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Quebec Meat Companies Look to Expand

From: Food in Canada

Saint-Bruno-Lac-Saint-Jean, Que. – Two businesses in the agri-food sector in Quebec have received repayable loans to help them expand their operations.

In a statement, Canada Economic Development (CED) for Quebec Regions says the two businesses, Boucherie Charcuterie Perron Inc. and Charcuterie L. Fortin Ltée, will share $1,850,000.

That financial support, says CED, “will generate an estimated $6,569,768 in total investments in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region.”

Boucherie Charcuterie Perron will receive $1,000,000, and Charcuterie L. Fortin will receive $850,000.

Both companies will use the assistance to “upgrade their equipment and facilities, shifting to Industry 4.0 by automating part of their production,” says the statement.

Boucherie Charcuterie produces hams, sausages, and specialty pork products, while Charcuterie L. Fortin produces deli meats, smoked ham, bacon and specialty pork products.

Both companies are also part of the Nutrinor cooperative and employ nearly 125 people from the region. Nutrinor has 936 farmer members and has a presence in food, agriculture, energy and hardware.

 

Maple Leaf Foods Revamps its Portfolio

From: Food in Canada

Mississauga, Ont. – One of Canada’s largest consumer protein companies is revamping its entire portfolio of products.

In a statement, Maple Leaf Foods says its aim is to meet “the changing needs of Canadian families.”

And in order to do that, the company is now ensuring that all of its products are made with premium meat and real, simple or natural ingredients.

All products will contain no artificial preservatives, flavours, colours or sweeteners. And the company adds that ingredient lists will contain only “pronounceable ingredients that consumers trust.”

The changes are all part of the company’s new Food Manifesto. To read the document, click here.

The products, which began rolling out in May, will have a new logo, packaging design and more prominent ingredient list. Maple Leaf says it will be using television, billboards, digital and print media to get the word out.

Adam Grogan, senior vice-president of Marketing and Innovation, says in the statement that “Over the last 18 months, Maple Leaf has reformulated each product carrying this brand, with just the simplest and highest quality real food.”

A new state-of-the-art hatchery to open in Ontario

From: Food in Canada

Milton, Ont. – Two chicken processors, one from Ontario and one from Quebec, are set to open a state-of-the-art chicken hatchery in Woodstock, Ont.

Sargent Farms of Ontario and Boire & Frères Inc. of Quebec say in a statement that the $15-million project will operate as the Thames River Hatchery and “will create approximately 30 jobs and have capacity to produce 20 million chicks per year.”

The companies say Thames River Hatchery is the first independent large-scale chicken hatchery built in Ontario in more than 30 years.

Bob Sargent, vice-president of Sargent Farms, says in the statement that the facility will produce some of the highest quality chicks for farmers across Ontario. “This facility features the most advanced technology on the market,” he says, “which will allow us to enhance quality, animal care standards and sustainability.”

Both companies are family owned and operated. Boire & Frères has been in operation for nearly 90 years and is based in Wickham, Que. It is one of the largest hatcheries in Canada, hatching about two million chicks each week.

Sargent Farms is based in Milton and has been in operation for 75 years. The company remodelled in 1993 specifically for poultry processing. Today a third generation of Sargents have an active role in the company.

In addition to the hatchery, says the statement, Sargent Farms is also investing $10 million to enhance and retrofit its halal chicken processing facility in Milton. The company says it will replace all of its equipment and the retrofit will take place in stages over three years, primarily during off hours.

Ontario’s Supports Conestoga Meat Packers

From: Food in Canada

Breslau, Ont. – Conestoga Meat Packers has received a financial boost from the province of Ontario. In a statement, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs announced that it is investing $5.3 million to help the company “boost productivity and expand its pork processing capacity by 86 per cent.” The investment is expected to create 170 new jobs at the facility in Breslau.

“Our government is proud to support the continued growth of Ontario’s food processing sector, an important driver of our economy,” said Jeff Leal, Ontario’s minister of Agriculture, in the statement. “This support will help Conestoga Meat Packers increase its productivity, enhance competitiveness and create good jobs in Waterloo Region.” Conestoga Meat began processing farm-fresh pork in 1982. Today it is Ontario’s second-largest pork processor and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Progressive Pork Producers Co-operative Inc., a co-op of 157 southwestern Ontario hog producers. The government investment was made through Ontario’s Jobs and Prosperity Fund. With the funding Conestoga Meat “will purchase leading-edge equipment that will almost double its meat processing capacity.”

For more information on the Conestoga Meat Packers, check out their website: www.conestogameats.com

Challenges & Opportunities for the Meat Sector

From: International Food & Meat

According to International Food & Meat, historically, price, taste and convenience have been the consumers’ principal drivers. Now the food industry is looking more and more at product attributes, such as place and method of production, provenance and background story, care of the local economy, animal and worker welfare, environmental impact and overall sustainability. International Food & Meat Magazine highlights some of the key points about the protein economy from David Hughes, Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing, Imperial College as well as many other challenges the meat sector will face in the future.

