Kristy Nudds

Kristy Nudds

September 26, 2014 - WTO agriculture delegates continued to differ on how to proceed with work on agriculture under the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference’s decisions and in the Doha Round talks, this time when they met as negotiators on September 23, 2014. READ MORE

A joint project by Cobb Europe and the Roslin Institute has received a major funding boost from the UK’ s innovation agency, Innovate UK, for genome biobanking to optimize valuable broiler genetic stocks. Photo courtesy USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS).

September 20, 2014 - A joint project by Cobb Europe and the Roslin Institute in Scotland has been awarded a grant of almost £650,000 (US$ 1.07 million) from the UK’ s innovation agency, Innovate UK, for genome biobanking to optimize valuable broiler genetic stocks.

The award, under its Agri-Tech Catalyst programme, will fund cryopreservation and cutting-edge sequencing technologies to address food security and production efficiency. New stem cell preservation technology will be used to enable biobanking of pure lines to ensure these current genetic resources are available in the future. 

The project is projected to cost £815,904 (US$ 1.35 million) of £648,680 is being provided by the Innovate UK grant.  The work will also further mine the genome of Cobb poultry resources to understand the genetic drivers of key economic traits and exploit existing genetic variation to drive significant improvements in commercial performance for emerging markets. 

The award is made in the context of a need to double global poultry production in the next 25 years to meet growing demand for animal protein in the developing world.  Traditional commercial genetic resources will need to have the genetic potential to meet local environmental conditions, which include severe climate and disease challenge pressures. 

“Our investment and collaboration with the Roslin Institute represents a major initiative to address the genetic basis for improved breeder and broiler performance in an era of changing management programmes and an ever growing demand for animal protein,” said Dr Mitch Abrahamsen, Cobb-Vantress vice president of research and development.

“The awarding of funding from the UK government to support our collaboration is a significant recognition of the quality of the researchers involved and validation of our research strategies to assure food security and improving production efficiency.”  

Earlier this year it was announced that Cobb-Vantress is putting more than £600,000 (US$ 1 million) in a three-year joint research programme with the Roslin Institute facilitating collaboration on avian disease resistance, genome analysis and genome preservation. 

 

September 18, 2014 - The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report today calling antibiotic resistance a "threat to the nation" and outlines a plan for the U.S. to improve antibiotics and prevent antibiotic resistance. 

The plan includes incentives for drug development, a $20 million prize to encourage development of diagnostics to cut down on antibiotic misuse and increased surveillance to identify resistance as it develops.  Although the plans calls for continued efforts in reducing antibiotic use in livestock, it does not call for surveillance of drugs used in livestock or the amount used.

The full report can be found here

 

 

 

September 17, 2014 - Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO) has given final approval to its new Specialty Breeds Chicken program. The program was designed to support the increasing Ontario consumer demand for alternative breeds of chicken, and CFO says it will "create exciting opportunities for the specialty chicken value chain", which includes hatcheries, farmers, distributors and retailers of specialty breeds of chicken. 

CFO's Specialty Breeds Chicken program was developed to bring Ontario into alignment with the national Chicken Farmers of Canada specialty breeds policy.  The new program specifies that two common breeds of specialty chicken will now be included under this program: Frey's Special Dual Purpose chickens and Silkie chicken. These breeds are processed with "head and feet on" and are popular with many of Ontario's growing ethnocultural consumer communities.

CFO chair Henry Zantingh said in a release that the program will "provide a significant growth opportunity for the Ontario chicken industry" and meet the growing demand for different types of chicken from Ontario's changing demographics.

Although Silkies and Frey's Special Dual Purpose chicken breeds have been available for sale in Ontario for some time, CFO president and CEO Rob Dougans noted that the market for these products has been underdeveloped. 

Under the new system, those interested in becoming a specialty breeds chicken farmer will submit an application to CFO for the opportunity to grow a certain allotment of chicken.   Farmers and processors and other value chain partners involved in marketing specialty breeds chicken will receive the benefits of operating under a new regulated system.

