Archive for the ‘food safety’ Category

TIME Article Proves People Are Not Interested in Facts

September 2, 2009

I had a subscription to TIME magazine and I will be cancelling it based on the unfounded rhetoric the magazine has recently published. Writer Brian Walsh penned the cover story entitled, “The Real Cost of Cheap Food.” To say that this one sided article has raised the ire of the agricultural industry would be an understatement. The story is the same old tired rhetoric that corporate America is the one to blame for the number of farms decreasing and that agriculture is responsible for obesity. And guess what, the article also mentions that organic is here to save the day.

In the following interview with the Mr. Walsh on Agritalk, his backstroke is quite evident and bounces all over the place trying to cover his lack of journalistic integrity. In the interview Mr. Walsh admits that he did not get the other side of the story and that TIME chose to run this one-sided story. In the interview (linked above), Mr. Walsh claims in the story that organic production could feed the world if given a chance. Mr. Walsh also claims in the interview organic production is better for you, tastes better and is easier on the land in his opinion”. when the Agritalk host asks him about animal antibiotics, he states his opinion and those of others but dismisses, the opinions of veterinarians in the business. TIME is supposed to be a news magazine not PEOPLE. The story lacks fact and does cause one to draw the conclusion that fact has taken a second seat to sensationalism in all media.
I encourage you to write TIME magazine and express your displeasure with this absolute attack on our industry. It is important that you speak up and not let people outside of agriculture speak for you and about you. Let your voice be heard!!!!

Please read Raoul Baxter’s post on MeatingPlace, discussing the inaccuracies of the TIME piece just in case you think I’m the crazy one.

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ILC 2009: Dennis Laycraft VP at CCA – The Future Realities of MCOOL

July 30, 2009

At the International Livestock Congress, I spoke to Dennis Laycraft, Executive Vice President with the Canadian Cattlemans Association about the future realities of MCOOL. Many livestock producers on both sides of the border are very curious at to what will be the impact of this legislation. I have heard several Americans call MCOOL not food safety legislation but a marketing tool instead. This would be in drastic contrast to what RCALF has been arguing about. See Dennis chat about the history of MCOOL

More ILC 2009 Content

ILC 2009: Part 2 – Dr. Bruce German The Future of the Personalized Diet

July 29, 2009

Dr. Bruce German has done some fascinating research on milk and the affect that it has on our diet.  In this interview Dr. German talk about milk and the personalized diet.  I find that Dr. German is very interesting and provides real food for thought and it is backed up with years of research.  

More ILC 2009 content

ILC 2009: Barbara Beane – KFC – Food Innovation and Safety in the Chicken Business

July 22, 2009

With the event of H1N1 poultry food safety has become a very popular topic amongst the general public not just agriculturalists.  At the International Livestock Congress in Calgary, I talked to Barbara Beane of KFC about how KFC is bringing innovative and new products to the marketplace. We also discussed how KFC manages food safety.  

Check out additional International Livestock Congress content

When "Urban Farms" Cross the Line

June 18, 2009

There is increased press and interest in the concept of “urban farms.” The preached benefits are community support, less fossil fuel use and the ever popular “its safer food.”Where I think we have crossed the line of common sense is that some cities in Ontario allow back yard chicken coops for urban egg production. People have we lost our minds? What would ever possess you to start an egg farm in your backyard? It surely is not food safety or trying to make your neighbours happy. Have you never heard of the grocery store? In the linked story an Owen Sound city councillor justifies this nonsense by stating,

“It speaks to food safety. It speaks to food security. It speaks to so many
things.”


I would say that it speaks to human kinds apparent lack intelligence. For those of us that are reasonable, it is fairly well understood that urban farms are not going to improve food security and safety in a country, city, town, or village anytime in the future.

