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Canada’s CFIA & USA’s FDA Have Signed a Memorandum of Understanding

From: Food in Canada

College Park, Md. – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have agreed to collaborate.

The two agencies announced in a press release that they “have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will facilitate the sharing of food safety information and data, and enable collaborative research projects.”

For a look at the MOU, click here.

Paul Mayers, vice-president of the Science Branch of the CFIA, says in the statement that the two countries already share a strong tie, which “allows us to work together to find innovative and cooperative ways to share information and data in respect to food safety. This collaborative approach to information sharing builds on our individual strengths while expanding our combined knowledge.”

The purpose of the MOU, which was signed at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition campus, is to help both countries collaborate on food safety science.

The MOU is expected to give scientists on both sides of the border access to greater food safety information and data, which will bolster innovation and advance research.

Federal Government Invests in Canadian Livestock Health

From: Food in Canada

Guelph, Ont. – Canada’s federal government is supporting livestock health with an investment of $1.31 million.

In a statement, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) says the investment was made to the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC) “to help ensure the safe transportation of livestock, develop emergency management tools for the livestock industry and improve animal care assessments.”

Jennifer MacTavish, the chair of the CAHC, says in the statement that the organization appreciates the support. She adds that the funding will help “develop Canada’s Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals and affiliated animal care assurance programs.”

The CAHC is a non-profit organization serving Canada’s farmed animal industry. The organization is a partnership of cross-sectorial organizations, all recognizing a shared responsibility for an effective animal health system.

The investment will be divided between four projects, as noted in the statement, including:

  • Up to $223,929 to develop a new livestock transport on-line certification program that will simplify, standardize and provide an opportunity for truckers, shippers and receivers to more easily access the training necessary to improve handling practices.
  • Up to $160,713 to update the Transportation Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals during transport.
  • Up to $813,200 to develop an emergency management plan for the Canadian livestock industry to help mitigate, to respond to, and to recover from major hazard emergencies.
  • Up to $112,180 to revise the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s animal care assessment program to meet the new Code of Practice for hatching eggs, breeders, chickens and turkeys. The project will strengthen the poultry industry’s capacity to respond to ever increasing demand by markets to demonstrate effective animal care standards.

Ontario’s Supports Conestoga Meat Packers

From: Food in Canada

Breslau, Ont. – Conestoga Meat Packers has received a financial boost from the province of Ontario. In a statement, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced that it is investing $5.3 million to help the company “boost productivity and expand its pork processing capacity by 86 per cent.” The investment is expected to create 170 new jobs at the facility in Breslau.

“Our government is proud to support the continued growth of Ontario’s food processing sector, an important driver of our economy,” said Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of Agriculture, in the statement. “This support will help Conestoga Meat Packers increase its productivity, enhance competitiveness and create good jobs in Waterloo Region.” Conestoga Meat began processing farm-fresh pork in 1982. Today it is Ontario’s second-largest pork processor and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Progressive Pork Producers Co-operative Inc., a co-op of 157 southwestern Ontario hog producers. The government investment was made through Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund. With the funding Conestoga Meat “will purchase leading-edge equipment that will almost double its meat processing capacity.”

For more information on the Conestoga Meat Packers, check out their website: www.conestogameats.com

Building the Ontario Beef Brand 

From: BLOCKtalk Magazine 

According to BLOCKtalk Magazine, “2017 will mark an exciting year for the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) as the organization makes a significant shift in the role they play in the development and implementation of regional marketing initiatives throughout Ontario”. BLOCKtalk discusses the strong demand for Ontario beef in the consumer market and how we must bridge the gap between farmers, processors and urban customers when paying for local beef products. 

Click here to learn more about the BFO and how they are reaching out to their consumers. 




Duck farmers planning to boost production as demand grows in Canada and Mexico

From CTV Montreal

Despite a surge in cheap imports, Canadian duck producers are planning to boost production due to growing consumer demand spurred on by celebrity chefs and the reopening of the Mexican market.

Brome Lake, the country’s oldest processor of domestic Pekin duck, is spending $30 million to build a facility in a former beef plant in Asbestos, Que., that will double its annual production capacity in five years to four-million birds. Ontario rival King Cole Ducks also plans to increase its output to stay competitive.

Canada’s three largest producers, which also includes B.C. supplier Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, expect overall annual production to double from the current level of 5.5-million ducks.

Although pricier than chicken, the red meat protein is increasingly being selected as an alternative to beef, which has experienced steep price increases.

An agreement with Mexico announced in March could help Canadian producers to progressively regain more than $3 million in annual sales of fresh chicken, turkey and duck, Ottawa said.

Learn more about sanitary turn-key poultry & meat processing solutions from Tri-Mach Group here.
Read the full article here.

Beef prices begin sudden fall from record highs

From the CBC

The boom market for beef is fading in Canada after record prices last year, but people will have to wait for costs to tumble in grocery stores.

The cattle industry has experienced a sudden drop in prices, forcing ranchers to adjust their expectations for the year.

“We had an incredible run. We doubled our prices in three years for calves, for example,” said Brian Perillat, a senior analyst with CanFax, a cattle market research firm. “In the last few months, we’ve seen prices drop 15 to 20 per cent from the high.”

