Canada steps up inspections in light of swine flu outbreak.
Canada is stepping up inspections of pork products in light of the swine flu outbreak.
Our federal government says it's taking the action to protect the pork export market -- and to reassure all of us that our food is safe.
A statement by International Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Ag Minister Gerry Ritz notes human swine flu cannot be contracted by eating pork or pork products.
Despite the news -- the scare over swine flu is hurting the pork industry.
Both China and Russia have already banned imports from North American countries.
Stock prices of major pork product suppliers -- including Maple Leaf Foods -- have also fallen.
Ontario based market analyst Kevin Grier says a recovery expected for later this year could be wiped out if consumers start to shun pork.
Ontario farmers aren't particularly worried about getting swine flu from Mexican workers.
There are about 85 hundred seasonal workers from Mexico in the province -- and some in our region.
Bette Jean Crews of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture says most farmers realize that a neighbour who has recently travelled in Mexico is just as likely to import the flu into Canada.
She says farmers are more concerned about potential labour shortages if there is a worldwide pandemic.
Crews adds they also worry about the families that workers have left behind in Mexico.
The U-N Food and Agriculture Organization reports a team of veterinarians is in Mexico to examine what systems are in place to detect influenza in swine.
The team will also interview farmers.
There have been no reports of sick or dying swine in Mexico.
Our Canadian government is also stepping up inspections of pork products to ensure the food is safe.
The hog industry in Manitoba has taken another hit.
New numbers from Stats Canada show the province's hog count is down just under one per cent compared with the first quarter of 2008.
There were 2.48 million hogs in the province as of April 1st.
The drop in inventories is mainly due to rising feed costs, weaker slaughter prices and tighter shipping rules to the U-S.
The head of the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association has a mixed reaction to a new 15-year report on farm injuries and fatalities.
Marcel Hacault says the bad news is there are still farmers dying every year.
However, the good news -- the number of young people dying is decreasing.
He says fatality rates were the lowest among adults of normal working age -- even though they had the greatest exposure to hazards.
And if you missed the news earlier this week -- the average value of farmland in Ontario increased by 1.9 per cent in the second half of 2008.
The Farm Credit Canada report shows this is the third straight semi annual increase in Ontario.
Overall, the average value of Canadian farmland increased 5.6 per cent during the last 6 months of 2008.