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The Dairy Farmers of Canada should be commended for asking members to stop using palmitic acids in feed while launching a national investigation into the matter.

For likely the very first time in its history, arguably the most powerful lobby group in the country opted to listen to Canadians. It’s not easy to admit publicly that something isn’t right, especially in Canadian dairy.

Early on as questions arose about hard butter, the Dairy Farmers of Canada said nothing was wrong.

Then on Feb. 19, the group acknowledged that the issue needed to be addressed and created a committee to look at the issue.

Then on Feb. 25, the group halted the practice of feeding palmitic acids to dairy cattle and launched a more complete investigation. That’s quite the reversal.

Dairy boards are accustomed to criticism. However, much of the criticism in the past came from groups such as animal welfare activists and vegans, who believe the sector should be outlawed.

This time was different. Criticism came from consumers who love Canadian dairy products.

Whether the use of the palm oil byproduct in feed is the reason butter is hard isn’t the only issue. Canadians were stunned most to learn that palm oil, a product from the other side of the world, was part of our dairy production process. Most Canadians just didn’t know. It also raises questions about other things we might want to know about dairy production but don’t.

We protect and compensate Canadian dairy farmers and our love affair for dairy is long-standing. Most Canadians believed sustainability, local production, natural characteristics and pureness are values embedded in the Blue Cow campaign we’ve seen for years.

The image that palm oil portrays just doesn’t wed well with what advertising campaigns say the industry is all about. Most Canadians would concur, starting with dairy farmers themselves.

For many Canadians, something didn’t feel right and that’s a problem for the industry, whether it agrees with the public outcry or not. Our social contract with the industry was compromised.

Many have said that buttergate is very much a First World problem. Perhaps, but buttergate wasn’t considered scandalous or controversial within the industry. It simply pointed to deep-rooted problems the industry has had for a very long time but hasn’t acknowledged.

It starts with the lack of transparency. For the most part, dairy regulates itself, which is why processors have little to say about the quality of ingredients they lawfully must buy.

Dairy research’s focus needs to change. Most of it has to do with increasing productivity and managing genetics on the farm. But this research needs to address the disconnect between animal science, how we feed animals, and how these practices impact the quality of dairy products and human health over time.

When it comes to dairy product quality, we fly in the dark in Canada. For whatever reason, not many people look at butter’s ingredients on store shelves. This has changed with buttergate. It has also forced the industry to look hard at its practices.

In more recent statements, the Dairy Farmers of Canada claimed the data suggests that the quantity of palmitic acid in milk fat meets the regulated standards. But the industry is launching an investigation to see if our butter actually measures up to its standards.

The industry shouldn’t have to investigate – it should already have the evidence.

Replacing palmitic acids in feed won’t be easy. Many scientists say there are few alternatives. But Canadian-made alternatives can be designed and marketed properly.

Other countries where palmitic acids are allowed are also considering changes to feed protocols. This could be an opportunity for Canadian dairy know-how to shine, offering dairy energy supplements to the world.

Not all Canadian dairy farmers are using palmitic supplements to feed their cows – we believe 35 to 40 per cent are. So why have some dairy farmers chosen not to use palmitic acids in their feed even though it’s been legal for at least a decade?

It’s important to set best practices for the industry or at least revisit them while considering our dairy industry as a social system. Whatever happens on the farm requires public acceptance. This is what buttergate is truly all about.

The industry will be stronger than ever after the issue is thoroughly investigated.

Canadians want the ethical and moral considerations of farmgate practices to be included in the investigation. And investigators shouldn’t just be like-minded stakeholders who are part of the vast and powerful inner circles of the industry. The investigation should be open. It shouldn’t just be about productivity.

The investigation should also look at imported dairy products. Perhaps reciprocity is necessary to protect our farmers, unless our sector considers a palm oil-free position a competitive advantage. Everything should be on the table.

Dairy farmers are good, responsible people. They were doing what they thought was right for them, for their herds and for the Canadian public.

Industry leaders, on the other hand, should have known that society has changed and the industry needs to adapt, like any industry.

Canadian supply management allows for changes in farming protocols without financially penalizing farmers. We should use this system wisely so it serves the Canadian population well.

 
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Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, March 4, 2021 – Nutri Group is announcing the appointment of Sébastien Léveillé, agr., MBA, as CEO of the company. He will take office on March 29, 2021 and replace Claude Dulude, who will be leaving the organization after more than eight years of loyal service to focus on personal commitments.

Sébastien Léveillé is an accomplished and well-known leader in the agribusiness industry. He has more than 18 years of experience in strategic planning, organizational management, business development and marketing/communications.
He joins Nutri Group after holding several leadership positions at Sollio Cooperative Group (previously La Coop fédérée) since 2008. He was Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Sollio Agriculture since 2013. He previously held the position of Executive Director of La Coop Pont-Rouge.

“We wish to welcome Sébastien Léveillé as the new CEO,” said Serge Lefebvre, President of Nutri Group. “Sébastien has the vision and skills to efficiently and successfully lead our organization. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we offer him our heartfelt congratulations and wish him all the best in his new role.”

Claude Dulude has made an outstanding contribution to the national growth and development of our “Farmer Owned” business model, which has been enjoying increasing success within the organization.

“The Board of Directors want to thank and acknowledge his dedication and commitment during all those years, his many achievements and excellent leadership,” Serge Lefebvre added.

Claude Dulude will work with his successor to ensure a seamless transition.

 
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Foodborne illness causes an estimated loss of $77 billion annually in the U.S. alone—and the primary cause ispathogens in food products. That’s why testing is vital for the foodservice industry, especially during a public health crisis.