Those interested in participating in the program must be a Canadian citizen and permanent resident of Ontario and be the beneficial owner of lands and buildings suitable for the production of specialty breeds of chicken. If an applicant is approved requires time to build such a facility, they have a period of 12 months from the date their application is approved to complete the construction and as an interim measure, may produce specialty chicken in a non-owned facility that meets CFO policy and regulations.

Approved applicants will become farmer-members of CFO.  Applicants can include those interested in growing designated specialty breeds of chicken; those already growing specialty breeds of chicken who are interested in becoming a farmer-member of Chicken Farmers of Ontario; and existing farmer-members who are currently growing designated specialty breeds of chicken breeds or who are interested in growing these breeds of chicken.

CFO will be holding information briefing sessions for individual farmers and industry value chain participants in communities across Ontario in the near future and applications for growing specialty breed chicken are now being accepted for 2015.

For more information on the application process, please visit ontariochicken.ca.

 

 

According to the Genome Institute at the University of Washington, the chicken genome —or more precisely that of its ancestor, the Red Jungle Fowl — has been described as the “premier non-mammalian vertebrate model organism and was the first genome to be sequenced of an animal that represents a significant component of the world’s food supply.”

David W. Burt of The Roslin Institute noted the importance of sequencing the genome in a 2005 Genomic Research article, where he wrote “many features of the chicken genome and its biology make it an ideal organism for studies in development and evolution, along with applications in agriculture and medicine.”

In fact, the chicken has played an integral role in research for more than 100 years. Burt notes that the chicken has been a popular model organism for understanding the fundamentals of biology, being ideally suited for the study of vertebrate development because the embryo is readily available and thus easily manipulated.

Prior to the sequencing of the chicken genome, the molecular development of limbs, the discovery of B cells and tumour-causing viruses are just three examples of the chicken’s contribution to biology.   

Although selective breeding has allowed the poultry industry worldwide to achieve exponential growth in the last 80 to 90 years, selecting for traits coveted by consumers and agri-business (fast growth, increased breast yield and egg production) has had some unintended consequences, such as an increase in metabolic and skeletal disorders, and reduced disease resistance.

Poultry breeding companies are, of course, utilizing the chicken genome in their quest to eliminate such undesirable traits but knowing gene sequences is only part of the equation. Understanding how genes function and how they affect certain traits is key.

That’s why the preservation of genetic material is critically important.  So-called “heritage breeds” represent a vital source of genetic variability, but live populations are costly for research institutions to maintain. Facing a funding shortfall, the Poultry Research Centre (PRC) at the University of Alberta developed a unique funding model to maintain its heritage lines and received an added bonus — the opportunity to engage consumers and teach them about poultry science and farming (see page 20).

The PRC launched its “Adopt a Hen” program in 2013 and expanded it for this year.  The program has supporters pay to “adopt” a hen from one of its five heritage breeds, and in return supporters receive a dozen eggs every two weeks.  New this year was the addition of chicks being available for sale at local Peavey Mart locations in the Edmonton area.

A huge success, “what started as a money recovery project has really turned into a community outreach program,” says Dr. Valerie Carney, an adjunct professor with the PRC.

It’s not surprising that the program was met with great interest from other universities in North America when Carney presented the program at the recent Poultry Science Association Meeting in Texas.  Having a sustainable method of preserving valuable genetic resources while teaching and cultivating an interest in the poultry industry — it doesn’t get much better than that.

 

 

 

September 5, 2014, Vancouver - Naturally Splendid Enterprises has announced the results of a recent study conducted at the University of Manitoba that showed an increase of over 637% in the natural omega content of eggs from chickens that consumed the exclusive HempOmegaTM plant based omega product when compared to chickens that consumed a current commercial feed product. Additionally, the study concluded that chickens that consumed HempOmega not only had substantially higher omega content in their eggs but also showed an increase of over 372% in the omega content of the chicken thigh meat itself as well as lower levels of saturated fats.

