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Working Virtually with Technology

Posted on November 10 2017 | Author: Alex Hurley

In the digital age, it's increasingly common for businesses to lean more heavily on technology. This transition has allowed for increased communication, productivity and overall employee happiness. Technology has made it possible for employees to work remotely, whether that be from satellite offices, home, or the ability to work virtually for collaborations. This movement is accomplished through text, video, and audio applications. The goal of this blog post is to outline some excellent applications that you may not of heard of, which could be significantly useful for your team when working virtually.

1. Slack: Slack is a free communication application and is used often in the start-up world. Slack allows team members to chat and share files with ease. It is a robust application where a user can privately chat with a team member or have group chats on a particular project. If the company is completely virtual, the user could create a channel for off topic discussion to facilitate water cooler conversation. What you might not know about Slack is that it also integrates a high-quality video chat, audio chat, and screen sharing. In the chat window on Slack, click the telephone icon in the top right and it will open an audio call with the team member. If a user would like to share your camera or screen, they can do so. These features can be used in team chats as well but a subscription fee is required.
 

2. Zoom: Zoom is a web conference application that excels in video conferencing and webinars. The base model for zoom is free, however if a user has specific needs, they have the ability to upgrade to certain packages for a fee. Zoom is dynamic yet simple to operate. Once a user logs in under their account, they can start a video conference. Once the conference has begun, a link is generated. Anyone they share that link with can join the chat. Zoom conferences incorporate both video and audio chat, which allows for flexibility. If an invitee doesn't have access to a computer or Wi-Fi, they can simply call into the meeting. Zoom also allows for the ability to share screens and record meetings, which is useful when giving presentations or webinars.
 

3. TeamViewer: TeamViewer is a remote connection application that uses cloud-based technology. The base model is free if it's for personal use only, however if a corporation would like to use TeamViewer, a license needs to be purchased. TeamViewer works under a basic premise- a user who wishes to remote connect to another computer sends a link, and the user on the computer to be connected to, opens the link and accepts the invite to remote connect. TeamViewer is extremely useful in situations where an application or computer needs to undergo troubleshooting to solve a particular issue or to replicate a particular bug. The business package offered by TeamViewer is an affordable way for technology start-ups to troubleshoot user bug reports, if they arise.
 

Even though I operate out of the Halifax satellite office, I have the ability to work closely with the excellent Bioenterprise team by making use of invaluable applications, like those outlined above. 

Sources: http://ow.ly/3h0k30guybN

Alex Hurley
Analyst, Aquacultre






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Bioenterprise B.C. hosts Vancouvers First Agri-Tech Pitch Night

Posted on October 25 2017 | Author: Jessica Taylor

Agri-tech and agri-food companies from across the Lower Mainland came together on October 18th for Vancouver’s first Agri-tech Pitch Night! The event was co-hosted by Bioenterprise B.C. and Volition Events to provide companies with the opportunity to receive feedback and coaching on their 3-minute pitch.

“This was a great opportunity to showcase British Columbia’s growing agri-tech and food sector,” said Jessica Taylor, A/Regional Manager of Bioenterprise B.C. “ The sector is growing rapidly and B.C. has such a unique ecosystem of support for these types of ventures. Companies need more opportunities like this for both feedback and exposure.”

It’s not often that entrepreneurs have the chance to practice their pitch in front of an expert panel and receive constructive criticism and recommendations.  Each panellist provided a unique perspective, and while feedback varied they provided some great tips that entrepreneurs should remember:

1. Bait the Hook: whether you have 5 minutes or 30 seconds, your pitch is meant to pique the interest of investors and other potential partners. Don’t worry about telling them all of the details, that’s what the follow-up conversation is for.

2. Ask!: Whether or not you are doing a raise be sure to let the audience know what you are looking for. Do you need a mentor? Connections to strategic partners?

3. Be Clear: Make sure that your innovation, competitive advantage, and ask are all very apparent to the audience. Practice and receive feedback as often as possible.

 

The pitch night brought together several companies within the ag-tech sector, including:  500 Foods, Burnaby Organic Greenhouse, Coast Protein, Compy, Hagensborg Chosolates (Truffle Pig), MyFoods Market, NuWave Research Inc., and Wise Bites.

Winners from Pitch Night were selected by an audience vote following the company pitches. The top three placing’s included:

 

Sustainable cricket protein powders and bars

 

 

Sustainable and ethically sourced chocolates

 

                    

On-site solutions in vacuum microwave dehydration for food






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Dietary Supplement Claim Substantiation What Evidence is Stipulated by Law?

Posted on October 20 2017 | Author: Admin

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that a notification from the manufacturer, packager or distributor of a dietary supplement for the claim statements made on product labels is submitted to the FDA no later than 30 days after the first marketing of the product [1]. With this said, dietary supplement claim substantiations in the U.S. are not scientifically reviewed and approved for acceptability prior to entering the market. This is different from some other markets where claim statements are subject to substantiation requirements and pre-market approval. Companies in the dietary supplement industry are responsible for keeping on file the substantiation for all claims made on their labels. However, they may struggle with what type of evidence is suitable for substantiation. This leads us to the Regulations – what does the law require for the substantiation of dietary supplement claims?

Under Section 403(r)(6) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) (21 U.S.C. 343(r)(6))[2], a manufacturer of a dietary supplement making a nutritional deficiency, structure/function, or general well-being claim is required to have substantiation that the claim is truthful and not misleading. In the Act itself, there is no mention of the type of evidence required for substantiation. However, the FDA provides some guidance as to their current thinking regarding suitable substantiation claims for dietary supplements in a guidance document titled “Guidance for Industry: Substantiation for Dietary Supplement Claims Made Under Section 403 (r)(6) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act[3]. This guidance document demonstrates the FDA’s position for evidence requirements: “Although there is no pre-established formula as to how many or what type of studies are needed to substantiate a claim, we, like the FTC, will consider what the accepted norms are in the relevant research fields and consult experts from various disciplines.”

