This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
Maintaining consumer confidence is crucial to our industry. Consumer confidence in the safety of Canadian beef was briefly shaken by the 2012 XL Foods E. coli outbreak that infected at least 18 people, and resulted in the recall of 1,800 tonnes of beef, a $4 million legal settlement and the sale of the packing plant to JBS Canada. That event also led to a resurgence in media interest in E. coli research. Articles in both Meatingplace.com and the National Post featured interviews with researchers who expressed concern that Health Canada’s recommendation to cook hamburger patties to an internal temperature of 71oC may not be adequate to kill some strains of E. coli. These concerns stemmed from papers published in 2011, 2015 and 2016 that studied the genetics of heat resistant E. coli strains that had survived carcass washing interventions in a commercial beef processing facility in 2001 and 2002.
These concerns deserved serious investigation. In response, Continue reading
When it comes to the use of hormones in beef cattle, sometimes there are more questions than answers. Reynold Bergen, PhD, with the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), breaks down why hormones are used and how they work in a recent BCRC webinar.
He tackles the question that is at the top of everyone’s mind – is the use of hormone implants safe? (Spoiler alert — yes!).
Although there has been sound scientific research to back up the decades-old practice of using hormonal growth implants, one can find many headlines to falsely suggest otherwise. It’s important to take a critical look at the source of such information. Is it credible? Do the studies reflect the science, real world conditions or practices? Who are the authors of the article and who performed the study? Continue reading
This year’s BCRC webinar topics include winter feeding, results of the latest National Beef Quality Audit, managing forages and other production practices.
View and register for our upcoming webinars below. To register for all of them at once, register for any one of them and select the option to be automatically registered for all remaining 2017-18 beef webinars.
We recommend registering for all webinars that you’re interested in regardless of whether you can attend during the date/time listed. By registering, you’ll receive reminders to attend the live event plus receive a link that allows you to watch the recording at any time. It’s no problem if you register and miss the live event, however joining live is recommended as it gives you the opportunity to interact and ask questions.
BCRC webinars are available and free of charge thanks to guest speakers who volunteer their time and expertise to support advancements in the Canadian beef industry, and through the Knowledge Dissemination and Technology Transfer project funded by the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster.
Recordings of all of our past webinars can be found on our webinars page.
2017-18 BCRC Webinars:
Refining corn grazing recommendations – October 12, 2017, 7:00pm MT
Speaker: Bart Lardner, PhD, Senior Research Scientist at the Western Beef Development Centre
Thinking about turning your cattle out on corn? Want to be sure you are up to date with the latest corn grazing recommendations? Join us to Continue reading
Proposals are invited for the 2017-2018 Quebec-Ontario Cooperation for Agri-Food Research Competition.
Letter of Intent Submission deadline: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. EST
Research Priority Areas
This call for proposals is focused on climate change. Proposals are solicited that will generate new knowledge and/or technologies in the following areas:
- Research to evaluate climate change impact on soil health and develop best practices
- Research to determine climate change impacts on food processing and food safety including development of adaptation and mitigation strategies
Who May Apply
Universities and non-profit, non-governmental applied research centres are eligible to apply. Each application must be submitted jointly by a research institution based in Quebec and another based in Ontario.
Other public or private research institutions and organizations can contribute to the project as research team members or partners/co-funders. This includes colleges, government departments, industry associations and businesses.
How to Apply
The competition consists of a two-stage application process, and each project requires a co-lead from an Ontario and Quebec institution. The application form, as well as the competition guide with complete program and submission details, is available at: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/onqc_research/index.html
Every time a beef producer in Canada markets an animal, he or she invests in research – through a portion of the Canadian Beef Cattle Check-off. Those producer dollars help fund scientific studies and innovative developments that are advancing Canadian beef production and impacting farms and ranches across the country.
What does that mean …for you, your herd and your industry?
The Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) is excited to invite you to an upcoming presentation to get a clearer picture of beef research in Canada.
Join us Thursday, August 17 at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Alberta. The BCRC presentation will be held in the Palomino Room A-C from 1:30 – 4:30pm.