This study was conducted by Dr. James House at the University of Manitoba on behalf of Boreal Technologies Inc. The purpose of the study was to examine the efficacy of HempOmega when incorporated into poultry feed rations and to identify to what degree HempOmega(TM) could increase the natural omega levels found in eggs laid by chickens that consumed varying levels of the exclusive plant based omega product. Currently, omega-3 enriched egg production makes up approximately 15% of the Canadian shell egg market.

Poultry Study Results Table (8% HEMPomega Vs. Control Feed)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fatty Acid               Control Feed   8% HEMPomega Feed         % Increase
                       (mg/g of yolk)     (mg/g of yolk)     (mg/g of yolk)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Egg Yolk
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total omega-6                    63.98              73.26             114.50
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total omega-3                     2.17              13.83             637.33
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fatty Acid                Control Feed  8% HEMPomega Feed         % Increase
                     (mg/g of tissue)   (mg/g of tissue)   (mg/g of tissue)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thigh meat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total omega-6                     6.16               6.36             103.25
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total omega-3                     0.40               1.49             372.50
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

"There is a strong existing market for omega enhanced eggs and poultry products," says Naturally Splendid CEO Craig Goodwin. "Independent research and data conclude that the market for omega enriched products continues to grow in both product offerings and annual sales. This poultry study concludes that HempOmega economically increases the omega content of chicken eggs and poultry meat thus opening the opportunity to market HempOmega to poultry feed manufacturing companies." 


From left to right: James and Brenda McIntosh; Andy Robinson, chair of the Department of Animal and Poultry Science; and Robert Gordon, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College. Photo courtesy of OAC dean’s office

 

August 25, 2014 - James and Brenda McIntosh are the 2014 recipients of the Ed McKinley Poultry Worker of the Year award. The award is presented yearly to outstanding individuals in the poultry industry by the Poultry Industry Council (PIC).

The award was presented August 21 in Seaforth, Ontario at the Huron County Summer Barbecue for Zone 5 Egg and Pullet Farmers and families.

Keith Robbins, Executive Director, PIC said, "James and Brenda McIntosh are to be commended for their generous one million dollar contribution to the University of Guelph ensuring poultry nutrition research and education will be available for future generations of poultry farmers."

James McIntosh earned an undergraduate degree from Ontario Agricultural College in 1959, and a master's degree in poultry nutrition in 1961. It was at the University of Guelph that he met Brenda, and together they founded McIntosh Poultry Farms Ltd. in Seaforth. The family's contribution to the sector exemplifies the poultry worker of the year characteristics.

Poultry Industry Council is a not for profit charity that develops and funds research extension and education programs for the poultry industry within Ontario. It is supported by the Ontario feather boards, industry organizations, and by both corporate and individual members.

August 20, 2014 - Burnbrae Farms has gifted $500,000 to the University of Guelph to establish the Burnbrae Farms Professorship in Poultry Welfare, a tenure track position in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science.  Dr. Alexandra Harlander will assume this position and will serve the poultry industry with her insights on animal welfare and behavior in all poultry species. 

The professorship will support egg farmers and increase the capacity for the ongoing research of laying hen behaviour and housing. The main objective of the research is to solve problems associated with alternative non-cage systems and to better understand the behaviour and biology of the laying hen. This research will support the adoption of new practices, the design of systems that are best suited for the hens’ welfare and the implementation of new technology to improve the quality of life of laying hens on the farm.  

Margaret Hudson, President of Burnbrae Farms, said in a release "the University of Guelph has played a significant role in the support of animal welfare and behavior, and the research they conduct is unmatched. This professorship will help increase its capacity and will be unique in its outreach efforts to farmers, the general public and retailers.”

The professorship, also partially funded by the Poultry Industry Council and the Canadian Poultry Research Council, will focus on research, teaching, industry service and educating farmers, retailers and consumers. Consumers’ preferences continue to drive the demands of retailers and the specialty egg market in Canada.  Professor Harlander is an associated faculty member of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, an internationally recognized centre of excellence, and will work to balance on-farm productivity and poultry welfare, with the needs of the general public.