In this guidance document, the FDA specifies evidence which may substantiate a claim: (a) Human studies: Intervention studies (note: “randomized, double-blind, parallel group, placebo-controlled trials offer the greatest assessment of a relationship between a dietary supplement and outcome”), and/or (b) Human studies: Observational studies (includes Case reports, Case-series studies, Case-control studies, Cohort studies, Cross-sectional studies, Time-series studies, and Epidemiological studies.

Importantly, the FDA also discusses what types of additional information may be useful as background information to support a claim, but alone may not be adequate to substantiate a claim: Animal studies; In vitro studies; Testimonials and other anecdotal evidence; Meta-analysis; Review articles; Comments and Letters to the Editor or Product monographs.

The FDA’s guidance document provides the administration’s current thinking on evidence for dietary supplement claims but it is not legally binding because the Act does not list evidence requirements for substantiation. Therefore, appropriate/acceptable evidence for claims is not definitive and what is considered ‘scientifically sound and reliable’ evidence may be different depending on the nature of the claim and the message it conveys to consumers.   Therefore, companies marketing dietary supplements need to be confident in their claim substantiation in order to prevent any disputes with the FDA and FTC.

Overall, it is advisable to ensure your substantiation is reviewed for appropriateness by a scientific & regulatory expert who is capable of assessing the scientific evidence in the relevant research field for the type of the claim statement being made on your label. If you do not have someone in-house capable of doing so, then you may want to consult with a third-party for assistance to ensure you have appropriate dietary supplement claim substantiation.

dicentra can assist in reviewing evidence for dietary supplement claims to ensure that customers have the right type of evidence and substantiation documentation on-hand for dietary supplements for the U.S. market.

Sources:
[1] FDA Structure/Function Claim Notification for Dietary Supplements
[2] The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act). (21 U.S.C. 343(r) (6)).
[3] Guidance for Industry: Substantiation for Dietary Supplement Claims Made Under Section 403 (r)(6) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, Dec 2008.

View original blog here.






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Should I Patent This Blog?

Posted on October 03 2017 | Author: Michael Coulson

So, you think your new widget is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Like many others, you might think a patent is the logical next step to commercializing your invention, and you may be right. However, determining whether it makes business sense to patent is a complex issue, as are most legal matters. Here are a few of the many considerations to keep in mind when determining if a patent is right for you.

A patent is not a legal right to commercialize an innovation.

A patent is a direct exchange with the government. They offer you the legal right to exclude other people from using, selling, or making what you have claimed within your patent for a fixed period of time, in exchange for a detailed description of your innovation. Essentially, you are offering your cutting-edge knowledge to the public, in trade for the ability to take legal action against anyone, for a limited time, who chooses to infringe on the knowledge you have claimed.

Alternatively, you may have a patent on a certain innovation, but you might not have the freedom to operate within the space without infringing on someone else’s patent. For example, if a widget has three parts, the top, bottom, and middle, and you’ve created a better way to make the middle piece of the widget, you still need to put it together with the top and bottom, which may end up infringing on someone else’s patent.

There is a time limit for the artificial monopoly.

For the majority of countries, a patent is only valid for twenty years, after which, the innovation becomes public domain. Even then, during the time of the patent, the information of your product will be public domain, and likely if its innovative enough, someone may be able to better mimic your product with this knowledge. This is one of the reasons why food and beverage manufacturers tend not to patent their formulations. If Dr. John Pemberton of Coke-Cola decided to patent their formulation back in 1886, the patent would be long expired, by 1906 their secret sauce would be in the public domain, and likely all the coke knock-offs would taste a lot better.

It’s important to decide whether this invention is better suited for a patent or as a trade secret. Trade secrets can last forever, as long as they are kept secret by those who hold the knowledge. For example, it is rumored that KFC’s eleven herbs and spices original recipe, is stored in a vault in the Louisville headquarters, and processes six of the herbs and spices are mixed in one location with a set of staff, and the other five are mixed in a separate location, all to preserve the secret.

Patents are expensive, so they should have a return on investment.

The cost over the lifetime of a patent varies quite a bit depending on the complexity of the innovation, how long and involved the prosecution process is, and the jurisdictions for filing. The cost for filing just in Canada can range anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 for preparation and filing for a relatively simple invention, but this figure can double, or even triple depending the complexity, and this is just in Canada. If, for example, you wanted to file an international PCT application and then file in multiple jurisdictions during national phase entry, you can easily run a six-figure bill.

With this in mind, it is extremely important to understand how the patent will be put to work. There are many ways to utilize a patent, whether it is for direct licencing, used as a signal of innovation for investors or consumers, or as a defensive move to block others from entering a market. Whatever the reason for patenting, it is important to ensure that it will be able to provide you with tangible benefit.

Now, the question at hand: Should I patent this blog?
The answer doesn’t matter, but even if I think I know, I should probably ask a lawyer.


Sources:
Invents. 2017. Do you have a great invention idea. Retrieved from http://www.invents.com/how-much-does-a-patent-cost/ 
The Times. 2012. The A to Z of friend chicken. Retrieved from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-a-to-z-of-fried-chicken-nrmm3qn0gg7 
Wilson, T. 2012. When to Patent something and how to do it. Globe and Mail. Retrieved from https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/sb-growth/when-to-patent-something-and-how-to-do-it/article626823/?arc404=true 
CNBC. 2008. Colonel’s Secret Recipe Gets Bodygaurds. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20130923032226/ 
 

Michael Coulson
Analyst, Bioenterprise BC






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Why your food start-up needs a Regulatory Strategy

Posted on September 01 2017 | Author: Dana Baranovsky

Starting a new business in the value add agri-food space comes with its challenges. From product development, funding identification, packaging, marketing, commercialization, and promotion the task at hand is not a simple one.  With so many steps and hurdles between product concept and commercialization, it’s easy to forget a critical step – a regulatory strategy.


What is Regulatory Strategy?

A regulatory strategy aligns with your business timeline. As you progress from milestone to milestone, from product concept to commercialization, you also progress through a regulatory timeline.