Duck farmers planning to boost production as demand grows in Canada and Mexico

From CTV Montreal

Despite a surge in cheap imports, Canadian duck producers are planning to boost production due to growing consumer demand spurred on by celebrity chefs and the reopening of the Mexican market.

Brome Lake, the country’s oldest processor of domestic Pekin duck, is spending $30 million to build a facility in a former beef plant in Asbestos, Que., that will double its annual production capacity in five years to four-million birds. Ontario rival King Cole Ducks also plans to increase its output to stay competitive.

Canada’s three largest producers, which also includes B.C. supplier Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry, expect overall annual production to double from the current level of 5.5-million ducks.

Although pricier than chicken, the red meat protein is increasingly being selected as an alternative to beef, which has experienced steep price increases.

An agreement with Mexico announced in March could help Canadian producers to progressively regain more than $3 million in annual sales of fresh chicken, turkey and duck, Ottawa said.

Learn more about sanitary turn-key poultry & meat processing solutions from Tri-Mach Group here.
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Soy research fights food poisoning

From Food In Canada

The latest use for soy could fight food poisoning. University of Guelph researchers are using soy extracts – isoflavones and peptides – to prevent the growth of microbial pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses.

Suresh Neethirajan is a University of Guelph engineering professor and director of the BioNano Laboratory. Neethirajan and his research team have found soy extracts can be more effective in fighting against bacteria, including Listeria and Pseudomonas pathogens, than current synthetic chemicals commonly used to preserve foods.

Already consumed in everyday food products, soybean derivatives are can be found in food including baked goods, canned foods, cheese, cooking oils, ice cream, and meat alternatives.

“Studies have shown heavy, continued use of current chemical antimicrobial agents can cause strains of bacteria to become resistant and making them ineffective,” says Neethirajan, explaining they also kill all bacteria – good and bad. “Using this soy alternative in food products will only target pathogenic or bad bacteria, leaving the good, healthy bacteria in foods that aid in digestion and help us properly process the food we eat.”

Because the soy extracts have the ability to selectively inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria compared to beneficial bacteria, some health issues commonly associated to the synthetic-based food preservatives will be eliminated, notes Neethirajan.

This project has received support from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The right equipment can also reduce the risk of food poisoning. Learn more about Ever-Kleen® technology from Tri-Mach Group here.
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Consumers warming to irradiated meat

From the Winnipeg Free Press

Ask anyone on the street whether they want to eat safe food, and undoubtedly the answer would be yes. Experiencing a food-borne illness is not only unpleasant, it can be deadly.

But technologies such as irradiation that can make food safer have historically been a tough sell. A public backlash caused Health Canada to nix its plan in 2002 to allow ground fresh and frozen beef to be irradiated. People simply didn’t like the idea.

Treating food products with ionizing radiation can reduce the presence of mould, E coli, salmonella, campylobacter and parasites without reducing nutrition or food quality. International authorities such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization agree it is safe.

Although the technology has been approved for use in Canada since 2002 on potatoes, onions, wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, whole and ground spices and dehydrated seasoning preparations, it is currently mostly just used on spices — if at all. But independent inquiries into the 2008 listeriosis contamination of processed meats sold by Maple Leaf, and the 2012 E. coli crisis affecting XL Beef, recommended Canada fast-track new technologies that contribute to food safety.

A survey of consumer perceptions in 2014 suggests public sentiments range from comfortably oblivious to vaguely supportive.

“Although the vast majority of respondents (72 per cent) had not heard of food irradiation, overall perceptions of food irradiation were slightly more positive (30 per cent) than negative (21 per cent) when respondents were informed that irradiation is a food-safety measure that reduces levels of bacteria that cause food poisoning and food spoilage.”

As well, survey respondents were adamant (83 per cent) irradiated food should be labelled. That’s considered a “positive shift” in public opinion.

Read Tri-Mach’s newsletter article about irradiation here.
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Wood-derived ingredients could be future of food, researchers say

From FoodBev.com

Manufacturers could soon be using wood-derived polymers such as xylan, fibrillated cellulose and lignin to improve the texture and reduce the energy content of food products, according to Finland’s VTT Technical Research Centre. The Espoo-based organisation said that the wood-derived ingredients could be used in yogurts, baked goods such as cakes and muffins, and meat products.

As the food industry searches for new natural ingredients that improve the quality of products and promote consumer health, its research has shown that the polymers have properties that make them stand out from their traditional counterparts.

Xylan, a hemicellulose extracted from birch pulp, could be used as texture enhancer in yogurt: VTT’s studies shown that xylan can improve the smoothness of yogurt and enhance its stability when compared to conventional manufacturing techniques.

Fibrillated cellulose, which is produced by wet-grinding cellulose fibres, forms a web-like gel that could be utilised as a thickening and stabilising agent for fermented dairy products – yogurt included. It may also reduce cholesterol in the human body.

VTT tested lignin in the manufacture of muffins and found that, in addition to giving muffins a fluffier texture, lignin proved to be a surprisingly efficient substitute for whole eggs and egg yolks. Lignin also functioned as an emulsifier in mayonnaise and contributed to juiciness in a meat product, VTT said.

Read the full article here.