What are the latest advances in food testing, and how will they ensure a safer and more profitable foodservice industry?

Fluxergy,an Irvine, Calif.-based medical diagnostic test company that has delivered the first multimodal testing system (renowned from bringing one of the first under 1-hour COVID tests to market) is now developing a portable laboratory testing device that can perform testing of microbiological, chemical, and nutritional data in a 15-45-minute window. The device’s small footprint and simple workflow make it perfect for on-site detection and operation by minimally trained individuals and can measure multiple parameters at once for more effective food testing.

What makes Fluxergy’s foodservice platform unique is its ability to add testing at the third and final stage of the supply chain: retail. Previously, there were no point-of-use rapid testing platforms for food safety testing that could potentially be used at a restaurant or food processors on a daily basis. 

We’re offering an interview with Tej Patel, CEO and Co-Founder of Fluxergy, to share his insights on the future of food safety. He’ll explain the most pressing safety challenges facing the foodservice industry today and how low-cost, accessible, on-site testing of pathogens is the key to overcoming these challenges—ensuring public safety and saving billions of dollars.

 
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Erie, PA—Eric Confer, Eriez® Market Manager for Light Industries, says demand continues to grow from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the company’s cutting-edge vibratory feeding solutions for integration into packaging systems. Confer says, “Packaging system OEMs rely on vibratory feeders to meter and convey a variety of bulky and free-flowing material to provide greater economy and efficiency in feeding and filling, and Eriez delivers.”

 

Eriez offers High Speed (HS) and High Deflection (HD) feeders, ideal for use with weigh scale and packaging machines. The Eriez team works with OEMs to develop custom solutions for the most unique applications and requirements, according to Confer.

 

“In the world of packaging,” says Confer, “efficiency on the plant floor is a top priority. Feeding components play an especially critical role in the overall speed, accuracy and reliability of a packaging line system solution. Electromagnetic feeders are ideal for packaging applications because they can be rapidly cycled on/off and feed material evenly and consistently.”  The company says Eriez’ line of HS and HD feeders are used worldwide for everything from simple metering to moving difficult leafy products, as well as high-speed packaging and material load applications.

 

According to Eriez, the company offers a complete solution approach for packaging machines with a variety of feeders that are adaptable and flexible. These units are extremely energy-efficient, low maintenance with no rotating parts and can be provided with a range of sanitary and non-sanitary trays.

 

Exceptional high speed feeding of light, bulky materials is characteristic of the Eriez HS line, which features 10 models with feed rates from 40 to 600 cubic feet per hour. These units are light, functional and easy to install in small spaces. Tray widths range from 2 to 16 inches and lengths range from 16 to 60 inches on a single drive, which has no moving parts to wear out.

 

The Eriez HD feeders combine a high amplitude (up to 3/16 inch) motion and the reliability of an electromagnetic drive for metering of powders, leafy, malleable and slightly sticky products. Three models have capacity from 40 to 700 cubic feet. Tray widths range from 4 to 16 inches and lengths range from 24 to 60 inches. Feed rates of up to 80 feet per minute (24 m/min) are possible for products with a bulk density less than 10 lb/ft3 (.16 gm/cc).

For more information about HS and HD feeders, visit http://erieznews.com/nr536. Online visitors can download an equipment selection guide and additional product literature.

 
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Headingley, MB - March 11, 2021 -- Agriculture in the Classroom Canada (AITC-C), along with its ten provincial member organizations, is proud to announce the national expansion of The Business of Food (BOF), thanks to a $450,000 multi-year partnership from Bayer Crop Science Canada. This new partnership will also leverage matching funding from the recently announced Canadian Agriculture Partnership program through Agriculture and Agrifood Canada.

Developed by AgScape, the Ontario member to AITC-C, the Business of Food is a comprehensive e-learning platform aimed at bringing knowledge about food and agriculture to education professionals. From April 2019 through 2020, the program reached 243 educational stakeholders across Ontario, the majority of which came from urban areas, where traditionally the agriculture knowledge gap is widest.

“We are so excited to be able to take a successful education program and offer it nationally,” said Johanne Ross, Executive Director of AITC-C. “This support through our long-standing partnership with Bayer allows us to continuously improve AITC resources for members of our educational community, who have the biggest impact on future generations across Canada.”

Bayer’s generous support of BOF and AITC-C, ensures the program meets the growing demands Canadians have to become better-informed consumers in our interconnected world.

“Our connection with food from an early age is vital and education drives that connection,” said Trish Jordan, Senior Business Partner, Government & Industry Affairs with Bayer. “Building good food habits and developing a positive relationship with Canada’s food system needs to be taught to students in an engaging way, and we know AITC has the right programs to make this happen.”

BOF will equip educators to deliver factual, relevant, and balanced information from across the agri-food sector into Canadian classrooms. Through the e-learning platform, teachers will gain the knowledge and confidence to present foundational topics in agriculture and food to students, as well as learn about how the sector relates to their daily life and well-being.

Taylor Selig, Executive Director of AgScape, is especially thrilled about the shifts in attitude indicated by graduates of the Business of Food program. “100% of teachers said they would apply what they learned from BOF in the classroom,” said Selig. “The innovations adopted by Canadian farmers and agriculture professionals directly impact our daily lives and being able to open students' eyes to their role in our food system is incredibly rewarding.”

Watch for AITC-C's national roll out of the BOF program later this year. To learn more about the current Business of Food program in Ontario, visit AgScape’s website.

 

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