It is essential to understand what acts and regulations are relevant to your product. In Canada, Health Canada is responsible for establishing the safety and nutritional requirements for food regulations, while the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) enforces these regulations. Federal regulations such as the Food and Drug Act (FDA) and the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR) must be met by all food manufactures. However, each province may have additional regulations as well. Depending on your food product, there may be specific regulations that affect your product such as the Maple Products Regulations (MPR), Processed Products Regulations (PPR), or Fish Inspection Regulations (FIR) to name a few.

Start-ups in the agri-food space should consider the regulatory requirements from the initial planning stages. Unforeseen regulations can become huge hurdles; setting back projects and can become very costly. For example, if your product is labelled with a non-compliant health claim, it can be pulled from store shelves, and you will have to redesign and order new packaging.


Creating a Regulatory Strategy.

Creating a regulatory strategy can be difficult without any regulatory experience. Entrepreneurs doing their due diligence must search through acts and regulations and find applicable clauses. Fortunately, the CFIA is a great resource for information on food labelling and making health claims.

Regulatory due diligence is a labour intensive process and it is not as appealing as product development or marketing, however it is critical to successful food business.

Once the due diligence is complete, you should formulize a regulatory plan document. The easiest way to stay on track and organize your timelines is to conjointly develop the regulatory plan with your business milestone strategy. At each milestone (e.g. scaling up, commercialization) identify what regulations need to be met, such as food safety, packaging, health claims, etc.

Once your plan is complete, it is highly recommended to have it reviewed by a regulatory expert, who can help identify gaps in your regulatory plan and assist in implementing these recommendations into the regulatory strategy. By creating the regulatory plan yourself, you can save money by engaging a consultant to review your plan rather than create it.


The importance of regulatory strategy for a food business.

As you create your business plan, you should be considering your regulatory strategy. As you move through milestones, you should be checking off the requirements that you are compliant with. Below are some regulations that a food manufacturer may consider.


Product development.

When you are developing a product, be sure to think about what types of ingredients you are using. If you want to use a particular health claim, you must know how much of ingredient ‘x’ needs to be incorporated to use that claim. If you are using food additives, you must ensure that you are using the correct food additive for your product and in the authorized amounts. If you want your product to be labelled gluten-free, you must research different types of third party certifications, the quantity deemed acceptable, and formulate your product accordingly. These are just some examples of considerations that you may make while developing your product.

Product development is a critical time to consider your regulatory strategy. The ingredients you use and their quantities can determine what health claims and third party certifications you can achieve. These claims and certifications can open up new markets and help reach target markets. Your company may also want to consider what ingredients you want to avoid, to make “free-from” claims.


Scaling up.

 It is difficult for food start-ups to implement food safety. Working on a small scale can mean using a commercial kitchen with no food safety certifications, and product demand does not yet reach the minimum run requirements at a co-manufacturing facility. Hence, your product may not qualify at many retailers. Once your company is ready to scale up to a co-manufacturing facility, you need to ensure that the facility has appropriate food safety certifications as well as third party certifications. If you are choosing to build your own facility, you must implement Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), food safety certifications and employee food safety training, to name a few.


Retail.

If your company is considering selling to retailers, you should be aware of the regulatory requirements for food companies listed in their stores. Large retailers will often have their own Good Manufacturing Practices guidelines for their suppliers that can go beyond government regulations.  Failure to comply with retailer regulations can mean you lose your chance at securing a retailer or risk having your product removed from the store.

Export.

 If you are looking to export your product, you must consider the regulatory requirements of the country you are exporting to. Other countries have different standard container sizes, marketing rules, and nutrition labelling requirements.

Knowing federal, provincial, and even retail requirements allows you to effectively plan your go-to-market strategy. Companies who have not considered their regulatory strategy may experience many setbacks, including product reformulations, packaging redesign, and failure to secure retailers. These setbacks are time consuming and costly and can lead to the failure of the business. Thus, regulatory strategy is a key component for the success of your food business.

Sources:
http://ow.ly/9oOv30fbxRB

Dana Baranovsky
Food & Food Systems Analyst






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A last-minute reprieve for email marketers: government suspends private right of action for breach of anti-spam laws

Posted on June 09 2017 | Author: Admin

Privacy and access to information

Since 2014, we have followed the development of Canada's anti-spam legislation (the Act or CASL)1, often described as the most stringent of its kind in the world. On July 1, 2017, the final set of CASL articles was to come into force, most notably providing for a private right of action (the PRA) to remedy contraventions of the Act.2 On June 7, 2017, citing mounting pressure from businesses and charities, the Government of Canada suspended the implementation of the PRA pending a further parliamentary review.

The private right of action

At present, contraventions of CASL are only actionable by the relevant regulators. On July 1, however, the new PRA remedy would have allowed any individual (or class of individuals) to bring a claim alleging contraventions relating to sending commercial electronic messages and installing computer programs under CASL, as well as contraventions of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act dealing with consent or authorization for collecting information and of Section 74.011 of the Competition Act (deceptive marketing practices for electronic messages).

Significant potential civil exposure

The PRA provided for two heads of damages for contravention of any of the above provisions, either or both of which may be claimed:

• damages for actual loss or;
• up to $200 per contravention, up to a maximum of $1 million per day regardless of whether any loss has been suffered.

In addition to the corporate entity or individual directly responsible for the contravention, the PRA would have allowed actions to be brought against officers, directors and agents if they were somehow complicit – even where the corporate entity itself is not named. Given that few individuals would have suffered actual damages, the expectation was that breaches would give rise to class actions claiming the maximum $200 statutory penalty for each individual consumer who received a non-compliant email. The potential exposure to businesses under the PRA was very significant.

A welcome reprieve … for now

Many commentators and businesses had expressed concern about the PRA, arguing the lack of any need to prove actual damages could result in liability entirely disproportionate to the harm suffered (if any). The government has announced it supports a “balanced approach” in the review and reconsideration of the PRA by Parliament. It remains to be seen whether that review will result in a solution that assuages the current concerns of industry. 