Experts say the price spike was too extreme a reaction as beef supplies tightened.

Steaks, roasts and other cuts of beef are still fetching a premium price in the meat department of grocery stores, although that should change. Usually it takes three to six months before changes to cattle prices affect retail prices.

At the retail level, the average price for one kilogram of round steak was $19.32 in October and fell to $18.64 by December. Ground beef was $13.23 and dropped to $12.80 over the same period, according to Statistics Canada.

Read the full article here.

Premium Brands Holdings Corporation Announces Investment in Expresco Foods

From Stockhouse

Premium Brands Holdings Corporation (TSX: PBH), a diversified specialty food company, announced today that it has acquired a majority interest in Expresco Foods Inc., a leading manufacturer and marketer of high quality grilled protein products, including handmade specialty seasoned skewers, for customers in both the foodservice and retail channels.

Expresco, which sells its products across Canada and the U.S. under the West End brand, has annualized sales of approximately $55 million and operates out of a modern 44,000 square foot production facility located in Montreal, Quebec. It was founded in 1987 by Mr. Dennis Papakostas and, in recent years, has seen substantial growth due to its products meeting consumer demand for convenient, healthy and flavourful protein solutions that enhance and complement their daily meal, snack and salad choices.

“This transaction is another example of how we work with talented and successful entrepreneurs to create customized ownership solutions that meet their unique personal and business needs,” said Mr. George Paleologou, President and CEO. “Dennis and his long-term business partner, George Tiritidis, have done an exceptional job in building Expresco and we are honored that they have chosen us to be their partners in the next evolution of its development.”

Read the full article here.

Fewer meat inspectors could lead to more food-borne illnesses: union

From CTV News

The union representing Canada’s meat inspectors says slaughter facilities in Manitoba are severely understaffed and public safety is at risk.

Bob Kingston, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s agriculture union, says slaughterhouses in the province typically operate with one-third fewer inspectors than required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

That will be exacerbated by the federal government’s decision to cut $35 million from the agency’s budget, which will mean 273 fewer inspectors across Canada by 2018, he says.

“Canadians do not trust the food industry to police its own safety practices, yet the government is relying more heavily on food-production companies to self-police,” Kingston said Thursday at a Winnipeg news conference, one of several the union has held across the country recently.

“Without action to address the inspection shortage, it is just a matter of time before the next major food-borne illness outbreak occurs.”

Kingston said the current shortage of federal meat inspectors is so acute, that Manitoba’s plants are borrowing inspectors from other federally licensed facilities to fill in the gaps.

Read the full article here.

WTO rules against COOL and sides with Canada and Mexico

From Food In Canada

Not for the first time or the second or third, but for the fourth time the World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled against the U.S. on its Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) rule. On May 18, the WTO handed down its final and fourth ruling, which reaffirms Canada’s position that the COOL measure is discriminatory against Canadian cattle and hogs.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) says in response to this latest ruling, and in accordance with international trade rules, Canada will seek WTO authorization to retaliate against U.S. exports.

The North American Meat Institute also welcomed the WTO’s ruling. The institute said in a statement that “after years of grappling with this costly and onerous rule – a rule that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s own economic analysis says is a burden on livestock producers, meat packers and processors with no consumer benefit – it is clear that repealing the statute is the best step forward.”

According to the institute, new research from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation shows country of origin information comes in ninth in a list of 11 pieces of labelling information that consumers use when choosing a food product. In addition, says the institute, the percentage of consumers saying they use COOL labels has declined from 29 per cent in 2013 to 26 per cent in 2014 to just 15 per cent in 2015. In contrast, half of consumers look for expiration dates and the nutrition facts panel.

Read the full article here.

Quebec veal producer bringing new products to market

From the Montreal Gazette

Pork expert Mario Maillet says pigs are roughly the same size as young calves. So when he took over last year as president of Écolait, Quebec’s largest veal producer, he spearheaded efforts aimed at exploiting calf carcasses more like pigs. The result is Vivo, the company’s new and fast-expanding brand of novel veal cuts and innovative food products.

The first product — veal bacon — was launched in Métro and IGA stores across Quebec in early December. A second product — Black Forest veal ham — is set to hit grocery store shelves later this month. Several more pork-like veal products — all of them low sodium, gluten free and halal quality — are in the works.

According to Maillet, sales of veal bacon are sizzling. That has led to a doubling of production from 500 to 1,000 cases a week. That could triple once the new product begins rolling out in food stores across Ontario and Western Canada later this month.

Écolait also operates a slaughterhouse and processing plant in Terrebonne, a cutting plant in upstate New York, and is strategically allied with Ontario’s Delft Blue Food Innovations. Both Écolait and Delft Blue are part of the Grober Group. Headquartered in Cambridge, Ont., Grober is the largest integrated milk-fed veal business in North America with several divisions that do everything from the manufacture of milk replacer to the raising, processing and marketing of up to 150,000 veal calves a year in Canada and the United States. Écolait slaughters 1,700 mostly bull calves a week at its facilities, about 1,200 of them from Quebec farms.

According to statistics from both the federal government and the veal industry in Ontario and Quebec, which together represent 95 per cent of Canada’s veal market, Quebec accounts for 80 per cent of total national veal production.

Read the full article here.