GFM Network News


Electronic signatures now accepted on health certificates

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) have come to an agreement on electronically signed health certificates. Under the agreement, which went into effect June 1, the U.S. will accept electronically signed certificates (i.e. certificates that are requested and issued via My CFIA) for […] Read more

CFIA funded to build up inspection corps against COVID-19

Short spells of disruptions still to be expected at food plants

Ottawa — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is spending $20 million to hire, train and equip additional staff members to limit disruptions resulting from COVID-19. With meat packers and food processing plants considering extended hours as they adjust to taking extra measures to combat the pandemic, CFIA was in need of a response to […] Read more


The photos on this page offer three very different views of what’s happening during the pandemic — nearly empty dairy shelves at St. Albert grocery store on March 16, a truck coming over the Seaway International Bridge from the U.S. on March 25 after border restrictions were imposed (see below), and cleaning wheat seed on John Kowalchuk’s Rumsey-area farm on March 30 (see below). While empty shelves are a worrying sight, essential goods are coming over the border and the country’s farmers are doing everything they can to ensure there are no disruptions to the food supply.

Keeping up is hard to do during these trying times

But here are some key information sources and some of the many news stories dealing with the pandemic

Even if you weren’t calving or getting ready to seed — and had good internet — it would be hard to keep up with all the developments affecting your farm or ranch during the pandemic. Here is a partial list of advisories and new stories at press time (March 31). Government The provincial government has […] Read more



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