Labelling GMOs about transparency, not health say advocates Publish Date: 22-SEP-2014 09:04 AM Advocates pushing for the government to adopt mandatory labelling regulation of genetically-modified foods may have received a boost, ironically, thanks to a recent Health Canada study. On June 10, Health Canada released a report, “Consulting Canadians to Modernize and Improve Food Labels: What We Heard,” detailing what Health Canada has learned about Canadians’ priorities on modernizing and improving food labelling. Within the grander nutrition and clarity concerns, a desire to better detail how and where food was made also emerged, including “labelling genetically-engineered or genetically-modified ingredients in food products and declaring the presence or use of pesticides, agricultural chemicals, antibiotics or growth hormones.”
Des apiculteurs veulent réparation (French) Publish Date: 05-SEP-2014 11:30 AM Deux gros apiculteurs ontariens viennent de déposer devant la Cour supérieure de l’Ontario un recours collectif contre les fabricants de pesticides Bayer CropScience et Syngenta, qu’ils accusent d’être responsables de l’hécatombe qui a frappé leur rucher. Dans cette poursuite, les deux plaignants, les entreprises Sun Parlour Honey et Munro Honey, réclament 450 millions en réparation pour les pertes pécuniaires qu’ils ont encourus en raison de trois insecticides de la classe des néonicotinoïdes qui auraient provoqué la mort de milliers de leurs abeilles.
Lake Erie’s algae explosion blamed on farmers Publish Date: 07-AUG-2014 08:28 AM Toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie fouled the water that hundreds of thousands of people rely on for drinking, cooking and bathing last week, forcing hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio to rely on bottled water.
Leadership needed in agri-food policy Publish Date: 29-JUL-2014 08:07 AM During the last year or so, the agri-food industry has been the subject of enough reports on its economic potential and scope for improvement to fill a respectable bookshelf. Whether from academics, researchers, think-tanks or politicians, the documents focus on virtually all the major issues. Now to keep these tomes from gathering dust. The latest report comes from the Agri-Innovators Committee, a group of well-known farm leaders. “Innovation is needed throughout the entire agri-food value chain,” they say in a report to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. The “industry must drive innovation with governments as supporting players.” Change “innovation” to “agri-food policy” and we would really be making progress.
Saskatchewan researchers help crack the wheat genome Publish Date: 24-JUL-2014 08:26 AM University of Saskatchewan researchers are part of an international team who published the first chromosome-based draft sequence of the wheat genome, a development that promises wheat breeders powerful new tools in developing varieties to meet the challenges of world population growth and climate change.
Chicken farmers get fed funding for disease control research Publish Date: 24-JUL-2014 08:10 AM A new research project aims to reduce the need for antibiotics in broiler chickens.
The project, run by the Chicken Farmers of Saskatchewan and co-financed with $275,000 in federal funding, will focus on disease control in the Saskatchewan broiler chicken industry. Its aim is 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.
Newfoundland : A bee haven that offers clues as global hives struggle Publish Date: 21-JUL-2014 10:03 AM Newfoundland’s healthy honeybees are an increasing draw for researchers in the race to understand why colonies across much of the globe are struggling or dying off. An international panel of 50 scientists last month called for tighter regulations and an ultimate phase-out of such products [neonic pesticides]. The group calling itself the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides compared so-called neonics or neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide that’s chemically reminiscent of nicotine, to the use of DDT in the 1960s.
Tenderized beef will soon need labels Publish Date: 20-JUL-2014 01:25 PM Canadian shoppers will be able to see next month if the beef they’re buying has been mechanically tenderized. Labelling regulations to take effect Aug. 21 are designed to protect consumers after the largest meat recall in the country’s history two years ago. Health Canada says beef that has been mechanically tenderized must have a sticker saying that. Packaged steaks must also have cooking instructions.
Québec veut acquérir la ferme expérimentale de Frelighsburg (French) Publish Date: 18-JUL-2014 09:27 AM « Le ministère québécois de l’Agriculture [MAPAQ] a manifesté son intérêt d’acquérir quelque 100 hectares de cette propriété, a confirmé à la Terre Patrick Girard, agent des relations avec les médias à Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada, le 17 juillet dernier. Le ministère fédéral des Travaux publics amorcera bientôt la négociation pour la vente de la propriété », ajoute-t-il. Les négociations, auxquelles la municipalité de Frelighsburg est associée, peuvent durer jusqu’à 90 jours.
Canadians find ‘Agri-food’ label a little confusing, aggravating Publish Date: 14-JUL-2014 09:14 AM Public opinion research conducted for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada found confusion around the term "agri-food" in the department's title. Some thought it had "negative connotations"; others found it "somewhat meaningless."