“Burnbrae Farms’ commitment to the industry, animal welfare and consumers is evident in its support of this innovative position,” said Rob Gordon, Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College of the University of Guelph in a news release. “We need champions to communicate with farmers, retailers and consumers. This position will focus on working with the entire value chain to enhance production systems and approaches, and educate on the issue of poultry welfare and behaviour.”

“This professorship is exceptionally timely. With pressing demands from the public and food industry professionals, Canada, like many countries, needs research to help establish new, high-care standards based on sound data”, said Alexandra Harlander, Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, who is accepting the professorship. “Canadians consume about 204 eggs per person, annually and vast quantities are produced in modern production systems. For the improvement of poultry welfare it is important that we continue to explore the core aspects of their health and strive to determine what they want from their environments.” 

Burnbrae Farms said the release that researching and developing systems that focus on the overall welfare of the hens is part of the company’s mandate. The company has worked closely with researchers at the Poultry Welfare Research Centre at the University of Guelph to examine poultry housing systems and related hen behaviours for many years.  Burnbrae Farms said its goal is to implement the best possible technologies for good poultry care, and that it continues to evolve and change its housing systems based on new research findings. The company’s support of the professorship only further solidifies its ongoing commitment to poultry welfare in Canada. 

“Burnbrae Farms is dedicated to animal welfare and the promotion of sustainable agriculture systems that provide consumers with safe, affordable food and a good quality of life for the laying hens,” said Hudson. “We’re committed to putting in place systems that have been proven through research to provide the best welfare for our birds.”

 

 

August 6, 2014 - Canada should be "tossed out" of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations if it remains unwilling to open up its agricultural sector to greater competition, U.S. Congress has told U.S. President Barack Obama. READ MORE 

August 1, 2014 - The U.S.D.A. recently announced reforms to decades-old processes for inspecting poultry facilities in a bid to cut down on the number of foodborne illnesses, but dropped an industry-backed plan to speed up production.  READ MORE 

 

The federal government has provided $2.2 million to NFACC to develop and update poultry codes of practice  

August 1, 2014 - The federal government has announced $2.2 million in funding to the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) to update and develop poultry codes and further advance
best practices for the care and handling of other farm animals. The announcement took place yesterday in Guelph, Ont. at the Poultry Industry Council's head office.

Parliamentary Secretary Pierre Lemieux said in a release that the investment "will help the industry  enhance its competitiveness both at home and abroad through promotion of assurance systems that will benefit the entire value chain."

 

The NFACC is the organization responsible for reviewing the national Codes of Practice for farm animals, via the Canadian Animal Health Coalition (CAHC).

NFACC’s members represent 28 different organizations spanning a broad cross-section of the animal agriculture industries and animal welfare groups. NFACC has the mandate to develop and review the Codes of Practice for the care and handling of livestock and to communicate current farm animal welfare activities.

The CAHC will build on previous work done with the NFACC and will update existing animal care codes for the poultry sector and develop three new codes of practice for additional sectors. Guidance materials will be developed to ensure that farmers have access to the latest,
most up-to-date codes and assessment programs, assuring customers that the product they choose has been raised to the strictest standards of animal welfare.

This funding announcement reinforces the importance of having up-to-date Codes of Practice, and the status of Canada’s world class food and agriculture systems, the Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) said in a release. The Codes themselves are reviewed regularly to ensure that high standards for animal care are present in all types of livestock rearing and transport. They also make up the backbone of CFC’s animal care programs.

The Codes are science-based and go through rigorous examination, discussion, and assessment, including a 60-day public comment period. Many different groups are represented on the Codes Committees, including farmers, veterinarians, scientists and researchers, and groups associated with animal health and welfare protection.

