronobacter sakazakii.

This is a new recall. There was a previous recall of almost all of the company’s infant formulas because of salmonella food-poisoning bacteria in the manufacturing plant.

It was cleaned and sanitized and went back into production, but was shut down again last week because of flooding. It once again has to undergo cleaning and sanitation.

The new recall was triggered after an investigation that ensued after consumers complained their infants got sick. There have been no similar complaints in Canada, said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Chicken company runs short of feed

 Foster Farms, a large chicken-production business in California, is running short of feed and so is asking the federal government to issue an emergency order to Union Pacific Railway to deliver corn from the mid-west.

An emergency order would force the railway to give priority to moving corn to Foster Farms.

Trains magazine reported that Foster Farms  has faced repeated service disruptions that left it short of feed to “the point has been reached when millions of chickens will be killed and other livestock will suffer because of UP’s service failures."

Specifically, Foster Farms’ facilities in Traver and Turlock, Calif. rely on a 100-car Union Pacific route that transports corn from the Midwest; Foster Farms then uses the corn for feed on its chicken and turkey farms.

Since February of this year, however, Union Pacific’s service failures have resulted in “numerous instances” of Foster Farms suspending production, and the processor has incurred “considerable costs” in seeking alternate transportation modes, Trains magazine reported.



Sunday, June 19, 2022

Revive smoothies on recall


Revive Organics Inc. of the Toronto area is recalling smoothies that contain raspberries because they might be contaminated with novovirus.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency identified the problem and is supervising the nation-wide recall.

It said it has no reports of consumers falling ill.