GFM Network News


The sustainability conundrum

In the Western world at least, there’s a big demand for ‘sustainably sourced’ products. What that means, or receiving a premium for them, is another matter

Reading Time: 5 minutes The food giants want it on their labels, and in the annual reports and other information they send to their investors. PepsiCo, Walmart, General Mills, McDonald’s, Unilever, Sara Lee and Nestlé are among those citing the years 2020 or 2025 as targets for achieving their goals of buying “sustainably sourced” products. But what does that […] Read more

Federal food policy consultations underway

Reading Time: 2 minutes The long-discussed-and-debated notion of a public pan-Canadian food policy has taken a move forward with a new online survey from the federal government. Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay on Monday announced an initial round of consultations and called on the public to “share their input to help shape a food policy that will cover the entire […] Read more


Greig: Food fraud a challenge to whole food supply chain

Reading Time: 3 minutes Farmers are used to the conversation about how to manage trust with consumers. Food companies are learning it too, and finding food fraud to be a significant concern. Food fraud “comes back to trust,” according to Renata McGuire of NSF Consulting and Technical Services. “Do I trust this brand?” McGuire, along with Sylvain Charlebois, dean […] Read more

Part of the challenge in dealing with this issue is the perception that it relates to food safety, which is incorrect.

Another big hurdle for Canadian producers

With MRLs, the problems begin when a test used for regulating trade gets treated as a verdict on food safety

Reading Time: 6 minutes In the past 25 years, agriculture has seen a full gamut of new programs from environmental farm plans to neonicotinoid-use restrictions in Ontario. Some are relatively farm friendly, some less so. Like them or hate them, they’re all meant to be in the name of sustainability, traceability and food safety and security, which are under […] Read more


China busts gang selling expired dairy products

Reading Time: < 1 minute Shanghai/Wellington | Reuters — Chinese police have arrested 19 people for repackaging and selling expired dairy products originally from New Zealand giant Fonterra Co-Operative Group, a Shanghai regulator said on Monday, the latest food scare to hit the country. The bust, which initially took place in March, uncovered the gang who had cut 276 tons […] Read more

Canada, U.S. to collaborate on food safety controls

Reading Time: 2 minutes Food safety officials in Canada and the U.S. have formally recognized each other’s respective food safety controls under a cross-border co-operation pact. The two countries last week announced their new food safety systems recognition arrangement, reached during meetings of the Canada-U.S. Regulatory Co-operation Council (RCC) held Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, D.C. The two countries […] Read more


Budget to boost ag research infrastructure, rural broadband

Reading Time: 3 minutes Funds to fix up Canada’s agricultural research stations and food safety labs and a new program to boost rural broadband coverage are among the nuggets for the farming sector in Tuesday’s federal budget. Overall, the Liberals’ first budget is based on $287.7 billion in revenues for 2016-17, against $291.4 billion in program expenses and $25.7 […] Read more

Modern testing equipment allows testing of residues to parts per trillion, but even that is theoretically more than zero.

Maximum residue levels an issue that’s coming to a head

New trade agreements should be good for horticultural product exports, but fuzzy rules around MRLs could become non-tariff barriers

Reading Time: 5 minutes Mention maximum residue levels (MRLs) to a grower or a chemical company representative, and you’re likely to receive a frustrated response. In spite of trade deals between continental jurisdictions, the MRL issue continues to be a stick in the cogs of the smooth operation of trade agreements. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the Comprehensive Economic […] Read more


Chipotle shuts for staff food safety meeting

Reading Time: 2 minutes Reuters — U.S. burrito chain Chipotle Mexican Grill shut its stores for four hours on Monday to hold a nationwide staff meeting, where CEO Steve Ells apologized for E. coli and norovirus outbreaks and laid out the company’s recently developed food safety program. Chipotle also said it would spend about $10 million to help local […] Read more

Our toughest marketing challenge

Farmers are losing respect. Now is the time to win it back, before the costs get even worse

Reading Time: 4 minutes Rodney Dangerfield built a comic career on his signature line: “I don’t get no respect.” But for the agricultural industry, loss of respect is no laughing matter. The public perception of agriculture is steadily eroding. Last fall, Harris Interactive asked 2,537 Americans to name the most prestigious occupations. As you might guess, doctors topped the […] Read more