CFC Chair Dave Janzen said "the Codes provide us with the ability to create and maintain sound, science-based animal care programs. We have a long history of working together to ensure that chickens are raised with the utmost care and we take pride in the measures we take to ensure the safety, health and well-being of the birds in our care.”

CFC’s Animal Care Program (ACP) is based on the poultry Code of Practice and will be updated to incorporate changes made during this Code revision.

CFC has been working on the poultry Code review committee during this latest process and has led the charge to updating the Code and ensuring that the highest standards and guidelines are included. The next phase of the Code review process will be launched with this new funding, and it is anticipated that the new Code of Practice for poultry will be completed by early 2016.

The funds announced are from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through their AgriMarketing Program, a part of Growing Forward II. 

 

July 24, 2014 - The Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan has been given an investment of $275,000 to undertake a research project on disease control from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

The announcement was made today by Member of Parliament Brad Trost, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, in Saskatoon.

With this investment, the Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan aims to identify and characterize new variants of the avian reovirus and determine how they are transmitted. It also aims to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for inclusion body hepatitis (IBH) in field trials.

This project is a step in the development of vaccines for avian reovirus and IBH, two diseases which are a common problem for many broiler producers. If commercialized, these vaccines have the potential of reducing economic losses in the Canadian broiler chicken industry and the need for therapeutics by preventing instead of treating these diseases.

Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan Chair Diane Pastoor said the organization is “excited to receive this investment to advance research and development into safe and effective vaccines for the Canadian poultry industry.” The research will be conducted through the University of Saskatchewan by Dr. Susantha Gomis and will assist the industry in improving flock health and reducing the usage of antibiotics, she said. 

This investment is made through the Industry-led Research and Development stream of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's AgriInnovation Program, a five-year, up to $698-million initiative under Growing Forward 2.

July 24, 2014 - Alltech has announced plans to develop a poultry layer and aquaculture facility in the new Marion Branch industrial site in Pikeville, Kentucky. 

The global animal nutrition company, headquartered in Nicholasville, will become the first occupant of the on the new site.  The Marion Branch industrial site is a project that incorporates the objectives of the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative, begun by Governor Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers in late 2013 to revitalize the struggling economy in eastern Kentucky counties.

The company says the initiative falls in line with its core business in animal nutrition, implementing its sustainable and natural solutions designed to help farmers feed a rapidly growing world population of 9 billion people by 2050.

“We are delighted to have the support of Gov. Beshear, Congressman Hal Rogers and the Commonwealth of Kentucky that will make it possible for Alltech and other companies to operate at the Marion Branch Industrial Park,” said Deirdre Lyons, co-founder and director of corporate image and design at Alltech. “We are also thankful to the City of Pikeville for their continued support and shared vision for prosperity in eastern Kentucky. We hope that through our decision to build an aquaculture and layer facility at Marion Branch, as well as a new brewery and distillery in downtown Pikeville, we can be a catalyst for further economic development in the area.”

Marion Branch is a 380-acre former surface mine site that is within Pikeville city limits and owned by the city. Pikeville City Commission worked to obtain the infrastructure of a bridge, road, water and sewer to encourage business development in the area.

The Pikeville/Alltech announcement is in line with the efforts of the 10 SOAR working groups that are leading discussions throughout the region on topics related to eastern Kentucky’s future economic well-being and quality of life. Based on citizen and organizational input, the groups will identify significant opportunities and a long-term vision related to their topics. The working groups’ focus areas include broadband; agriculture, community and regional foods; business recruitment and incubation; education and retraining; and health.

This month, Canadian Poultry presents our annual Who’s Who of the Canadian poultry industry, where we highlight the human side of our industry. It’s my favourite issue of the year — it never fails to amaze me how diverse this industry is, how dedicated Canadian poultry farmers are, and the great stories they have to tell.  

It’s the dedication to producing a high-quality product, family  life and serving community that shines through in this issue each and every year.  As well, the many benefits of supply management are more than evident.

