Volume 8 Issue 1 • October 9th, 2012

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In This Issue ...


Recall at XL Foods

The recall at XL Foods has consumers looking for answers. The Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) and Canada Beef Inc. have been providing the public with general information on E.coli O157:H7 along with a reminder of the important role of safe food handling in reducing exposure to this common pathogen.

We're also looking to address information gaps regarding E.coli O157:H7 that we've seen out there as part of our media monitoring over the last few weeks. For instance, E.coli has been incorrectly attributed to large scale farms and processing facilities, and diet. The risk of E.coli is the same for cattle raised on a large farm or a small farm, whether they are raised on a grass-fed or grain-finished diet, or whether the beef is sourced locally from a farmer's market, butcher or purchased from the local supermarket.

E.coli O157:H7 is not a beef-centric issue. E.coli O157:H7 can be present in raw meat, poultry, unpasteurized milk and fruit juices, raw greens and vegetables, and water contaminated with human or animal waste. The thorough cooking of ground meats kills the pathogen and is an important line of defence in safeguarding human health.

Ground beef remains a safe and healthy product when proper food handling procedures are followed. Consumers can safeguard their health through proper hygiene, effective food preparation and thorough cooking of ground meats.
Consumers should remember to:

According to Canada Beef Inc., the biggest BBQ mistakes that can spread E.coli at home are consumers using the same BBQ tongs to place raw meat on the BBQ and to transfer the cooked product to the table. The same goes for cutting boards, with the added layer of cross-contamination if the same board is used to prepare other food without first being thoroughly cleaned. These items must be washed in-between uses with hot, soapy water or better yet, use an entirely different set.

The CCA and its provincial association members, and Canada Beef Inc. continue to convey these important reminders to the public and media.


CCA director featured in McDonald's Canada You Tube video

Canfax Market Briefs

CCA director Bob Lowe is featured in McDonald's Canada You Tube campaign that answers questions consumers have about McDonald's food by taking them to the source.

In the clip, filmed at the Lowe Ranch, a third generation family farm in Southern Alberta, Lowe and Jeff Kroll, senior VP supply chain, McDonald's Canada, answer questions from consumers about the beef in the McDonald's patty. The pair answers questions from consumers about how cattle are raised, what they are fed and how long they are at the feedlot. Lowe agreed to be part of McDonald's 'Our Food, Your Questions,' campaign because he saw the benefit of showing the public the truth about how cattle are raised. The 5:42 video can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDQYSi5giM8


Asia trade mission worthwhile, says CCA VP

CCA Vice President Dave Solverson participated in the New West Partnership (NWP) agriculture trade mission to Asia last month. The delegation visited the key markets of Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul during the 10-day mission. The government-industry delegation was comprised of agricultural representatives from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, including the B.C. Cattlemen's Association, the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association, Canada Beef Inc. and the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC). Solverson attended on behalf of the CCA and the Alberta Beef Producers.

The group met with a range of stakeholders, from large retailers and traders and wholesalers and embassy staff. Solverson presented the Canadian Beef Advantage story to key markets throughout the mission, CBBC presented on Canadian genetics, and Canada Beef Inc. discussed networking opportunities. Interest in the presentations was high, with a lot of questions about how Canadian beef differentiates from U.S. beef.

In Hong Kong the NWP met with the Consul General Office, which provided an overview of the Hong Kong market and market potential for Canadian agriculture, investment opportunities and the importance of Hong Kong as a gateway into China. Hong Kong is a nation of traders with a population of 7 million, but with no beef production of its own has become a very valuable market for Canadian beef.

The delegation visited a Canadian food promotional event at a Da Chong Hong market, one of three locations where the major retailer was conducting Canadian food promotional events focussed on beef, pork, canola oil, flaxseed oil and other flagship Canadian products. 

Media on hand for the event sampled Canadian beef and pork, and Canadian cattle producers, decked out in cowboy boot and hats, proved to be a popular photo op. Canadian beef was well presented but given very small shelf-space compared to product from Australia and the U.S.
The NWP met with the Hong Kong Food Council, a consortium of retailers, wholesalers, and distributers, which indicated they could be used as a platform to launch and promote Canadian products in Hong Kong.

In Beijing, Canadian Embassy staff provided an overview of the latest situation regarding the Chinese political and market climates. Solverson discussed the need for China to expand beef market access towards full access as was agreed between leaders over two years ago.

The NWP met with a large state-owned agri-food importing organization. Of course, all recognize that until the Chinese government establishes a reasonable maximum residue limits (MRL) for ractopomine it will be difficult to achieve commercially meaningful volumes of beef into China from Canada despite the huge potential.

In Tokyo, the independent Food Safety Commission recently released their risk analysis report on under-thirty-month (UTM) access which showed negligible risk in moving from the current under 21 months (U21) to UTM. The best estimate for implementation is the first quarter of 2013. Currently Canada has about two per cent of Japan`s beef imports. If Japan moves to UTM and we are successful with a favourable free trade agreement (FTA), our prospects are good.

Solverson said there was a very positive dinner meeting with Japan Meat Trader`s Association. He thanked the association for their support regarding advocacy on UTM. Solverson also asked about food safety and traceability; the response was that there was interest in safe food at a good price but they were not concerned about traceability beyond country of origin.

In Seoul, embassy staff is optimistic about the Korean market for Canada and well aware of the importance of getting a FTA as soon as possible. Korea is a market with potential for Canadian beef, but without a Canada-Korea FTA, Canadian beef is already at an annually worsening tariff disadvantage relative to U.S. beef.


Beef cattle on-farm biosecurity standard now available online

The Canadian Beef Cattle On-Farm Biosecurity Standard is now available online at http://bit.ly/SKiCgN. The Standard, released in August by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the CCA, outlines on-farm practices designed to minimize the introduction and control the spread of endemic, emerging, and foreign infectious diseases in the Canadian herd.

On-farm biosecurity is one of the front lines of prevention for managing the risk of animal diseases for cattle producers. The standard is a tool that producers can use to measure their biosecurity practices on farm. The standard was designed specifically for the Canadian beef cattle industry, and is applicable to farm-level operations of all types and sizes. Producers can request a hard copy of the Standard here.


E. coli O157:H7 – an Industry Research Priority

Beef contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, a single strain of the E. coli bacteria, has prompted the recent, extensive beef recall across North America.  E. coli O157:H7 is shed in the feces of many warm-blooded animals, including cattle.  It can be dangerous to humans if contaminated water or undercooked meat is consumed, especially to those with an immature or weakened immune system.  Beef can become contaminated by cattle hides and equipment during slaughter and processing or by food handlers in the retail sector.

Improved food safety continues to be a top research priority in the Canadian beef industry. Recent and ongoing research funded by the Beef Cattle Research Council strives to find practical, economical and effective solutions to reduce or prevent E. coli O157:H7 contamination throughout the production chain.  Studies have examined strategies to decrease shedding of E. coli O157:H7 in live animals, methods of combating pathogens during processing, and a better understanding of the potential risk of using cattle manure as fertilizer.  Read more…


CCA Action News

Staff Contributors: Mark Klassen, Reynold Bergen
Written, edited and compiled by: Gina Teel and Matthew French

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The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is the national voice for nearly 83,000 Canadian beef cattle producers.

Head office:
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Phone: 403.275.8558   Fax: 403.274.5686

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