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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.

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.”

Remembrance Day 2017

On this Remembrance Day, we reflect on the sacrifices our men & women in uniform have made to keep our country safe. Tri-Mach Group is proud to honour our servicemen and women. Lest we forget. 

 

Waterloo Tyke Preds Now Championship Team  

Once again, the Waterloo Tyke Predators gain another victory. On Saturday November 4th, the Tyke Preds beat the Guelph Gryphons 42-32 . The Waterloo Tyke Preds are now the 2017 Ontario Football League Tyke Champions. Tri-Mach Group is proud to sponsor such a hard working team! Congratulations on your win Waterloo Preds! #PredsPride #BleedPurple 

To get updates on the Waterloo Tyke Predators games, check out their Facebook page: @WaterlooRegionMinorFootball

Saputo Grows its Dairy Division in Australia

From: Food in Canada

Montreal – Saputo Inc. has acquired an Australian co-operative for $1.29 billion.

The acquisition of Murray Goulburn Co-Operative Co. Limited (MG), says a statement, will complement the activities of Saputo’s Dairy Division (Australia).

To read more:

Saputo acquires another Australian dairy manufacturer: March 3, 2015
Bidding war gets hotter: Saputo increases its bid for Australian company: Nov. 15, 2013

MG is one of Australia’s largest dairy foods companies. The organization, which has sales offices across Australia, in Japan and in China, was established in 1950 and supports approximately 2,200 dairy farming businesses across south eastern Australia.

The co-operative’s flagship brand is Devondale, and it manufactures fresh milk, long-life milk, milk powder, cheese, cream, cream cheese, butter and dairy beverages, as well as ingredients, and nutritional products, including infant formula.

The statement says MG supplies both the retail and foodservice industries under the brands Devondale, Liddells and Murray Goulburn Ingredients.

Saputo says that revenues for the 12-month period ended June 30, 2017 for MG were approximately $2.5 billion and “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, milk supply support package forgiveness, rationalisation costs, write-downs and non-recurring costs (“adjusted EBITDA”) of approximately $78 million.”

 

McCain’s 60th Birthday and a New Production Line

From: Food in Canada

Florenceville-Bristol, NB – McCain Foods celebrated its 60th business anniversary with the city of Florenceville-Bristol. The company officially opened its new $65-million state-of-the-art specialty production line, expanding its flagship potato processing facility in the city.

McCain Foods celebrates its 60th business anniversary with the official opening of a new state-of-the-art, $65-million potato specialty production line, expanding the company’s flagship potato processing plant in Florenceville-Bristol, NB. (CNW Group/McCain Foods (Canada))

Florenceville-Bristol will see more than 40 new jobs as a result, says a statement from McCain Foods, and the construction of the building added to the economic activity in the region. The facility will also now require an additional 4,000 acres of potatoes, which will be supplied by New Brunswick potato farmers.

The statement says “the new 35,000-sq.-ft. potato specialty production line addition represents the largest capacity expansion investment in Canada in nearly 10 years.” McCain adds that the investment in New Brunswick reflects the growing demand for frozen potato and potato specialty segments in North America in both grocery retail and foodservice.

McCain was founded in 1957 and continues to be a significant presence in the Canadian frozen potato market segment across retail, and foodservice and quickservice restaurants.The company says its potato products are made from 100 per cent real potatoes grown on farms close to each facility, which are found in New Brunswick, Manitoba and Alberta.

And from its humble beginnings in Florenceville with 30 employees, today it has 20,000 employees who operate out of 53 production facilities on six continents. The company had sales of more than $9 billion and is still family owned.

Food Performance: How does Western Canada measure up?

From: Food in Canada

Food-borne illness outbreaks and food recalls tend to grab media headlines and consumers’ attention. Many Albertans will be familiar with the XL Foods meat recall, for instance. Overall, there are more than four million cases of food-borne illness per year in Canada. It leaves Canadians to question just how safe is our food. Canadians are also questioning the cost, health and availability of our food.

How well do Western provinces perform? In The Conference Board of Canada’s 2016 provincial food performance report card, Western provinces performed relatively well to their provincial peers. Indeed, Saskatchewan is head of the class among all provinces. The province excels with “A” grades in four of five categories: food safety, industry prosperity, household food security, and environmental sustainability. Its only “B” grade is awarded on the healthy food and diets category. B.C. is also among the top performers, Alberta received an “A” grade for household food security while Manitoba’s best grade was an “A” for food safety.

In 2015, the Conference Board produced an international food performance comparison of Canada’s food system to assess how the food system meets the needs of the population. The report card measures Canada’s performance against 16 OECD countries across the same five elements of the Canadian Food Strategy: industry prosperity, healthy foods and diets, food safety, food security and environmental sustainability. While Canada (along with Ireland) received the top grades in food safety, there is need for improvement, particularly in reporting on chemical risks in food consumption, conducting more frequent nutrition and dietary studies, food traceability and radiation standards in food.

Compared to most of our peers, Canadians generally choose healthy foods, as we consume lower-than-average intake levels of salt and saturated fats and have a diverse diet. However, Canadians’ health is somewhat compromised by higher levels of diabetes and obesity. Moreover, many Canadians bring home more food than they need generating relatively high levels of food waste and are comparable with other countries in terms of their knowledge and literacy about food.

When measured by affordability and price volatility, overall food availability on a national level is not at issue. However, there are localized problems of food access and prices, and at-risk populations (including indigenous people and single-parent households) continue to exist. Canada does not perform as well in other areas. For example, Canada has among the highest rates of both food waste and food losses in the world, and ranks behind all other countries for rates of greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions.

Canada’s industrial strengths in the food sector are its resource endowments, capital available to farms, crop production, and economic viability. However, the Canadian industry falls short of other countries in measures such as food innovation, livestock production, and representation among leading global food companies.The Conference Board of Canada’s 6th Annual Canadian Food & Drink Summit, taking place this December in Calgary, will explore Western Canada’s food performance. Topics of discussion will also include the Barton Report and the recommendations from the federal government’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth where agriculture was identified as having strong potential for substantial growth and export improvement. The Summit will also debate the Government of Canada’s National Food Policy and more.

The Summit will feature engaging sessions and an exciting lineup of leading food experts and experienced practitioners who will share best practices and insights with you on how to engage stakeholders and Canadians to take action, including on trade, inspiring food innovation stories from Alberta, healthier beverages, agri-food outlook, reducing food waste, the labour gap in agriculture, affordable diets, organic retail experience, the future of the grocery business, growing culinary experiences, beef and crop sustainability, and more.The goal is to advance Canada’s food performance. Food affects our lives, health, jobs, environment, and economy. Ensuring that our food is of high quality, affordable, healthy and safe to eat matters to every one of us. We hope you will attend the Summit and look forward to seeing you in Calgary on December 4-6, 2017.

Written by: Jean-Charles Le Vallée, PhD,  associate director Food Horizons Canada, The Conference Board of Canada.

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.”