Author: D. Michael Brown

Article Provided By: Norton Rose Full Bright

About Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice that provides the world's pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers share food and agribusiness sector knowledge and experience across provincial and national borders, enabling them to support their clients anywhere in the world. To learn more about Norton Rose Fulbright, please visit www.nortonrosefulbright.com


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Tips for staffing a start-up in agri-tech

Posted on June 01 2017 | Author: Jessica Bowes

Hiring the first few employees is a big step for early stage businesses. Expanding the team could mean that the founder recognizes they can’t do everything by themselves or that they don’t have the necessary skills or experience for a specific aspect of the business. Or, maybe a new perspective is needed in order to grow.

Whatever the reason, fundamentally it will ultimately change the business by increasing bandwidth. If you can find the right person, suddenly you will be able to do more, faster.

So, how do ensure that you’re hiring the right person?

Know what you want and where you are willing to compromise. Keeping the stage of the company in mind, conduct thorough research on what the role will look like. Also, think about what kind of talent is needed today, 1 year out, 3 years out, and even 5 years out. It might be helpful to benchmark other companies in key areas.  Are you looking for someone with specific skills? Knowledge? Experience? What are critical skills for success: domain experience or behavioural/personal attributes? The reality is, having it all is usually not an option.

Cast a wide net. Recruit far and wide, searching in adjacent sectors or even geographical locations. Narrow the list through successive assessments. And, if you can afford it, work with sector-specific job sites, new-graduate programs, and talent acquisition firms. And, don’t forget to use your network!

Hire for potential, not just past experiences. Look for someone who has a strong interest or passion for causes that are similar to yours and the company vision. Whether it be a technical doer, an impact player with a unique set of skills (e.g. R&D manager), or a star performer who will achieve greatness no matter the task, try and find someone with a combination of skills and passion.

If possible, have everyone on the team interview the strongest candidates. Typically, an entrepreneurial team is made up of passionate people with very different personalities and work styles; so take the time for everyone to meet the star candidates. And don’t be afraid to have multiple interviews to ensure the new person will fit in well with the existing team. Establishing a productive working dynamic right from the get-go is crucial!

What you want won’t likely come cheap. Do your research to find out what the market is currently paying. If you hold out for your salary max, you may have to lower expectations. And remember, candidates are always looking for a step-up in compensation from their current situation.

For start-ups in the agri-technology sectors, there are some valuable recruiting resources and talent partners for consideration when it’s time to grow your team.

 

Kincannon & Reed

Kincannon & Reed, one of Bioenterprise’s corporate partners, is a retained executive search firm engaged by organizations around the world to recruit impact players in the food, agribusiness, and life sciences sectors. Unlike many “international” search firms, the company operates as a single office with multiple locations. Ideas, contacts, insights are freely exchanged among the principals and researchers globally. This enterprise-wide collaborative approach translates into a competitive edge for clients.

BioTalent Canada

As the HR partner of Canada’s bio-economy, BioTalent Canada focuses on building partnerships and skills to ensure the industry has access to job-ready people. Through projects, research and product development, BioTalent Canada connects employers with job seekers, delivers human resource information and skills development tools so the industry can focus on strengthening Canada’s biotech business.  For employers, there is The PetriDish job board for posting opportunities and a few different wage subsidy programs to support hiring new graduates or employees with disabilities.

AgCareers.com

The AgCareers.com mission is to provide global talent solutions in agriculture and food by offering employers talent attraction solutions, a high-calibre human resources conference, compensation benchmarking, talent pipeline development, and much more.

If you would like more information or to make contact with any of the organizations listed above, and/or some assistance developing your staffing strategy please contact Jessica Bowes, Manager of Bioenterprise’s Analyst Team at jessica.bowes@bioenterprise.ca.

Sources:
Wightman, J. (2016). The search is over [Kincannon & Reed Powerpoint slides]. Available upon request.
Koloc, N. (date). 7 Keys to Hiring Your Start-up’s First Employee. [Web log post]. Retrieved May 1, 2017, from https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-keys-to-hiring-your-startups-first-employee
https://stock.adobe.com/ca
 

Jessica Bowes
Manager, Business & Technology Analyst Group






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Canadas legalization of recreational cannabis legislation introduced

Posted on May 01 2017 | Author: Admin

In the 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada ran on a platform that included legalizing recreational cannabis. Following the election, a task force was created to report on legalization and regulation, and a report was delivered in November 2016. On April 13, 2017, Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts (the Cannabis Act) was introduced, largely implementing the task force’s recommendations. In a nutshell, it decriminalizes the possession of certain amounts of cannabis and makes allowance for production for commercial use.

The bill introduces a system of licensing and permitting for the production, distribution, and sale of “licit” cannabis; any cannabis produced, distributed or sold other than as permitted in the Cannabis Act or any provincial act is considered “illicit.” Good news to those who invested resources to submit applications for licensing under the medical marijuana regime (formerly the MMPR, now the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations[ACMPR]): the bill’s transitional provisions provide that any licence issued, or application in process under that regime will be deemed a licence or application under the Cannabis Act when it comes into force.

The bill does not speak to the mechanics of distribution. Instead, it provides that a person may possess, sell or distribute cannabis if that person is authorized to do so under a provincial act. The bill does note, though, that a person can only sell cannabis under a provincial act if the cannabis was produced by a person authorized under the Cannabis Act to produce for commercial purposes. Thus, we should expect additional information from the provinces regarding the model for sale of cannabis.

Of particular interest to some is whether or not any provincial legislation will allow distribution of medical cannabis by pharmacies – a hot issue when medicinal cannabis regulations were first introduced (currently, medicinal cannabis can only be distributed through the mail). The bill proposes that separate access to cannabis for medical purposes be maintained, and the ACMPR will continue to be in effect. It remains to be seen how, if at all, the soon-to-come provincial legislation will affect the distribution of medical cannabis.
 

Highlights of the bill are set out below

Licensing

The Cannabis Act provides for a licensing and permit scheme for the production, testing, packaging, labeling, sending, delivery, transportation, sale, possession or disposal of commercial cannabis. Although details will be governed by yet-to-be-developed regulations, it appears the process will be similar to that currently in place under the ACMPR. Requirements will likely relate primarily to safety and security, and provide product standards for cannabis sold.

