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Study Finds More Reasons to Eat Whole Grains

From: Food in Canada

Copenhagen, Denmark – A study headed by the National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark has found several reasons why consumers should include whole grains in their diets.

In an article (“Several reasons why whole grains are healthy,” published on Nov. 2, 2017 by Miriam Meister), the National Food Institute says researchers from various departments looked at consumers who swapped their refined grain products, such as white bread and pasta, for whole grain versions.

The study included 50 adults who were at risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

What the researchers found was “that the participants had less inflammation in their bodies when eating whole grains,” especially with rye.

Participants also ate less overall. This is “presumably because whole grain consumption causes satiety. While eating the whole grain diet, participants have generally lost weight.”

The researchers add that what effects whole grains have on gut bacteria composition warrant further study.

For more on the study, click here

Saputo Acquires U.S.-Based Specialty Cheesemaker

From: Food in Canada 

Montreal – Saputo Inc. has acquired a U.S.-based specialty cheese company.

Betin Inc., which does business as Montchevre, is based in Belmont, Wis. In a statement, Saputo says the company has 320 employees and had revenues of CDN$150 million for the 12-month period ended June 30, 2017.

Montchevre, which was established in 1988, is the largest goat cheese manufacturer in the U.S. The company supports a network of independent family farms and using French cheese-making techniques makes more than 75 varieties of goat cheese.

The company also produces a full line of organic goat cheese and is the only U.S. manufacturer to produce non-GMO certified goat cheese.

On its website the company says the decision to sell was “difficult and emotional” but adds that “this alliance [with Saputo] will provide a stronger, more secure market for our 500+ milk producers and will help propel Montchevre to new heights.”

In the statement, Saputo says the acquisition “will enable the Cheese Division (USA) of Saputo to broaden its presence in specialty cheese in the U.S.”

BC Fruit Company Receives Funding Boost

From: Food in Canada

Pitt Meadows, BC – A local company has received help from the BC government to promote its newest products.

The BC Ministry of Agriculture says in a statement that it gave Pacific Canadian Fruit Packers $75,000 to help the company promote its new line of dried blueberries and cranberries.

The products have been launched under the company’s retail brand, Wild Coast Fruit Company.

The funding will go toward online campaigns, traditional print materials, demos and radio advertising.

Cam Watt, a partner in Wild Coast Fruit Company, says the company is “so pleased to be a part of this funding program.”

The BC government says its approach is to support the province’s agriculture, seafood and food processing sectors, and encourage the consumption of BC products.

Canada Looks to Grow its Livestock Genetics Exports

From: Food in Canada

Kemptville, Ont. – The federal government has invested $3 million in the Canadian Livestock Genetics Association (CLGA).

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says in a statement that it sees opportunities in new markets for Canada’s livestock genetics.

In fact, says Lawrence MacAuley, Canada’s minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, “farmers around the world want Canadian breeds of livestock, because they are recognized worldwide for their high quality. This investment will help Canadian livestock genetics exporters access new and emerging markets, like China, leading to greater returns for our farmers and their families and continued growth for the economy.”

The statement explains that the demand is high for Canada’s “superior livestock breeds so [farmers] can raise cows and goats that produce more milk, and sheep that can produce more meat.”

This particular project will focus on exporting dairy, sheep and goat genetics, which says the statement, in 2016 generated exports of more than $150 million – a sum the CLGA is hoping to increase to 200 million.

Michael Hall, executive director of the CLGA, says the investment will benefit all of Canada’s agriculture exporters. “Canada’s world class genetics combined with the training and knowledge transfer made possible by Canada’s AgriMarketing funding is instrumental in improving farming practices around the world,”

U.S. Scientists Develop a Test that could Improve Food Safety

From: Food in Canada

College Station, Texas – Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) may have found a way to breed chickens that are resistant to pathogens.

The ARS, which is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency, says the scientists developed a new test that can identify “roosters whose blood contain naturally high levels of two key chemicals, cytokines and chemokines.”

These are the chemicals that get the birds’ innate immune response working. (See the ARS’ report on the new findings in “Breeding Resistant Chickens for Improved Food Safety,” from Oct. 30, 2017.)

By using the new test, says the ARS in the report, “commercial poultry breeders can single out roosters that have a strong immune response and use them to selectively breed a more robust flock.”

Having this kind of resistance, especially during the birds’ first week of life, “may lower costs related to animal well-being and food safety.”

Right now the industry uses sanitation, vaccines, biosecurity and antibiotics or other medications to keep chickens safe from pathogens.

But, says Christi Swaggerty, a microbiologist in the ARS’ Food and Feed Safety Research Unit, some chickens have such robust immune systems that they can resist pathogens on their own.

