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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getting major storage upgrades,” by Noah Richardson on July 24, 2017) reports that the new facility will “replace six outdated ones, which are 50 to 60 years old and poorly insulated.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.”

New Dairy Processing Facility Opens in Winnipeg

From: Food in Canada

Winnipeg – MDI Holdings Corp. officially opened its new state-of-the-art dairy processing facility creating 67 new skilled jobs in the city.

MDI Holdings, says a statement, is a joint venture of BC-based Vitalus Nutrition Inc. and Ontario-based Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. MDI Holdings is short for Manitoba Dairy Ingredients Holdings Corporation.

The new $100-million dairy facility will process milk from Manitoba and Western Canada. The facility has a current milk processing capacity of up to 180 million litres and will produce a full range of high-value milk proteins, including MPC 85, MPI 90 and buttermilk powders as well as butter.

For dairy farmers in Manitoba the new facility is welcome news.

David Wiens, chair of the Dairy Farmers of Manitoba, says in the statement that the organization is “excited to have new dairy processing capacity and capabilities in Manitoba and Western Canada as we continue to grow a sustainable dairy industry with our industry partners. Dairy Farmers of Manitoba and the Western dairy farmer organizations are pleased to provide the milk for this leading-edge processing facility.”

The facility took about a year to construct and involved “commissioning specially fabricated production lines and equipment was completed by local engineering and construction firms, supporting the trades sector in Winnipeg and the surrounding area.”

Vitalus Nutrition supplies customized dairy ingredients. The company processes milk and whey into various dairy ingredients such as MPC 80, MPI 90 and VITAGOSTM – an ingredient that is rich in galacto-oligosaccharides. The ingredients are used in baking, confectionery, dairy products, snack foods, instant formula, protein drinks, nutrition bars and other products.

Gay Lea Foods is a dairy co-operative with members on more than 1,300 dairy farms and more than 4,000 members overall. The company processes dairy cow and dairy goat milk into a range of dairy products, such as Spreadables, Smooth Cottage Cheese to Nothing But Cheese.

 

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.”

PEI Students Help Fix Oyster Industry Problem

From: Food in Canada

Charlottetown, PEI – Students at the University of Prince Edward Island have developed a piece of equipment that will make oyster growing a whole lot less labour intensive.

In a story on the university’s website (“SSDE students flip oyster problem into a business opportunity,” on Oct. 4, 2017), UPEI explains that “farmed oysters, which are grown in cages weighing up to 200 pounds each, need to be turned once to twice per week during the growing months for an average of five years.”

Some farms may have anywhere from 200 cages to thousands of them. So growers look for employees strong enough to handle the job for up to 10 hours per day, says the story. The job of cage turning helps to “discourage mussels, barnacles and algae build-up, which lets water circulate better and more food reach the oysters. This results in more appealing oysters that can garner higher prices.”

The students in the School of Sustainable Design and Engineering (SSDE) at UPEI developed “specially designed equipment that gently guides the oyster cage in a roller coaster-like flip,” says UPEI. The students are Jordan Sampson, Brett McDermott and Dylan MacIssac.

According to UPEI, the industry has welcomed the news of the invention. It removed the “back-breaking labour” from the job; saves time and money; and will help address staff shortages.

An independent PEI-based company, Synapse Inc., has stepped up to help the students turn their invention into a marketable product. The company helps transfer expertise and knowledge from the UPEI into products, services, and insights that offer benefits beyond the university.

The students have filed for patent, start-up funds and will soon incorporate their company.

SLIM Program Supports Saskatchewan’s AG Processing Sector

From: Food in Canada

Regina, Sask. – A local brewer and food and ingredients company are reaping the benefits of a government investment.

In a press release (“Support for Value-Added Sector in Saskatchewan,” on Sept. 29, 2017), the government of Saskatchewan announced $330,000 in funding for Rebellion Brewing. And $500,000 for AGT Food and Ingredients.

The funding is through the Saskatchewan Lean Improvements in Manufacturing (SLIM) program.

The brewery, says the release, will use the funding to expand its brewing capacity, and add exterior grain storage and a canning system.

Mark Heise, president of Rebellion Brewing, says in the release that the brewery is growing. “We live here, we spend dollars here and our profits stay here,” he says. “In less than three years, our small brewery has created 20 new jobs with more on the way. The value-added agriculture sector has tremendous growth potential and is key to creating a diversified and resilient Saskatchewan economy.”

AGT says it will use the funding to support production and equipment upgrades. That includes improving its polishing, bagging and conveyor system to increase productivity.

Murad Al-Katib, AGT’s President and CEO, says in the release that, “Investments in infrastructure, value-added advanced manufacturing and innovative new technologies, aided through programs like SLIM, are assisting Saskatchewan agriculture in building sustainable competitive advantages.  These investments position Saskatchewan and Canada to capture opportunities with the world’s growing populations and rising incomes in emerging markets.”