As set out above, the bill provides that several types of licenses and permits issued or applied for under other acts and regulations at the date the new act comes into force will be deemed to be issued under the Cannabis Act. These include producers licenses, import and export permits, and security clearances issued under the ACMPR as well as narcotic dealers licenses for those that deal in cannabis under the Narcotic Control Regulations.

It is proposed that cannabis can only be imported or exported pursuant to a license, and only then for medical or scientific purposes.

What can be sold

Only cannabis produced pursuant to a license can be sold, and products containing cannabis in combination with nicotine, caffeine or alcohol will be prohibited. The government anticipates that on the coming into force of theCannabis Act commercial products will be limited to fresh and dried cannabis, cannabis oil, seeds and plants. Further regulation may allow for the sale of edibles and other products; however, these are not anticipated to be in place initially.

Packaging & labeling

Packaging and labeling requirements will be determined primarily by yet-to-be-developed regulations. The bill provides that packaging must not be false, misleading or deceptive, and it must also not be appealing to young persons, contain testimonials or endorsements, depict persons or characters, or associate a product with certain lifestyle imagery.

Advertising

The bill permits information-type promotion, restricted to factual and accurate information about cannabis products (ingredients, THC and CBD levels, etc.). Information enabling consumers to tell the difference between brands will also be permitted. Promotion is only allowed where it will not be seen by young persons.

There are proposed restrictions on advertising relating to sponsorships, endorsements, and testimonials, price, depiction of persons or characters, lifestyle advertising, and advertising in a way that could be appealing to young persons. The Cannabis Act provides for regulation-making powers and regulations could affect what is permitted or require the inclusion of specific information such as health risk information.

Tax

It is expected the government will amend the Excise Tax Act to tax cannabis. The task force report suggested taxing higher-potency THC at a higher rate, and using revenue generated from cannabis sales for drug prevention, education and treatment goals.
 

Next steps

The Government of Canada has set a target date of July 2018 for a recreational cannabis market; however, Bill C-45 has only just been introduced and must be passed by both houses. Further, many aspects of the regulatory regime will be determined by regulations that need to be drafted and published. There are therefore no guarantees as to if, when, or how cannabis will be legalized and regulated. Until the Cannabis Act is in force, existing laws remain in place and the provisions discussed above are subject to change.

 

Ian Trimble
Associate, Norton Rose Fullbright

Jacob Cawker
Associate, Norton Rose Fullbright

Sara Zborovski
Partner, Norton Rose Fullbright

Article provided by: Norton Rose Fulbright

About Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice that provides the world's pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers share food and agribusiness sector knowledge and experience across provincial and national borders, enabling them to support their clients anywhere in the world. To learn more about Norton Rose Fulbright, please visit www.nortonrosefulbright.com

Click here to view the original article.






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Amendments to the Ontario Business Corporations Act

Posted on April 24 2017 | Author: Admin

The new record-keeping rules

The new section 140.1 of the OBCA sets forth this requirement:

140.1 (1) A corporation shall prepare and maintain at its registered office a register of its ownership interests in land in Ontario.

Although the term “ownership interests” is not defined, the prudent view is this term includes both registered and beneficial freehold interests. It will also be advisable to include interests in a partnership or limited partnership that owns land in Ontario. There is currently no judicial guidance on whether other interests, such as mortgages and leases, are captured; our view is these types of interests will not need to be included on the register.

Pursuant to subsection 140.1(2) of the OBCA, the register shall (i) identify each property to which the corporation has an ownership interest, and (ii) include the date the corporation acquired the property and, if applicable, the date the corporation disposed of it. Additionally, as supporting documentation, the corporation must keep copies of any deeds, transfers, or similar documents for each property listed in the register, which contains the following information:

  • the municipal address, if any;

  • the registry or land title division and the property identifier number;

  • the legal description; and

  • the assessment roll number, if any.

The register and supporting documentation may be maintained in either paper or electronic format, so long as they are maintained at the corporation’s registered office.

These record-keeping obligations extend only to ownership interests in land situated in Ontario.

Application

The application of the new real property register requirements varies according to a corporation’s date of incorporation. If a corporation was incorporated or continued under the OBCA on or after December 10, 2016, it is immediately subject to the new record-keeping obligations. Corporations incorporated or continued before December 10, 2016, enjoy the benefit of a two-year transition period and must come into full compliance by December 10, 2018.

While existing corporations with ownership interests in real property have two years to comply with the new requirements, it would be prudent for them to begin preparing their registers as soon as possible as compilation of the required documents may prove to be quite time-consuming. It is important to note that non-compliance of the recording requirements constitutes an offence under the OBCA, which may be punishable by fine.

The FCPA will eventually enact similar amendments to the Not-for-profit Corporations Act, 2010 (the NFPCA), but the coming-into-force date for the NFPCA is unknown at this time.

 

Alexandra Aversa
Associate, Norton Rose Fullbright

Oliver Moore
Associate, Norton Rose Fullbright

Article provided by Norton Rose Fulbright

About Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice that provides the world's pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers share food and agribusiness sector knowledge and experience across provincial and national borders, enabling them to support their clients anywhere in the world. To learn more about Norton Rose Fulbright, please visit www.nortonrosefulbright.com

Click here to view the original article.






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Food Fax

Posted on April 01 2017 | Author: Admin

Read the lasted Food Fax newsletter from International Food Focus Ltd.’s President, Carol Culhane.  

