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Exceldor announces $35-million distribution centre

From: Food in Canada

Levis, Que. – One of Canada’s poultry processors is investing $35 million in a new distribution centre.

Exceldor announced in a statement that as demand for poultry is on the rise a new 135,000-sq.-ft. distribution centre was a necessary step. The company says its “shipping facilities are working at full capacity” already and the “distribution centre will become the hub of an agile and effective logistical chain.”

The distribution centre will be located in Beloeil, Que., next to the Jean-Lesage highway. Construction is set to begin in the spring of 2018 and Exceldor says it is working closely with the city of Beloeil to secure approvals. René Proulx, Exceldor’s president and CEO, says in the statement that the growing poultry market brings with it “highly interesting business prospects. We are excited to launch this new chapter of growth.”

Exceldor is based in Levis, Que. and has production facilities in Saint-Anselme, Saint-Damase, Saint-Bruno-de Montarville and Saint-Agapit, all located in Quebec, as well as in Hanover, Ontario.

The company also co-owns three other businesses in the poultry sector: Unidindon and Giannone Poultry in Quebec, and Golden Valley in Ontario. The company markets its products under several brand names, including Exceldor and Butterball. It has over 2,250 employees and revenues of approximately $700 million.

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.”

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

Challenges & Opportunities for the Meat Sector

From: International Food & Meat

According to International Food & Meat, historically, price, taste and convenience have been the consumers’ principal drivers. Now the food industry is looking more and more at product attributes, such as place and method of production, provenance and background story, care of the local economy, animal and worker welfare, environmental impact and overall sustainability. International Food & Meat Magazine highlights some of the key points about the protein economy from David Hughes, Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing, Imperial College as well as many other challenges the meat sector will face in the future.

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.
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Soy research fights food poisoning

From Food In Canada

The latest use for soy could fight food poisoning. University of Guelph researchers are using soy extracts – isoflavones and peptides – to prevent the growth of microbial pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses.

Suresh Neethirajan is a University of Guelph engineering professor and director of the BioNano Laboratory. Neethirajan and his research team have found soy extracts can be more effective in fighting against bacteria, including Listeria and Pseudomonas pathogens, than current synthetic chemicals commonly used to preserve foods.

Already consumed in everyday food products, soybean derivatives are can be found in food including baked goods, canned foods, cheese, cooking oils, ice cream, and meat alternatives.

“Studies have shown heavy, continued use of current chemical antimicrobial agents can cause strains of bacteria to become resistant and making them ineffective,” says Neethirajan, explaining they also kill all bacteria – good and bad. “Using this soy alternative in food products will only target pathogenic or bad bacteria, leaving the good, healthy bacteria in foods that aid in digestion and help us properly process the food we eat.”

Because the soy extracts have the ability to selectively inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria compared to beneficial bacteria, some health issues commonly associated to the synthetic-based food preservatives will be eliminated, notes Neethirajan.

This project has received support from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The right equipment can also reduce the risk of food poisoning. Learn more about Ever-Kleen® technology from Tri-Mach Group here.
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Consumers warming to irradiated meat

From the Winnipeg Free Press

Ask anyone on the street whether they want to eat safe food, and undoubtedly the answer would be yes. Experiencing a food-borne illness is not only unpleasant, it can be deadly.

But technologies such as irradiation that can make food safer have historically been a tough sell. A public backlash caused Health Canada to nix its plan in 2002 to allow ground fresh and frozen beef to be irradiated. People simply didn’t like the idea.

Treating food products with ionizing radiation can reduce the presence of mould, E coli, salmonella, campylobacter and parasites without reducing nutrition or food quality. International authorities such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization agree it is safe.

Although the technology has been approved for use in Canada since 2002 on potatoes, onions, wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, whole and ground spices and dehydrated seasoning preparations, it is currently mostly just used on spices — if at all. But independent inquiries into the 2008 listeriosis contamination of processed meats sold by Maple Leaf, and the 2012 E. coli crisis affecting XL Beef, recommended Canada fast-track new technologies that contribute to food safety.

A survey of consumer perceptions in 2014 suggests public sentiments range from comfortably oblivious to vaguely supportive.

“Although the vast majority of respondents (72 per cent) had not heard of food irradiation, overall perceptions of food irradiation were slightly more positive (30 per cent) than negative (21 per cent) when respondents were informed that irradiation is a food-safety measure that reduces levels of bacteria that cause food poisoning and food spoilage.”

As well, survey respondents were adamant (83 per cent) irradiated food should be labelled. That’s considered a “positive shift” in public opinion.

Read Tri-Mach’s newsletter article about irradiation here.
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Wood-derived ingredients could be future of food, researchers say

From FoodBev.com

Manufacturers could soon be using wood-derived polymers such as xylan, fibrillated cellulose and lignin to improve the texture and reduce the energy content of food products, according to Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre. The Espoo-based organisation said that the wood-derived ingredients could be used in yogurts, baked goods such as cakes and muffins, and meat products.

As the food industry searches for new natural ingredients that improve the quality of products and promote consumer health, its research has shown that the polymers have properties that make them stand out from their traditional counterparts.

Xylan, a hemicellulose extracted from birch pulp, could be used as texture enhancer in yogurt: VTT’s studies shown that xylan can improve the smoothness of yogurt and enhance its stability when compared to conventional manufacturing techniques.

Fibrillated cellulose, which is produced by wet-grinding cellulose fibres, forms a web-like gel that could be utilised as a thickening and stabilising agent for fermented dairy products – yogurt included. It may also reduce cholesterol in the human body.

VTT tested lignin in the manufacture of muffins and found that, in addition to giving muffins a fluffier texture, lignin proved to be a surprisingly efficient substitute for whole eggs and egg yolks. Lignin also functioned as an emulsifier in mayonnaise and contributed to juiciness in a meat product, VTT said.

Read the full article here.

Amazon is going to sell its own line of food

From ReCode

Amazon is going to start selling its own brands of snacks, diapers and detergent — a move lots of traditional retailers have already made. But Amazon isn’t a traditional retailer, so this move could be very meaningful for Amazon and its competitors.

The e-commerce powerhouse will soon begin selling its own packaged goods exclusively to Amazon Prime members under brands like Happy Belly and Mama Bear, the Wall Street Journal reports. Recode reported in February that Amazon was testing out the Mama Bear brand name.

Amazon already sells things like electronic accessories, office supplies and even clothing under a variety of its own brand names. Now it’s going all in on groceries and household products.

While some people will point out that so-called “private labeling” is nothing new — grocery stores and big-box retailers have been increasingly pushing their in-house brands — this is a much bigger deal. That’s because the growth in retail is all going to be online, and Amazon owns online. It already accounts for half of all sales growth in U.S. e-commerce.

Read the full article here.