With the onslaught of “undercover” videos in recent months it seems as though farmers, and the act of farming itself, is under attack.  Articles in newspapers across the country, as well as “reports” from think-tank and special interest groups try to equate supply management with higher prices for poultry and dairy products at the grocery store.  It’s no wonder consumers are confused, unsure, and looking for assurance that the products they buy are raised in a conscience way and safe.

And they also want to buy Canadian products.  That’s why the Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC)  have been working for a number of years on a branding campaign, last month launching a new logo, “Raised by a Canadian Farmer,” that let’s consumers know that the chicken they are buying is Canadian.

The organization has frequently conducted usage and attitude surveys by the polling and research group Leger Marketing According that show Canadians are becoming increasingly conscious of where their meat is coming from. “In the last ten or 15 years, we’ve seen the country of origin and trust in Canadian chicken farmers become very important in the minds of the consumers,” says Lisa Bishop-Spencer, communications manager with CFC.  

The most recent survey, conducted in July 2013, confirmed this with 87 per cent of Canadian primary shoppers feeling that it’s important the chicken they buy is Canadian, not imported, and 77 per cent of Canadians would trust the chicken label they selected as best if it came directly from a farmers’ group rather than a retailer or manufacturer.

CFC launched the campaign in June. But consumers want to know more than just that their chicken is Canadian.  

That’s why CFC is also launching “The Inside Coop”, a space on the chickenfarmers.ca website where farmers can share their stories and give Canadian consumers real, credible information on how their chicken is raised, and who raised it.

It’s a great initiative, following in the footsteps of similar initiatives such as Farm Credit Canada’s “Agriculture More Than Ever” where Canadian farmers from all commodities are encouraged to tell their story.  It’s too early to tell whether this initiative is getting its intended point across and how well it is being used by consumers, but it’s encouraging to see the number of farmers and those working in the agriculture industry using it.

It would be great to see the Inside Coop get the same amount of participation from Canadian chicken farmers.  The rapidly evolving world of communications and social media has provided agriculture with the opportunity to engage consumers in a more human, real way — take advantage of it.

 

July 16, 2014 -  The Government of Canada announced that it is further strengthening Canada's food safety system by allowing the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to issue monetary penalties to businesses that do not meet Canada's meat safety requirements. The new regulatory amendment expands Administrative Monetary Penalities (AMPs) to the Meat Inspection Act and the Meat Inspection Regulations, 1990.

This regulatory amendment will allow CFIA inspectors to issue an AMP for non-compliance with 84 provisions of the Meat Inspection Act (MIA) and the Meat Inspection Regulations (MIR). These provisons include items related to: food safety (control programs such as HACCP) and non-food safety (labelling and consumer protection).

AMPs do not replace existing inspection and enforcement tools, but instead offer the Agency an additional tool in managing non-compliance situations.

The expansion of the AMPs to include the MIA and MIR supports other activities being undertaken by the CFIA, such as those outlined in the Healthy and Safe Food for Canadians Framework. This framework illustrates how our Government is working to prevent food safety risks and protect Canadians when unsafe products enter the marketplace.

The regulations come into force immediately. The CFIA will be working with the Canadian meat industry to help gradually transition to the new regulations. The amendments to the Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC) AMPs Regulations were published in Canada Gazette, Part II on July 16, 2014.

Cargill’s Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms are now the first major turkey brands in the U.S. to remove growth-promoting antibiotics from all turkeys across the independent farms they work with, without charging a premium price. Based on consumer research and feedback, these brands are pioneering efforts to provide families with new, affordable, turkey choices.

Cargill worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a three-part verification process for turkey production that exceeds all current government and industry standards:

  • All turkeys are raised by independent farmers
  • Producers are trained on proper animal handling practices
  • No antibiotics are used for growth promotion (antibiotics only used for treatment of illness and disease prevention)

Cargill’s initiative to remove growth-promoting antibiotics was reinforced last December when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a three-year plan to phase out the use of antibiotics that are medically important in human health and are also used to improve growth or feed efficiency in livestock and poultry.