 

©2016 International Food Focus Ltd., 211 Carlton Street, East Office, Toronto, ON M5A 2K9 E: focus@foodfocus.on.ca
Food Fax is archived at www.foodfocus.on.ca 






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Health Canada Proposes New Food Labelling and Marketing Regulations for Children

Posted on March 23 2017 | Author: Admin

Healthy eating can be challenging due to several factors, some beyond the control of the consumer. This is why the Government of Canada is taking actions to make the healthier choice the easier choice for all Canadians. Health Canada is currently overhauling Canada’s healthy eating guidelines with a comprehensive strategy that will include new rules for marketing and labelling certain foods aimed at children. Health Minister Jane Philpott said the “iconic” Canada Food Guide has not kept up with the country’s changing demographics and lifestyle.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released recommendations on the marketing of food and beverages to children in 2010. WHO called on governments worldwide to reduce the exposure of children to advertising and to reduce the use of powerful marketing techniques employed by the food manufacturers and beverages high in saturated fats, trans-fats, added sugars or sodium.

Health Canada's last food guide was criticized because it was based on much input from industry. Today, Canada is acting on those WHO recommendations, which already restricts marketing to children under the age of thirteen. It will take anywhere from five to ten years to implement these changes, after consultations with industry, stakeholders and the public. Although, this is an unprecedented amount of change that will require an unprecedented level of investment in an unprecedented time frame, this will change what's in our products, what's on our product packaging and how these products will be marketed. On the other hand, the food and beverage industries continues to face challenges with timely regulatory approvals and costs for reformulation and innovation.

The food industry in Canada is already taking steps to encourage Canadians to make more informed, healthy food choices, and said it is "keen" to ensure further steps are taken. Health Canada just completed the scientific review of the Canada Food Guide. It found that most of the science behind its recommendations was sound. However, the department found there were not enough distinctions between age groups, sex, activity levels, or height. Hopefully, this new guide remains the most requested document at Health Canada.

In summary, Health Canada will engage the public and stakeholders to seek feedback and input on a proposed front of package labelling approach aimed at helping Canadians make healthier and more informed choices, particularly on added sugars, sodium and trans-fats.

dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand.

 

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

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The Healthy Eating Strategy: Health Canada Issues Changes to Food Label Regulations

Posted on March 09 2017 | Author: Admin

On December 14, 2016 Health Canada announced amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations in reference to the labelling provisions for packaged foods. These changes stem from Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, an effort to empower consumers to make healthier food choices by making food labels easier to read and understand. The final objective being the elimination of industrially produced trans-fat, reduction of sodium and additional information pertaining to sugars and food colours.

As a result of these amendments, Health Canada has updated food labelling as it concerns the Nutrition Facts table and list of ingredients.

Nutrition Facts Table

Increasing the font size of the Calories and Serving Size

Adding a bold line under Calories

Adding the footnotes “5% or less is a little” and “15% or more is a lot”

Assigning new % daily values based on modern nutrition science

Adding a new % daily value for total sugars

Adding potassium

Removing Vitamin A and Vitamin C

Adding the milligram amounts for potassium, calcium and iron

Creation of a regulated reference Serving Size, based on single serve versus multi-serving packages

List of Ingredients

Following ‘sugar’ group sugars-based ingredients in brackets

Listing food colours by their individual common names

Using black font on a white or neutral background

Separating ingredients using bullets or commas

Listing ingredients using both upper and lower case letters

Using Minimum type height requirements for ingredients

Following the same formatting requirements for the ‘Contains’ statement (indicating the presence/potential presence of priority food allergens, gluten sources and/or added sulphites)

The food industry has been given a five year transition period, as of December 14, 2016 to implement the new food label requirements under these revised regulations. During this interim period, companies may choose to label food products under the former regulations or the new regulations. Over this period, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will maintain its current guidance and tools while simultaneously updating them to reflect these new requirements. Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have prepared a guide to develop accurate nutrient values, as well as a number of laboratory methods for nutrient content analysis. Health Canada will respond to questions related to the new requirements and their intent, whereas inquiries dealing with compliance and enforcement will be handled by local Canadian Food Inspection Agency offices.

dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand.

 

 

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article






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#BCTECH Summit – Counting down the weeks!

Posted on February 27 2017 | Author: Sophie Wotten

The #BCTECH Summit is only weeks away and Bioenterprise is excited to be part of BC’s largest tech conference. On March 14th and 15th, the #BCTECH Summit will take over the Vancouver Convention Centre! There are over 200 speakers anticipated at this year’s Summit covering a cross-sector of industries including ag-tech, health,-tech, clean-tech, digital media and more, to discuss important topics impacting business technology decisions today.

The #BCTECH Summit is an opportunity not only to bring together BC’s vibrant and innovative tech community but also the convergence of traditional industries, business leaders, government and academia that are now adopting tech in all facets of their businesses and programs.

Bioenterprise’s President and CEO, Dave Smardon will provide an informative talk about bringing ag-tech innovation to market. Smardon’s presentation, “Why Ag-Tech” will focus on the importance of agri-technologies, as well as, how agriculture must adapt and diversify in order to meet the needs of to the growing population and strains on our natural resources.

Food is at the core of our social fabric, requiring our food systems to be efficient, productive, sustainable and safe from seed to market.  BC’s agri-food sector is one of the most diverse in North America with more than 20,000 farms and 1,800 food processing firms in the province. Our innovative technology sector is developing new methods to increase diversity, sustainability, productivity and market growth in the face of climate change and population growth.

The session, “Technology and the Social Fabric of our Food Systems: Transforming and Diversifying Agricultural Models” will dive deep into the innovation, the challenges and the opportunities in agriculture. Bioenterprise is excited to be a part of this jam-packed session that will bring together leaders in the industry with representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Terramera and Defyrus Inc. A sample of the insightful and thought-provoking discussions will include trends and demands driving agri-technology innovation, the expectations of today’s consumer on sustainable agriculture, and the role of genomics in the industry.  

Don’t forget to say hi to some of our Bioenterprise team at our exhibit booth, #205, where you will also meet some of the innovative companies we are working with!!  Delegates interested in this stream should also check out the Biosphere and Greenhouse featuring #BCTECH in action.

Learn more about the #BCTECH Summit at www.bctechsummit.ca.  With your special promo code, join Bioenterprise at the #BCTECH Summit! Use Speaker599 to purchase your tickets for the two-day conference for just $599!  