Mars Canada Celebrates Official Opening of Bolton Food Plant Expansion

From: Canadian Packaging 

Mars Food has invested CDN$77 million in the 50,000-square-foot expansion of its Bolton, Ont. food plant to increase production of its ready-to-heat rice and grain products. Mars Food celebrated its official opening on October 11, 2017.

This expansion represents the single-largest capital expenditure in the history of Mars Food, and will the much-needed capacity having been designed for future growth. Most importantly, the state-of-the-art, LEED Gold-certified facility will add 37 new highly-skilled jobs.

The Bolton food plant expansion comes on the heels of a similar expansion of its chocolate facility located in Newmarket, Ont. Together, the two expansion represents a total investment of $147 million in 2017, greatly increasing the company’s presence in Ontario.

About Mars Food
Mars Food is a fast-growing food business, making tastier, healthier, easier meals for all consumers to enjoy. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, Mars Food is a leader in producing great tasting products such as: Uncle Ben’sDolmioSeeds of ChangeMasterFoodsSuzi WanEblyRoycoKan Tong, and Raris. Mars Food is a division of Mars, Incorporated.

About Mars Canada
Mars Canada is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, a private family-owned business with more than 1,300 associates across the country. In Canada, Mars was established in the late 1940s and is known for some of the Canada’s best-loved brands, including Uncle Ben’sSeeds of ChangeMaltesersM&M’sPedigreeSnickersRoyal CaninWhiskas, and Excel. Mars in Canada comprises four business segments: food, chocolate, Wrigley and petcare. Mars Canada is one of Canada’s top 100 employers. For more information, visit www.mars.com/canada/en.

Manitoba Entrepreneurs Gathered for a Special Food Fight

From: Food in Canada

Winnipeg – Several food entrepreneurs gathered at a specialty shop gearing up for a fight. A food fight, that is. But not just any food fight. De Luca’s specialty grocery store was home to the Great Manitoba Food Fight in late September. In a press release, the Manitoba government explains that the competition is “open to companies that have developed but not fully commercialized a new food or beverage product.” The Food Fight  is presented by De Luca’s and Food & Beverage Manitoba. This year, four companies received awards to help them get their products out in the marketplace.

The winners were:

• Tall Grass Dill Pickle Vodka, from Capital K Distillery in Winnipeg, won the inaugural craft beer and spirit competition. Owner Jason Kang received a prize packaged valued at approximately $5,000.

• Little Bones, from Little Bones Wings in Winnipeg, won Gold in the food category. Owner Alex Goertzen received a prize package valued at approximately $13,000.

• Hemp Macaroons, from Piccola Cucina in Winnipeg, won Silver in the food category. Owner Pina Romolo received a prize package valued at approximately $7,000.

• Bilton and Stokkies, from Mr. Biltong Beef Jerky Company in Winnipeg, won bronze. Owner Jeremy Silcox received a prize package valued at approximately $4,000.

The release says the prize packages “will be tailored to each entrepreneurs’ needs and the expertise and resources needed to help move the product toward commercialization.” Some of the services could include recipe refinement, package design, marketing, workshops, trade shows, business management, food processing, or safety and handling.

The Great Manitoba Food Fight is sponsored by the Manitoba government and Food & Beverage Manitoba in partnership with De Luca’s.

Three-quarters of the World’s Honey Contains Neonicotinoids

From: Food in Canada

Neuchâtel, Switzerland – A new study has found that about three quarters of the world’s honey contain neonicotinoids – the same family of pesticide linked to the decline in bees. The study was published in the journal Science and was conducted by a team of scientists at the University of Neuchâtel and the Botanical Garden of the city of Neuchâtel.

In a statement on the university’s website (“Publication in Science: neonicotinoids in 75% of the world’s honey,” on Oct.6, 2017), the authors explain that neonicotinoids are a common pesticide, cornering one-third of the market share in pesticides. Producers mainly use them on large-scale crops such as maize, rapeseed and beetroot. The problem is that the flowers’ pollen and nectar absorb the pesticides and they get passed onto bees as they forage.

The university says the scientists analyzed almost 200 samples of honey from around the world and measured the concentration of the five most commonly used neonicotinoids (acetamiprid, clothianidin, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam).

The analysis found that 75% of the honey contained at least one of the five neonicotinoids. But this rate varied considerably from region to region: 86% of North American samples were contaminated, followed by 80% of samples from Asia and 79% of the samples from Europe. South America had the lowest contamination rates at 57%.

Thirty per cent of all the samples contained only one neonicotinoid, 45% contained between two and five, and 10% between four and five. What the study also found was that “the measured doses did not exceed the standards authorized for human consumption for each individual substance. But for two of the samples containing the five neonicotinoids at a time, the total concentrations exceeded this standard.”

Edward Mitchell, a professor at the Soil Biodiversity Laboratory, says in the statement that the results show consumers’ health is not at risk. But it’s not the same for bees.

Alexander Aebi, a teacher and researcher in agroecology at the university and also a beekeeper himself, says the study “demonstrates that they are exposed worldwide to concentrations of neonicotinoids that have important effects on their behaviour, physiology and reproduction.”