GFM Network News


File photo of the Harmony Beef plant at Balzac, Alta. in 2015.

Sick employee disrupts slaughter at Harmony Beef

Part of Calgary beef plant shut down after employee who had been off work tested positive for COVID-19

Harmony Beef, a beef processing plant north of Calgary, had to shut part of its operation down March 26 after an employee fell sick. “Alberta Health Services informed us Thursday that an employee who had not been at work for days had a positive test for COVID-19,” company spokesperson Crosbie Cotton said March 27. The […] Read more

Brucellosis is contagious and can present in a variety of situations for either pregnant cows or newborn calves.

Bovine brucellosis abortion screening pilot

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and participating Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network laboratories are conducting a pilot project to improve Canada’s bovine brucellosis surveillance. Blood and tissue samples related to reproductive issues in cattle submitted to participating network laboratories during this time may be tested for brucellosis at a CFIA laboratory. Brucellosis is a contagious […] Read more


CFIA rethinking limits on travellers’ personal food imports

Consultation running until March

The federal government is considering changes to the amounts of food travellers can bring into Canada with them from other countries for their personal use. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Thursday announced public online consultations on the proposed new limits, which CFIA said would “better reflect the volume of foods typically moved by travellers […] Read more

Grace period for livestock transport regulations

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association says producers can contact it if they have questions about the federal livestock transport regulations. The new rules come into effect on Feb. 20, but the CFIA has granted a two-year transition period on the feed, water, and rest interval provisions for the livestock sector. In a statement, the food inspection […] Read more


Ryding-Regency’s federal beef packing licenses cancelled

Citing “false or misleading information” given them during an E. coli probe, food safety officials have now permanently pulled the federal slaughter, processing and export licenses for Toronto’s Ryding-Regency Meat Packers and related companies. The cancellation, announced Monday, indefinitely prolongs what was already described as “critical processing capacity shortage” for the province’s cattle producers, leaving […] Read more

A veterinarian with Alberta Agriculture says that any person raising pigs should be registered with Alberta Pork’s Swine Traceability system.

Everyone needs to be on traceability system

Even if you have just one pig, you should be registered with Premises Identification

If you raise pigs — whether in a commercial setting, on a natural or organic operation or in the backyard — get a Premises Identification. “During the outbreak, we used it for tracing, and we used it for notifying farms in the risk area,” said Dr. Julia Keenliside, veterinary epidemiologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. […] Read more


The country’s “robust” BSE surveillance efforts are paying dividends, says the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.

Stage set for upgrading Canada’s BSE status

Surveillance has highest numbers in five years, country eligible to apply for ‘negligible risk’ status

Canada’s BSE surveillance effort saw the highest number of tests in five years, setting the stage for an application to have its risk status for bovine spongiform encephalopathy upgraded to “negligible.” There were 30,949 samples, mostly submitted by deadstock collection operators, tested in 2018, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association said in its e-newsletter. None tested positive […] Read more

Canadian plant approval process lengthy but worthwhile

In Canada, plant varieties with traits that are new to the environment and have the potential to impact human and environmental health are called “novel traits” and are regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. They must be approved by the CFIA as well as Health Canada (in the case of food products) prior to […] Read more


The two proposed seed royalty models have come with many questions from producers.

Cereal seed royalty gets thumbs down at consultations

Government is asking farmers what they think about seed royalties — and the answer is ‘not much’

The idea of charging royalties on cereal seed didn’t go over well with many Alberta farmers who attended a federal government consultation on proposed royalties. “The overarching thing is that control would be imposed and that would be my concern,” Trochu farmer Kevin Niemi said in an interview. “A royalty is like a seed tax […] Read more

There’s a learning curve with new rules on medication

Now is the time to get up to speed on the ins and outs of the regulations on medicated feed and additives

Changes to Health Canada’s policy on medically important antimicrobials, which came into effect Dec. 1, include those medications administered in water and in feed. This change is in response to antimicrobial resistance and the assurance of a safe food supply. It will also, I feel, be a positive step to further assure accuracy in milled […] Read more