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Front-of-Package Requirements for Food Labels in Canada: Simplifying or Confusing Consumers?

Posted on February 23 2017 | Author: Admin

On November 14, 2016, Health Canada released the consultation document “Toward Front-of-Package Nutrition Labels for Canadians” outlining their proposal to introduce mandatory requirements for labels that appear on “Front of Package” foods (FOP) that are high in nutrients of public health concern. These nutrients of public health concerns when at high levels are sodium (associated with hypertension), sugar (associated with diabetes) and saturated fatty acids (associated with obesity). Health Canada has requested input from consumers, stakeholders, industry members, researchers in academia and health professionals on the proposed FOP requirements.

Health Canada proposes applying FOP labelling through the use of a symbol (currently being determined by Health Canada with properties of being simple and intuitive) that is mandatory on the principal display panel when the prepackaged food exceeds the predetermined “high-in” threshold value for sodium, sugars, or saturated fats. Through this mandatory and simple approach, Health Canada feels that consumers can rely on quick information on key nutrients of concern that would allow them to easily compare products and help make healthier choices easier. Health Canada feels that consumers can be limited by time, motivation and other factors, so FOP symbols grants them an additional tool to help them with informed choices; being a simple visual cue. Health Canada also states that FOP labelling is transparent as consumers can verify which nutrient is being flagged in the FOP symbol and can verify its actual quantity on the Nutrition Fact Table on another panel.

The proposed threshold value for when a “high-in” FOP symbol would be required for sodium, sugar and saturated fats is suggested to be 15% of the dietary value for prepackaged food and 30% of the dietary values for prepackaged meals and combination dishes – though different threshold values are being proposed for foods with small reference amounts (condiments, butter, margarine, cookies etc.).

Health Canada is also permitting or considering permitting exemptions to FOP labelling for products with very small packages, small individual packages served in restaurants, food produced and prepackaged by retailers, alcoholic packages and packages of sugar and salt.

There has already been feedback from the industry that FOP labeling may actually increase, rather than decrease consumer confusion as intended as the consultation documents outlines many exemptions which could confuse consumers when encountering an exempted food versus a healthier food alternative that carries FOP labelling. Industry also has concerns that FOP labelling on the three nutrients of public health concern will cause consumers to focus on these three nutrients and not the other beneficial nutrients in the food (running contrary to a promotion of a balanced diet) and be frightened away from these products despite their other nutritional benefits. Some of the proposed FOP symbols are reminiscent of street signs (stop & yield) which may confuse consumers to be a “not-consume” warning rather than an indicator of a higher value of a certain nutrient that it actually is.

In addition to FOP labelling, the consultation documents also discusses update to nutrient content claims to make them consistent to the proposed FOP labelling and revising the current high-intensity sweetener regulations to align with those seen in international regulatory agencies around the world.

The current consultation has just recently closed on January 13th, 2017, though further consultations are planned again in June 2017.

dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand.

 

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

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Census of Agriculture – What will the data tell us?

Posted on February 08 2017 | Author: Emily Hartwig

In order to develop effective and successful polices, regulators require extensive and highly detailed data. In the case of the Canadian agricultural policy, federal and provincial regulators rely on the statistical portrait created by the Census of Agriculture every 5 years. The goal of the census is to collect a comprehensive data set of Canadian farms and agricultural operators, including information covering major commodities, livestock, finances and new technologies.

Why the Census?

The Census of Agriculture data is collected on an individual basis and allows for a comprehensive view into the attributes and nuances that are unique to each farm community across Canada. The importance of the census cannot be overstated. The data is collected directly from those who will be most impacted by any resulting regulatory changes and thus enables industry to influence change and help shape the future of Canadian agriculture. As a result, all members of the agriculture community have the potential to benefit: farm operators will be able to formulate production, marketing and investment decisions; producer groups will be made aware of new industry trends and developments, and governments will be able to develop efficient and effective policies concerning agriculture.  

                             

 

New industries, new questions.

While every census includes certain basic questions, the most recent Census of Agriculture included questions pertaining to several new interest areas: the adoption of technology, direct marketing, on-farm practices and land features, land inputs, and renewable energy systems. These new sections of the census were added to reflect the ever-evolving nature of the agricultural industry as well as how farmers and agricultural operators are adapting. One can safely assume that any new policy introduced as a result of the census may include information pertaining to these new interest areas in Canadian agriculture.

With the rise of agri-technology, such as drones and precision agriculture, those affiliated with the agriculture industry will have a better insight into the long awaited structured and well-defined regulations.

The areas of conservation and sustainability efforts will likely begin to see these practices incorporated into regulation. Sustainable practices are not novel across the Canadian agricultural landscape but have become a hot topic as of late, and with its inclusion in the census, federal and provincial governments are starting to take note.

Questions regarding renewable energy systems also appeared in the census, and industry players may benefit from the data, encouraging the growth of sustainable business models and development of efficient market strategies.

The 2016 Census of Agriculture will begin to be released to the public May 10, 2017. 

 

Emily Hartwig
Analyst

Source: Statistics Canada – Census of Agriculture

Photo Credit: Static Pexels






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New proposed Canadian food safety regulations open for comments

Posted on January 31 2017 | Author: Admin

They’re finally here! The long-awaited Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (Regulations) have been pre-published in the Canada Gazette I for comment, and the CFIA has officially kicked off consultation on the proposed regulations.

The proposed Regulations are made under the Safe Food for Canadians Act (the Act), which was adopted back in 2012 with a view to improving the safety of the Canadian food supply through establishing consistent, prevention-focused requirements for food that is imported or prepared for export or interprovincial trade. The Act consolidates the authorities of the Fish Inspection Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, and the food provisions of the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act.

The highly anticipated Regulations, which put the meat on the bones of the Act, result from significant consultation with stakeholders that began in 2013. Key objectives of the Regulations include prevention, enhanced market access for Canadian exporters and consolidation of 14 different, overlapping and at times inconsistent, food-based regulations to a single set of outcome-based requirements to improve consistency, enable innovation and flexibility and level the playing field across foods and between importers and Canadian producers.