You’ll hear recent examples of progress made, discuss the objectives to be tackled next, meet the individuals leading the way, and take home new ideas to help keep your operation ahead of the herd. Top researchers will be in attendance to discuss Continue reading
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
This column usually features Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) projects supported by Canada’s national check-off, mainly through Canada’s Beef Science Cluster. The current Beef Cluster involves the BCRC, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Beef Producers, the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association, Manitoba Beef Producers, Beef Farmers of Ontario, the Quebec Beef Producers Federation, DuPont Pioneer, the Grey Wooded Forage Association, and provincial government funds from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. By pooling resources and coordinating funding decisions, funders can avoid duplication and increase the odds that more good projects will go ahead. The Beef Cluster allows Canada’s beef industry to support much more and better research than we could in the past with limited national check-off dollars alone. The BCRC is now deciding which new projects to fund through the next Beef Cluster (2018-2023), so this month I explain how the BCRC decides what research to fund.
The first step is Continue reading
December 1, 2016
Click to open an overview of the Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy 2018-2023
Canada has an opportunity to play a leading role in meeting rising global food production needs responsibly through investments in agriculture research across a variety of disciplines. Today the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and the national Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) released a strategy to achieve high priority beef research objectives that support increasing productivity while remaining environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
The new Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy will support the industry’s ability to manage challenges and sustainably supply demand. This strategy builds upon the success of the 2012-2018 National Beef Research Strategy. The new strategy’s research objectives are to be captured by 2023.
“With a growing global population that desires beef, research and innovation is critical to Continue reading
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
There are between 50,000 and 100,000 different serotypes (strains) of E. coli. Most are harmless, some may be beneficial, but some produce a very dangerous Shiga toxin. Shiga toxigenic E. coli (STEC) can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain in people. E. coli O157:H7 is the most well-known STEC, but it is not the only one.
All STEC’s carry at least one stx gene coding for the Shiga toxin, an eae gene coding for a protein that helps E. coli attach to the intestinal surface, and a wzx gene that codes for an “O” antigen. All three of those genes must be present in the E. coli cell for it to be a STEC.
Food safety risks due to E. coli O157:H7 are well known, and the beef industry has made great progress in controlling it. Non-O157 STEC infections are rarer, but in 2011 Continue reading
How Your Input is Influencing Future Research
Earlier this year the BCRC developed an online Beef Research Priority Survey. The Survey asked participants to rate the importance of research issues listed in the 2012 National Beef Research Strategy.
We were very pleased to receive over 500 responses.
Over half of the respondents were producers. Most were cow-calf producers (49%), with smaller numbers of seedstock breeders (5%) and feedlot operators (4%). Other responses came from veterinarians, researchers, abattoir staff, government staff and industry staff.
Every province was represented. More producer responses came from western (85%) than central and eastern Canada (15%). Nearly half of the responses were from producers 40 years of age or younger. This indicates that the producers who responded to the survey are more likely those looking forward to a long future in the beef industry.
We sifted through all of the responses in detail with greater focus on the responses provided by producers, as well as veterinarians’ responses where appropriate (e.g. animal health, welfare and antimicrobial issues). We paid special attention to issues that were identified as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important by at least 75% of producers and vets, as well as issues that were rarely rated as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important. We also compared responses between eastern and western Canada for issues where geography may be expected to play an important role (e.g. forage and feed grain issues).
Here’s what you told us… Continue reading
This article written by Dr. Reynold Bergen, BCRC Science Director, originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Canadian Cattlemen magazine and is reprinted on the BCRC Blog with permission of the publisher.
In high pressure processing (HPP), food is sealed in water-resistant packaging, placed in a water-filled container, and exposed to very high hydrostatic pressures (up to 87,000 psi) for three to nine minutes. High pressure is harmful or deadly to many pathogenic and spoilage bacteria, so HPP can improve food safety and extend shelf life. But two problems remain. One is that high pressure doesn’t just squash bacteria; it also affects the proteins in meat. HPP-treated beef is much darker than fresh beef. Another is that Canada’s Food and Drug regulations classify “foods resulting from a process not previously used for food” as “novel foods.” This means that detailed scientific data needs to be submitted to Health Canada for review and approval before these foods can be sold commercially.
However, HPP may be quite useful if these hurdles can be overcome. Marinating beef also affects the colour of uncooked beef, so perhaps using Continue reading