“Fresh, whole turkeys raised without growth-promoting antibiotics will be available this Thanksgiving under Cargill’s signature brand labels, Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, president of the Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats business in a release. “All Cargill turkey flocks will be free of growth-promoting antibiotics by the end of 2015.”

The company’s farmer partners have been trained on industry leading animal handling practices established by the National Turkey Federation, which enables handlers to provide the best care for the animals. Cargill said in the release that the health and wellness of animals is of utmost importance to the company, and antibiotics will still be administered under the supervision of a veterinarian to treat and prevent disease.

July 10, 2014 - Maple Leaf Foods today released its Sustainability Report highlighting the Company's sustainability pillars, achievements and priorities with a particular focus on 2013 and the first half of 2014.

"The past 18 months have marked tremendous transition and opportunity for Maple Leaf," said Lynda Kuhn, Senior Vice President, Sustainability and Public Affairs, Maple Leaf Foods. "We divested a number of non-core businesses to accelerate our growth as dedicated consumer packaged meats company. Our increased focus on sustainability, including accelerating our progress in environmental sustainability, community outreach and animal wellness, will be
fundamental to our culture and growth."

The report can be viewed by visiting: www.mapleleafsustainability.ca

Highlights of Maple Leaf's sustainability performance highlights include:

Economic Responsibility

       --  Maple Leaf has invested over $1 billion to establish a highly
           efficient, sustainable manufacturing and distribution network
           in Canada that secures our competitiveness on a North American
           scale.

Social Responsibility


       --  Maple Leaf was the first national pork company in Canada to
           commit to transitioning to open housing for sows.
           In 2013, the Company converted 1,250 sows and two barns to open
           housing. Two barns with 3,000 sow spaces each will be converted
           in 2014.

       --  Maple Leaf invested more than $1.5 million in community initiatives in 2013. 

Environmental Responsibility


       --  In 2014, Maple Leaf is committing the focus and resources to
           pursue the implementation of a robust Environmental Sustainability
           strategy, with clear, measurable near-term and long-term
           targets.

Consumer Responsibility


       --  Supporting our commitment to be a global food safety leader,
           over 11,500 employees completed food safety training
           or programs in 2013.
       --  Maple Leaf was the first branded national company in Canada to introduce Raised Without Antibiotics products across a prepared meats portfolio, in     addition to our popular Raised Without Antibiotics Maple Leaf Prime poultry.


July 10, 2014 - A California chicken producer has issued its first recall since being linked to an outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella that has been making people sick for more than a year, company and federal food officials said Thursday night.

The U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture said it has found evidence directly linking Foster Farms boneless-skinless chicken breast to a case of Salmonella Heidelberg, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the disease that has sickened more than 500 people in the past 16 months and led to pressure from food safety advocates for federal action against the company.

As a result, Foster Farms issued a recall for 170 different chicken products that came from its Fresno facilities in March.

The USDA said its investigators first learned of the salmonella case on June 23, and the recall was issued as soon as the direct link was confirmed. The location of the case and identity of the person were not released.

Foster Farms says the products have “use or freeze by'' dates from March 21 to March 29 and have been distributed to California, Hawaii, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Alaska.

The long list of products in the recall include drumsticks, thighs, chicken tenders and livers. Most are sold with the Foster Farms label but some have the labels FoodMaxx, Kroger, Safeway, Savemart, Valbest and Sunland. No fresh products currently in grocery stores are involved.

The USDA said it was working with the company to determine the total amount of chicken affected by the recall.

The company emphasized that the recall was based on a single case and a single product but the broad recall is being issued in an abundance of caution.

“Our first concern is always the health and safety of the people who enjoy our products, and we stand committed to doing our part to enhance the safety of our nation's food supply,'' Foster Farms said in a statement.

The federal Centers for Disease Control says 574 people from 27 states and Puerto Rico have been sickened since the outbreak began in 2013, leading to increasing pressure from food safety advocates for a recall or even an outright shutdown of Foster Farms facilities.

Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who specializes in class-action food-safety lawsuits, commended both Foster Farms and the USDA for “doing the right thing for food safety.''

“Recalling product is both embarrassing and hard, but is the right thing to do for your customers,'' Marler said.

The company was linked to previous salmonella illnesses in 2004 and in 2012.

Recalls of poultry contaminated with salmonella are tricky because the law allows raw chicken to have a certain amount of salmonella — a rule that consumer advocates have long lobbied to change. Because salmonella is so prevalent in poultry and is killed if consumers cook it properly, the government has not declared it to be an "adulterant,'' or illegal, in meat, as is E. coli.

In a letter from USDA to Foster Farms last October, the department said inspectors had documented "fecal material on carcasses'' along with "poor sanitary dressing practices, insanitary food contact surfaces, insanitary nonfood contact surfaces and direct product contamination.''

Foster Farms said in May that it had put new measures in place, including tighter screening of birds, improved safety on the farms where the birds are raised and better sanitation in its plants.

June 23, 2014 - The Board of Directors of the George Morris Centre (GMC) announced June 19 their intent to dissolve the organization later this year and transfer the net assets as a gift to the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) of the University of Guelph, in accordance with the wishes of the late George Morris.  The Centre is a national, indpendent think-tank focusing exclusively on the agriculture and food industries.  

In returning to the University of Guelph, the vision of the Centre is going home, as it was domiciled with OAC for its first 10 years.  In making the announcement, Board Chair Bob Funk said "We are proud of the reputation and the provocative discussion that has been created over the years by a succession of dedicated GMC team members.  George's vision can best be described in his own words: "free thought, free speech and non-compromised analysis to serve the Canadian agri-food sector thus enabling those involved to more effectively compete in the global marketplace". 

In the interim period, a transition team is in place to ensure the continued integrity of all obligations of the George Morris Centre. For more information, please contact: John F.T. Scott, Managing Director, George Morris Centre  647-403-9099

June 6, 2014 - Nutri Group announced yesterday that it is taking ownership, through Nutri-Œuf, of Ovale Eggs' entire assets. With this acquisition, Nutri Group confirms its position among Canada's leaders in grading, processing and marketing eggs and their derivatives. Following this transaction, Nutri Group is now comprised of six modern, high-performance plants across Canada.

"Our sustained growth over the past few years is culminating today with this major and strategic acquisition, which once again underscores the strength of our business model, in which producers are also owners," said Michel Gauvin, Chairman of the Board of Nutri Group in a press release. He notes that this acquisition highlights the company's willingness to keep driving excellence and meet the industry's highest standards. 

Besides enabling Nutri Group to strengthen its presence in Eastern Québec, acquiring Ovale Eggs gives it the opportunity to consolidate and optimize its operations. Nutri-Group outlined in the release additional benefits to the company for the transaction, including: ensuring a stable offer for its major buyers, guaranteeing optimal product marketing for local producers, providing consumers with a wider product selection, and optimizing it's transportation logistics. 

About Ovale Eggs

Based in Saint-Lambert-de-Lauzon, on Québec City's south shore, Ovale Eggs specializes in egg grading, packaging and distribution throughout supermarket and grocery networks across Québec and New Brunswick. Over 30 million dozen eggs leave Ovale Eggs' plant each year, including several added-value varieties.

About Nutri Group and Nutri-Œuf

Comprised of six entities, Nutri Group ranks among Canada's leaders in grading and marketing shell eggs and their derivatives. Founded in 2005, Nutri Group currently boasts over 300 employees and a nationwide distribution network. Moreover, it operates modern, high-performance plants across Canada, enabling it to market more than 1.7 billion regular and specialty (Omega, organic, brown, etc.) eggs and processed eggs.

Founded in St-Hyacinthe in 1987, Nutri-Œuf is a member of Nutri Group, thereby benefitting from its vast distribution network. A member of Aliments du Québec, Nutri-Œuf is GSFI-certified and was the first company to receive the Canada Organic certification for its organic egg production.

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