Pesticide commonly used on Canadian farmland linked to bird declines Publish Date: 09-JUL-2014 09:06 AM Controversial pesticides, which are used “prophylactically” on millions of hectares of Canadian farmland, have now been linked to not only the declines in bees, but birds. A Dutch study released Wednesday provides the strongest evidence yet that neonicotinoids are harming insect-eating birds like swallows, which are in sharp decline.
Health Canada's quiet move to end use of antibiotics to fatten up animals Publish Date: 09-JUL-2014 09:04 AM For animal producers, antibiotics are an important management tool to keep their herds and flocks healthy and profitable. It's estimated that up to 80 per cent of the world's antibiotics are used in agriculture. Antibiotic use on farms is creating superbug infections in humans. The World Health Organization warns that unless antibiotic use is reined in, the world is headed for a dystopian future where routine infections are deadly.
Bee researchers raise more warning flags about neonicotinoid pesticides Publish Date: 20-MAY-2014 08:49 AM This spring most Canadian corn and soybean growers will be planting another crop of pesticide-coated seeds, even as researchers raise new warnings that the practice may have deadly side effects for bees and other wildlife. The heated debate around the use of the neonicotinoid-coated seeds, developed by Bayer CropScience and introduced here about a decade ago, has divided farmers, beekeepers and scientists, and turned Canada into a kind of environmental battlefront. To protect its bees, Europe banned the use of neonic pesticides last year, while U.S. authorities have so far taken a more cautious approach, saying these pesticides are just one possible factor in the collapse of so many bee colonies. Bayer filed a court challenge against the EU ban in August last year, saying the EU has wrongly linked the pesticide to bee deaths.
As Canada dawdles, Denmark shows the world how to stop mass medicating animals Publish Date: 18-APR-2014 02:58 PM COPENHAGAN, Denmark — Michael Nielsen unlocks the door to his pig factory. He doffs his jacket, pants and muddy boots and zips on white coveralls. Then he steps into the maze-like complex housing several thousand pigs. From the birthing room — where one enormous sow has just delivered 22 squirming piglets — to the insemination stalls where the next generation is in the works, Nielsen prides himself on smart, efficient farming. Here in Denmark that means recording every single dose of antibiotic farmers use. Unlike Canadian farmers who can import antibiotics by the truckload, Nielsen can only obtain them by prescription at a pharmacy. Use too many antibiotics and Nielsen would get a dreaded “yellow card” from the Danish government that has the world’s most comprehensive surveillance system for tracking and targeting overuse of antibiotics.
Canada’s chicken farmers ban injections that trigger superbugs Publish Date: 17-APR-2014 03:01 PM Canadian chicken farmers are putting an end to controversial egg injections, which provided the world with a “textbook” example of the perils of mass medication. By injecting eggs at hatcheries with ceftiofur, a medically important antibiotic, the farmers triggered the rise of resistant microbes that showed up in both chickens and in Canadians creating a “major” public health concern. The case – documented by federal and provincial sleuths who track microbes at farms, slaughterhouses and retail meat counters – is held up as powerful evidence of resistant superbugs moving from farm to fork. “It is going to be in medical textbooks for as long as there are textbooks around,” says John Prescott, a professor with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.
Canada phasing out antibiotic use in livestock Publish Date: 11-APR-2014 08:45 AM Amid growing international concern over the spread of superbugs on farms, slaughterhouses and supermarket meat counters, Health Canada is moving to phase out use of antibiotic growth promoters in Canadian livestock. The drugs have been used for decades to spike the feed and water of chickens, pigs and cattle to boost their growth — “mass medication” that Canada’s top doctor, and many others, has said should stop. In a statement Friday, Canadian drug producers say they have agreed with Health Canada “to phase out uses of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion.” The phase-out is expected to take three years.
Superbugs slipping through ‘gaps’ and ‘loopsholes’ in Canadian regulations Publish Date: 20-FEB-2014 09:14 AM Canada needs to better control and contain resistant microbes — or superbugs — that are killing and sickening thousands of Canadian each year, say leading doctors. A good place to start, they say, is to close “loopholes” that permit Canadian farmers to import antibiotics by the truckload to feed to their animals – a practice that helps breed resistant microbes
Le Centre canadien de rayonnement synchrotron a réussi à développer des isotopes médicaux à partir de rayons X, une première mondiale qui pourrait changer la donne pour les patients atteints entre autres de maladies cardiaques ou de cancers.
I’m a climate scientist and a former astronaut. Not surprisingly, I have a deep respect for well-tested theories and facts. In the climate debate, these things have a way of getting blurred in political discussions.