For the sake of interest I called the City of Lethbridge Regulatory office and asked if I would be able to start a chicken farm in my back yard. The lady laughed and said no!! I told her who I was and asked her if this was a common request. She replied that they do get some requests every year from Lethbridge residents to have chickens, goats, sheep and ponies in their backyards. Do some of the urban residents of North America not trust the food system or are they thinking this will save them a dollar. Why not support the experts and buy from farmers and the grocery store. What is next, we don’t trust doctors and so we allow people to give each others surgeries.

Farming is a serious occupation that some discredit by thinking they can just do it themselves in a safer fashion. Lets not discredit the hard working people of rural areas by calling some lady that has 10 chickens in her back yard a farmer. This is no different than someone who has a 10 foot by 10 foot corn crop in their back yard is not a farmer….they are a gardener. Lets let some common sense prevail and quit this nonsense of cities like Guelph, Brampton and some US cities.

Support the REAL farmers!!

Food Education is Important to Agriculture’s Future

June 9, 2009

Food education is something that is very lacking in today’s’ society. Sorting out the definitions of organic, natural, transgenic, or biotech can be a bit hefty for those of us in the industry…never mind the consumer. Much of what we see at the grocery store today is more about marketing than anything to do with food. In my mind this is more caused by the consumer than the food companies. Food, like many other products is marketed to consumers because that is what they respond to.

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) funded this video series which was entitled “Whats For Lunch?” It pokes fun at the misconception of the consumer about food.

Whether it is organics or biotech, the consumer is really not informed. As the video shows this has never been more evident. The battle over organics and biotech ingredients will never cease because it is about marketing and grabbing market share. In my opinion organics and natural is just as much about marketing as the large food companies with processed foods. Just like organic extremists encourage you to eat food only within 100 miles others say biotech is the only answer to feed the world. As most of you know I am pro-biotech but I am also fully aware that there is a place for organics and biotech in the marketplace. You are going to here lots of hype very shortly from the media about the new movie “Food Inc” (I will have more about this movie in the future). From the previews I have seen it is quite misleading and is doing nothing to really educate the consumer. The industry needs to be better at having discussions with the consumer but as well the consumer has to be willing to engage in the discussion. Saying organics is for pot smokers, biotech is bad and the world is coming to an end if you eat either is ridiculous and getting us no where.

I think videos like the one above at least start the discussion.

H1N1 Is Not A Food Safety Issue

May 27, 2009

Pigs are a host for the H1N1 virus, and yet while no pigs died directly because of the virus, it was called “swine flu” and the news story became focused on food safety. It sprung a lot of attention onto concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) as if the food supply is not safe anymore because of H1N1. Like what happened with BSE, people quickly moved to the worst-case scenario and not the story closer to reality. In reality, these are animal health issues and not food safety issues based on the good detection work of CFIA. BSE and H1N1 are not CAFO issues either. If you fed contaminated feed to your free-range cows, they would be just as susceptible to BSE as the cow in the feedlot. As agriculturalists, we need to grab a hold of these media spins quicker and be more proactive in terms of public relations. The unnecessary pain and damage to our industry is too great.

It Is Not Possible To Get H1N1 From Eating Pork – Dr. Cate Dewey

May 14, 2009

Since H1N1 became an issue there has been a lot of speculation and sensationalism around whether or not it is safe to consume pork. We even had a hog farm in Alberta quarantined to contain the virus from spreading to neighboring farms. I first saw Dr. Cate Dewey, University of Guelph, on the CBC National when the H1N1 first hit the news and she explained then how H1N1 spreads and how pork was safe. Of course this was buried in the back end of the newscast after there was 45 minutes of “SWINE FLU–THE NEXT PANDEMIC?”

In this video Dr. Dewey clearly explains that. “The virus will entirely contained in the lungs of the pig. The influenza virus never goes into the blood of the pig and it never goes into the muscle of the pig. So pork is safe.”

It really does beg the question why did we ever call it swine flu. The damage that has been done to the food safety perception of pork will take a long time to build back. The unfortunate part is that in reality it was much to about nothing in terms of food safety. Put some pork on your fork this long weekend because Dr. Cate Dewey and I said so.