It’s the new test that can help “select roosters for breeding a line of resistant broilers. They then exposed the resistant broilers to several pathogens. They compared the resistant group to a group of susceptible broilers bred from roosters with low cytokine and chemokine levels.”

What the scientists found was 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, Swaggerty notes.”

PEI – Cavendish Farms Officially Opened it New Potato Storage Facility

From: Food in Canada

New Annan, PEI – Cavendish Farms has officially opened its new potato storage facility, which will mean the company can supply potatoes year round.

The new facility, says a statement, is 88,000 sq. ft. and has a refrigerated potato storage capacity of 48 million pounds. The facility is split into two separate buildings with each building being 44,000 sq. ft.

Cavendish Farms is using the Tolsma System, which will allow the company to maintain consistent quality potatoes all year for use at its two processing plants on the island.

Robert Irving, president of Cavendish Farms, says in the statement that the state-of-the-art storage “will allow us to continue providing the best quality frozen potato products to our customers.”

A story on CBC.ca (“Cavendish Farms getting major storage upgrades,” by Noah Richardson on July 24, 2017) reports that the new facility will “replace six outdated ones, which are 50 to 60 years old and poorly insulated. They also don’t have refrigeration and lack airflow.” The new facility “will use 35 per cent less fossil fuel than the ones they’re replacing.”

The statement says about 60 people have been working on the site every day since construction began this past May. The majority of the workers are from PEI. The company estimates that just the construction “took 120,000 person hours of work.”

“Our government has set an ambitious target to export $75 billion of agri-food products by 2025,” says Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

“Here on the Island, our potato farmers will play a key role in achieving this target. With this innovative potato storage facility, our farmers will have more opportunities to sell their products year round, while helping to grow our middle class through good jobs and long-term employment. The impact of this new facility I’m sure will be felt across the Island.”

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.

Canadian Researchers Discover Genetic Clue to Peanut Allergy

From: Food in Canada

Hamilton, Ont. – Canadian researchers, says the Allergy, Genes and Environment Network (AllerGen), have pinpointed a new gene associated with peanut allergy. In a press release (“New genetic clue to peanut allergy,” on Oct. 10, 2017), AllerGen says the discovery offers “further evidence that genes play a role in the development of food allergies and opening the door to future research, improved diagnostics and new treatment options.”

AllerGen is a national research network funded by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada through the Network of Centres of Excellence program. In the statement, AllerGen explains that “the gene, called c11orf30/EMSY (EMSY), is already known to play a role in other allergy-related conditions, such as eczema, asthma, and allergic rhinitis. This study is the first to associate the EMSY locus with food allergy, and these findings suggest that the gene plays an important role in the development of not just food allergy but also general allergic predisposition.”

The AllerGen researchers included Dr. Denise Daley, an associate professor at the University of B.C., Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver; and Dr. Ann Clarke, a professor at the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine in Calgary, and adjunct professor at McGill University in Montreal. In the statement, Daley says that “the discovery of this genetic link gives us a fuller picture of the causes of food allergies and this could eventually help doctors identify children at risk.”

AllerGen says that an allergy to peanuts develops early in life “and is rarely outgrown.” Roughly one per cent of Canadian adults and between two and three per cent of Canadian children are affected. Symptoms can be severe to life-threatening. The co-first authors of the study included Dr. Yuka Asai, an AllerGen investigator and assistant professor at Queen’s University, and AllerGen trainee Dr. Aida Eslami, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of B.C.

In the statement, Eslami says the results of the study “suggest that EMSY could be a useful target for predicting and managing food allergy treatments in the future.”

FDA Proposes To Extend Compliance Dates For Nutrition Facts Label Final Rules

From: Food Manufacturing

(FDA release; September 29, 2017) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing to extend the compliance dates for the Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts label final rule and the Serving Size final rule from July 26, 2018, to Jan. 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales. Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales would receive an extra year to comply—until Jan. 1, 2021.

The FDA is committed to making sure that consumers have the facts they need to make informed decisions about their diet and the foods they feed their families. The proposed rule only addresses the compliance dates. The FDA is not proposing any other changes to the Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Size final rules.

The agency is proposing to extend the compliance dates in response to the continued concern that companies and trade associations have shared with us regarding the time needed for implementation of the final rules. These stakeholders expressed concerns about their ability to update all products by the original compliance dates and the importance of obtaining clarification from the FDA on a number of technical issues relating to the final rules.

Pending completion of this rulemaking, we intend to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to the current July 26, 2018, and July 26, 2019, compliance dates.

Written or electronic comments on the extension of the compliance dates are being accepted for 30 days, beginning on October 2, 2017. The FDA is only accepting comments on the extension of the compliance dates.