Tag Archives: Canada

Pasta Spats: Canadian Wheat Exports to Italy Slump over Glyphosate

The world’s largest pasta maker says it has had to cutback Canadian imports of durum wheat – a key ingredient in pasta – because of ongoing consumer concerns about the use of a popular weed killer – glyphosate.

Barilla’s purchasing director Emilio Ferrari told grain groups in Toronto last week the company has cut back their Canadian wheat imports by 35 per cent, despite the fact Canadian durum wheat is of exceptional quality. No contracts for Canadian durum are being signed right now, he said.

The reason is that some Italian consumers are fearful Canadian wheat has been “poisoned” because it tested positive for traces of the popular and widely-used herbicide glyphosate, he said………..

…..However, glyphosate has come under intense public scrutiny in Europe, with Italy banning the use of the chemical as a pre-harvest treatment in 2016. “We never use it but they banned the usage, because we don’t need it,” Ferrari said. He told attendees at the Canadian Global Crops Symposium his company is currently unwilling to accept shipments with glyphosate tracings above 10 parts per billion.

Concerns about glyphosate will continue to be an issue, he said – urging Canadian producers to find an alternative. However, Canadian producers argue the current limits set by Italy are simply too low to meet because glyphosate is commonly used within acceptable limits and traces of the herbicide are found throughout this country’s bulk handling grain system. The majority of Canadian durum wheat is not treated with glyphosate pre-harvest.

Italy’s decision followed a review of the herbicide by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) in 2015 that listed the herbicide as a Group 2a carcinogen, meaning it probably causes cancer in people…….

….Canada and Italy have been embattled in a simmering trade dispute over durum wheat exports for several years, stemming from a “Made in Italy” country of origin label.

Under the policy, which was set to take effect in mid-February, processors are required to identify where their durum wheat was grown and milled into the semolina flour used to make pasta. Similarly, rice packaging must identify where the rice was grown, treated and processed.

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Organic Agriculture Is Going Mainstream, But Not the Way You Think It Is

Organic going mainstream

“Big Organics” is often derided by advocates of sustainable agriculture. The American food authors Michael Pollan and Julie Guthman, for example, argue that as organic agriculture has scaled up and gone mainstream it has lost its commitment to building an alternative system for providing food, instead “replicating what it set out to oppose.”

New research, however, suggests that the relationship between organic and conventional farming is more complex. The flow of influence is starting to reverse course.

Even with the upscaling, the market position of organic agriculture remains limited.

In Canada, organic sales grow by nearly 10 percent per year, and the total value of the organic market is around $5.4 billion. Yet the reality is that the industry is still dwarfed by conventional agriculture.

There are more than 4,000 certified organic farms in Canada, totalling 2.43 million acres. But this accounts for only 1.5 percent of the country’s total agricultural land.

Also, aside from the two organic heavyweights—coffee (imported) and mixed greens (mostly imported)—the market share of organic groceries is pretty small, at around three percent.

Yet the influence of organics is felt well beyond its own limited market.

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Documentary: Modified (2017) – (87 min) Why are GMO foods not labeled in North America?

‘Modified’ is a first-person feature documentary that questions why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labeled on food products in the United States and Canada, despite being labeled in 64 countries around the world. Shot over a span of ten years, the film follows the ongoing struggle to label GMOs, exposing the cozy relationship between the biotech industry and governments. The film is anchored in the intimate story of the filmmaker’s relationship to her mom, a prolific gardener, seed saver, and food activist who battled cancer while the film production was underway. Interweaving the personal and the political, the film uses family archives, animations, and mouth-watering vignettes from the filmmaker’s award-winning PBS cooking show to create a moving account of family legacy, grassroots activism, and the journey for a more sustainable and transparent food system.

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Make American dairy farms great again! Adopt supply management

Some Wisconsin dairy farmers may have been pleased when Trump began bloviating on the topic because anything is better than nothing when you’re in desperate straits. And have no doubt, a lot of American dairy farmers are in desperate straits.

But the interests Trump is defending are those of the multinational “agri-food” corporations that hold Wisconsin dairy farmers in a grip that approaches feudal vassalage, and which would love to be able to do the same thing to their counterparts down on the Canadian farm.

abble.ca/blogs/bloggers/alberta-diary/2017/04/make-american-dairy-farms-great-again-adopt-supply-management