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It’s been five years since Austin Roberts and his wife Ramona joined forces with other P.E.I. potato farmers to successfully improve their industry for the better. In 2013, Austin (Kinkora Holdings) partnered with Marvyn Webster (Valley Grove Enterprises) and Andrew Lawless (Hilltop Produce) to built a pre-processing potato wash facility. “We felt that P.E.I. farmers as a group needed a safe and environmental option to clean and optimize product in a high-capacity…

U.K. crisps and biscuits to become paler under food safety crackdown

Biscuits and crisps in the U.K. will lose their golden brown colour due to new rules forcing manufacturers to reduce a chemical found in burnt food which may lead to a higher risk of cancer. The snacks will become paler from April when makers of foods containing acrylamide must prove they are reducing levels to make food safer to eat. Industry figures said the products would now be baked at lower temperatures for…

Public trust in Canada’s food system

“Very serious” – that’s how United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC) general manager Kevin MacIsaac describes the issue of lost public trust in Canadian agriculture. “We have to approach this in the same way we would deal with issues of food safety and other key issues,” he says, “because it will eventually lead to declines in consumption of certain foods if people do not trust the source.” John Bareman, chair of the Canadian…

Saboteurs a concern during potato harvest

The P.E.I. Potato Board is still concerned about saboteurs two years after needles were found in Island produce, but it’s grateful to Islanders who are keeping an eye out for suspicious activity. The 2014 incidents led to a major recall, and to the installation of metal detecting equipment at farms. The P.E.I. potato harvest is in full swing now, and the board is asking the public to continue to keep an eye…

Quest Continues for Low Acrylamide Potatoes

Despite another recent study showing no firm link between levels of dietary acrylamide in food and cancer in human beings, efforts continue in order to find new potato varieties that will produce minimal amounts of the chemical when cooked. “I won’t say acrylamide isn’t important anymore. It’s a trait that processors should continue to look at,” says Zenaida Ganga, crop specialist with Cavendish Farms – Research Division in Prince Edward Island. The…

A Year After

As of April 1, it will be one year since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency moved to expand the use of Alternative Service Delivery for the inspection of seed potato tuber shipments. The process to explore alternatives to the existing program was slow in 2014, but the Canadian potato industry is hopeful that significant progress will be made in 2015. The CFIA is working with industry stakeholders to identify an acceptable alternative…

Potato Tampering

Food safety as a matter of concern for the potato industry came into the spotlight last fall as a result of a potato tampering case in Prince Edward Island. On Oct. 7, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency advised consumers of a possible food-tampering situation involving potatoes harvested and packed by Linkletter Farms Ltd. of Summerside, P.E.I. Following the announcement, Linkletter Farms voluntarily withdrew some fresh potato products following a consumer complaint that…

From our Desk

Taking Aim at Food Tampering

It’s something potato farmers in this country have never seen before — sewing needles intentionally stuck in potatoes that make it into fresh packs and onto processing lines in Prince Edward Island, posing not only a threat to consumers but threatening the reputation of the Island’s proud potato industry. Our coverage of the potato tampering incidents in P.E.I. includes an overview of the case that first emerged in the headlines back in…

P.E.I. Potato Board Offering a $50,000 REWARD in Tampering Case

The Prince Edward Island Potato Board says the recent potato tampering case in that province “has left our industry feeling shocked, and is unacceptable for ourselves and the general public.” Members of the PEIPB joined police officials at a press conference in Charlottetown on Nov. 10 to announce they are seeking the public’s help in identifying suspects involved in the case. RCMP in P.E.I. are investigating seven incidents of food tampering after…

Tuber Talk

Tackling Acrylamide

The term “acrylamide” has been showing up in mass media reports since 2002. Dietary acrylamide has become an area of concern for consumers, the food industry and regulators due to its carcinogenic potential for humans. What is acrylamide, how did it become such a hot topic of discussion, and are there any solutions for the supposed health risks that it poses? Research The potato industry has reason to be concerned about acrylamide. In…

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