Good day and welcome to the Sprout, where it’s National Lager Day. For the foodies, Saturday is National Noodle Ring Day (whatever that means), and Sunday is National Cocoa Day. Planning to watch the Grey Cup this Sunday and looking for snack ideas? Food Bloggers of Canada has 18 of them, including bacon cheeseburger potstickers, pepper poppers, and easy cheesy flat bread.
Here’s today’s agriculture news.
Inspectors working for Employment and Social Development Canada didn’t properly enforce new pandemic regulations designed to protect vulnerable temporary foreign agriculture workers from COVID-19, Canada’s Auditor General Karen Hogan said in a scathing report released Thursday.
As CBC News reports, inspectors frequently failed to check whether employers were offering drinking water, cleaning products, and separate accommodations for infected workers, as well as dedicated quarantine spaces for workers who had to self-isolate for two weeks after arriving in Canada.
“The sense of urgency really didn’t resonate throughout the inspection regime,” Hogan told reporters. Her full report is here.
Hogan and her team also found that Canada had no national emergency-response plan for its food system during the pandemic.
“Overall, we found that the government had not developed a national emergency-preparedness and response plan that considered a crisis affecting the entire food system and Canadians’ food security,” the report reads. “This is despite the government having identified food as a critical infrastructure sector since 2009.”
Furthermore, while emergency measures that were audited did mitigate some effects of the pandemic on parts of Canada’s food system, Hogan found problems with data and performance measures. This meant that departments and agencies didn’t know whether they’d succeeded in reducing food insecurity and in supporting food processors through the crisis.
Hogan recommended that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada work with its federal, provincial, and territorial counterparts and other stakeholders to complete a national emergency-preparedness and response plan.
The federal government’s full response to her report is here.
After meeting with U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jewel Bronaugh on Thursday, Chris Forbes, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s deputy minister, said in a tweet that they discussed “collaboration (to restore) market access for P.E.I. potatoes and areas of shared interest, such as supply-chain resiliency and climate change.”
In other potato news, leftover bags of spuds from this week’s awareness-raising event on Parliament Hill went to local food banks around Ottawa, the Prince Edward Island Potato Board tweeted Thursday.
The roster for the House of Commons’ standing committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food has been released, and it includes some familiar faces and other new ones. The committee’s first meeting is on Dec. 13, when it will elect a chair. Real Agriculture reports.
The Institute for Research on Public Policy is holding a webinar on food banks and Canada’s social safety net on Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. ET. You can find more information here.
The federal government has promised $8 million for communication initiatives designed to bridge the gap between Canadian farmers and consumers, Real Agriculture reports. Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the three-year AgriCommunication Initiative on Thursday to improve access to safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food. The press release is here.
Restaurants in Manitoba already struggling with more costly supplies tell Global News they’re trying to prepare for even higher food prices. Meanwhile, many Manitobans are choosing to buy their meat directly from farmers.
Looking for budgeting tips, after a recent prediction that the average family’s grocery bill will jump by five to seven per cent next year? CBC News has them.
The state of California will soon enact the largest mandatory program to recycle food waste in the U.S. As the Guardian reports, it takes effect in January, and is designed to divert organic waste from landfills while reducing California’s methane emissions.
Starbucks workers in Buffalo, N.Y., have voted to unionize, despite objections from the company. As Reuters reports, they voted 19-8 in favour, citing burnout from mobile orders and frustration with other tech systems. The vote must still be certified by the National Labour Relations Board.
Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state will bar non-governmental organizations from distributing food or aid to resettled displaced people, the governor said in a circular seen by Reuters on Thursday.
Finally, BBC News has the story of a women in Madagascar who helped save her community from starvation during a food crisis on the island nation.
We end today with a review that went viral (for all the wrong reasons) of a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Apparently everything tasted like fish, even the non-fish dishes. We’ll pass, thank you.
That’s it for us this week. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you Monday.