Remember the CFIA, that official Canadian Food Inspection agency, that was so concerned about wiping out a flock of heritage Shropshire sheep a few weeks back? Well maybe that wasn’t such an isolated incident. What can we make of this latest development on the food safety front? Is this a real problem that’s being covered up? To protect what, short term business prospects of continuing to sell more salmon in the supermarkets? And for that, they’re willing to scupper the international credentials of a university science lab? Is this is a government agenda, rogue “regulators”, or what? Are we still living in Canada?
From Mark Hume, in the Globe and Mail:
“A lab that revealed the first evidence of an infectious virus in British Columbia salmon should be stripped of its international credentials, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
In a letter to the World Organization for Animal Health, the CFIA urges the international agency to accept the findings of an independent audit that recommends “suspension of the reference laboratory status,” of the facility.
The lab is run by Frederick Kibenge at the Atlantic Veterinary College-University of Prince Edward Island. Continue reading
From Josh Wingrove and Dawn Walton, in the Globe and Mail:
XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta. Photo via Calgary Sun. Click image to go there.
“At each stage, the E. coli sneaked through. It came in with the feces caked on the hide of at least one cow, a so-called “super-shedder” of bacteria, and persevered. The E. coli wasn’t caught on the kill floor, survived cleaning and clung on during dehiding, in which a cow’s skin is peeled away.
It reached the cutting table – a bacteria watershed, where the cow is cut into different types of beef, including “trim,” the odds and ends that become hamburger. The E. coli went undetected in the 325 grams of beef trim tested from this particular 2,000-pound batch, so it moved through. When alarms sounded, it was in stores. Continue reading
A roundup of coverage from Toronto newspapers:
Above image from The Star.ca website story. Click image to go there.
From Adrian Morrow in the Globe and Mail:
“A flock of a rare breed of sheep is ordered destroyed after one of its members tests positive for a deadly disease. Before they can be culled, the animals are kidnapped in the dead of night, only to turn up weeks later on a farm several hours away. Now, an outspoken raw-milk activist says federal investigators raided his property, looking for clues in the case.
But the bizarre mystery hanging over a group of Eastern Ontario ovines has only deepened. Continue reading
From Martha Hall Findlay, in the Globe and Mail:
“Despite a professed commitment to free trade, Canada has retained a staunchly protectionist supply management regime in several agricultural sectors, notably the dairy industry. It harms our trade options. Domestically, it also costs consumers far too much.
Dairy farms are governed by a byzantine system that prices milk based on intended usage, locks out most foreign products with exorbitantly high tariffs and even determines how much farmers can produce. Everyone suffers. First in the line of people harmed by supply management are consumers – Canadians are forced to pay two to three times as much for whole milk as Americans. Continue reading
From Karen Selick in the Globe and Mail letters section:
It’s important to put the recent scrapie incident in perspective (Eradicating Scrapie – letter, May 1). The neurodegenerative disease has been around for at least 280 years; the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s scrapie eradication program has been in existence for fewer than 10 years. Obviously, sheep and goats made it through the centuries without this government program.
There’s good reason to question whether the program is an effective use of taxpayers’ dollars. Some studies have indicated that the slaughter of specific genotypes to prevent one form of scrapie predisposes the “national flock” to greater susceptibility to other forms of disease. Some experts have questioned whether eradication is possible at all. Continue reading
This whole thing seems to be a “public relations” exercise arising from the Harvard debate, which you can watch in the preceding post. See also this earlier post from David Gumpert discussing the USA Today story, as well as this post from Kimberly Hartke, setting things straight for the WAPF. From Wendy Leung, in the Globe and Mail:
“Those who feel strongly about the benefits of raw milk are willing to go to great lengths to fight for access to the unpasteurized dairy product.
But contributing to the raw-milk debate, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to cause outbreaks of food-borne illness than the pasteurized stuff. Continue reading
From Barrie McKenna in the Globe and Mail:
“Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says he’s all about putting “farmers first.”
At first blush, this sounds like a pretty reasonable motto for an ag minister raised on a Saskatchewan farm. Who doesn’t like farmers, after all? They do tough, essential work that feeds us all.
The catch is that “farmers first” often implies “consumers last.” And what Mr. Ritz really means is that some farmers come first, but not all farmers. Continue reading
From Jessica Leeder, in the Globe and Mail:
“The future of Canada’s most prominent raw milk advocate has turned sour.
Dairyman Michael Schmidt was found guilty of 15 out of 19 charges related to distributing unpasteurized milk from his farm in Durham, Ont. The verdict, written by Mr. Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice, reverses a decision made last year by a justice of the peace, who acquitted Mr. Schmidt of the same charges.
It is unclear what the decision means for the future of Mr. Schmidt’s farm, a cow-share operation in which raw milk and related products are provided to about 150 shareholders. Raw milk from the farm is not sold commercially. Continue reading
From Huffington Post Canada:
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board Gerry Ritz rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday June 15, 2011. Canadian Press photo via Huffington Post Canada website.
Canadian Wheat Board Defies Ottawa, Organizes Own Farmer Vote On Monopoly
THE CANADIAN PRESS — WINNIPEG – Ottawa won’t do it, so the Canadian Wheat Board’s farmer-controlled board of directors is organizing its own vote on the marketing agency’s future.
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz has announced plans to strip the board of its monopoly without a vote, even though one is required by the current Canadian Wheat Board Act. Continue reading
Katrina Onstad from The Globe and Mail.com
“I’m not sure how it happened, but I now live in the Meat Unpacking District.
At the north end of my Toronto street are two sister restaurants, the Black Hoof and the recently-closed-but-soon-to-reopen Hoof Café. True to their names, the former is renowned for its “off-cut-centric” menu and pig-head tacos; the latter’s claim to fame was its “love letters,” envelopes of beef tongue and pork-belly pastrami. Walk east and there’s a porchetta sandwich shop. Further south is the home of the grass-fed gourmet burger, which isn’t far from the organic butcher shop. All this hacking and cleaving is greeted with long queues, critical accolades and rapturous testimony on Chowhound.
If I’m unnerved that my neighbourhood, once known for its park, is now known for flesh, it may be because I generally don’t eat things with eyes. This, by the way, does not mean that I am typing on a hemp keyboard with hands used mostly for pious finger pointing. In other words: Sometimes I eat fish. Continue reading