The proposed Regulations include a number of new, and some not-so-new requirements around licencing, preventive controls, traceability, ministerial exemptions, packaging, labelling, recognition of foreign systems, inspection legends, seizure and detention, organic products and some commodity-specific requirements. Below we provide a brief overview of three key food safety elements: licences, traceability requirements and preventive controls. The full text of the Regulations can be found here.

Licences

The Regulations would replace the current commodity-based licence regime by requiring licences based on activity, rather than commodity. Under the proposed Regulations, licences will be required for food importers, companies preparing food for export or for interprovincial trade, and for companies slaughtering food animals from which meat products for export or interprovincial trade may be derived. The Regulations provide for some exemptions, and the CFIA has provided this interactive tool to help industry determine whether it will require a licence.

The intent of the licensing regime is to provide enhanced oversight of the entirety of industry, resulting in the better identification of food safety risks, communication of food safety information and more efficient CFIA inspections and enforcement actions. Licences are proposed to be valid for two years, for a fee of approximately $250 and will be subject to suspension in the event of non-compliance.

Traceability requirements

Traceability requires a company to be able to track the movement of food one step back (to the person who provided it) and one step forward (to the person to whom it is provided) – one step forwards and one step backwards throughout the entire supply chain, up to the point of retail sale. The Regulations apply the international standard for traceability established by Codex to anyone importing, exporting and interprovincially trading food, as well as to other persons holding a licence issued under the Act, and to growers and harvesters of fresh fruits or vegetables that are to be exported or traded interprovincially

Industry will be permitted to keep either electronic or paper records, as long as they can be accessed and provided to Health Canada within 24 hours (or possibly less in the case of an imminent risk to human health). Records will have to be maintained for a minimum two years. The CFIA has provided additional information on traceability requirements and record-keeping here.

Preventive controls

The Regulations propose that food subject to the Regulations and all regulated activities be conducted in a manner consistent with internationally recognized good agricultural and manufacturing practices, i.e., GAPs, GMPs and HACCP. The proposed Regulations address certain key preventive control elements, including sanitation and pest control, transportation and equipment, storage, hygiene and complaints and recall.

Most regulated parties will be required to develop and maintain a written preventive control plan (PCP) that demonstrates how to identify and eliminate (or reduce) hazards and risks related to food products. The PCP should be developed based on HACCP principles and should address the seven key elements of an HACCP plan.

The CFIA has provided this interactive tool to help industry determine whether it will require a PCP. Additionally, draft PCP templates for Canadian food businesses and exporters can be found here and a draft step-by-step guide for preparing a PCP can be found here (Canadian business and exporters) and here (importers).

Next steps

The CFIA is proposing a phased approach for the coming into force of the proposed Regulations to account for different levels of industry-readiness and the concerns of small businesses. Additionally, it has promised support for industry in the form of guidance documents, continued communication and new compliance tools. The CFIA’swebsite on the Safe Food for Canadians Act provides additional information on the Act and proposed Regulations.

Consultation on the proposed Regulations closes on April 21, 2017. The CFIA is offering a number of in-person and web-based information sessions across the country through February and March – additional information about these sessions is available here. In the meantime, the CFIA has prepared this Handbook entitled “Understanding the Proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations: A Handbook for Food Businesses”.  

 

Érika Bergeron-Drolet
Associate, Norton Rose Fullbright

Sara Zborovski
Partner, Norton Rose Fullbright

 

Article provided by Norton Rose Fulbright

 

About Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice that provides the world's pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers share food and agribusiness sector knowledge and experience across provincial and national borders, enabling them to support their clients anywhere in the world. To learn more about Norton Rose Fulbright, please visit www.nortonrosefulbright.com

 

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Food Fax

Posted on January 06 2017 | Author: Admin

Read the lasted Food Fax newsletter from International Food Focus Ltd.’s President, Carol Culhane.  

 

©2016 International Food Focus Ltd., 211 Carlton Street, East Office, Toronto, ON M5A 2K9 E: focus@foodfocus.on.ca
Food Fax is archived at www.foodfocus.on.ca 






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Key Changes to the Finalized New Nutritional Facts Panel

Posted on December 20 2016 | Author: Admin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally formalized the new Nutritional Facts panel for packaged foods. There are six critical changes that the FDA has implemented to help consumers to make more informed choices about the food they consume. The changes are outlined below:

Serving Size

  • The quantity of the serving size has been increased to accurately reflect what people typically now consume on a daily basis.
  • The text size for “serving size” has increased to highlight this information to consumers.
  • There are new requirements for certain size packages that may be larger than one serving size, but could be consumed in one setting.

Calories

  • The text size for calories is now larger and bolder to help emphasize this information.
  • Fats
  • While “total fats”, “saturated fat”, and “trans fat” are still required on the panel, the declaration of “calories from fat” has been removed since emerging research has shown the type of fat a person consumes is more important than the amount.

Added Sugars

  • The quantity of “added sugars” in both grams and as a percentage of daily value (% DV) is now required.

Nutrients

  • Together with Calcium and Iron, Vitamin D and Potassium declaration is now required since Americans are not getting the recommended daily amounts of these two nutrients. However, Vitamin A and Vitamin C declaration are no longer required.
  • The daily values for a large number of the vitamins and minerals have been updated.

Footnote

  • The footnote at the bottom of the panel has been updated to better inform the consumer the exact meaning of the percentage daily values.

Food manufactures in the United States have until July 26, 2018 to update their label with these new requirements. Though, businesses with less than 10 million dollars in revenue have an additional year to comply, making their effective date July 26, 2019.

 

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article. 






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The Dangers of Executive Magical Thinking

Posted on December 16 2016 | Author: Admin

Today’s new executive standard calls for leaders with the ability to embrace the grey and drive to black and white. Yet when we peer into the toolbox that leaders use in the effort, we sometimes find excessive use of a very dangerous tool: magical thinking.

What is magical thinking?
Executive magical thinking can be broadly defined as relying on something other than leadership, judgment, and hard work to build success. Examples include:

  • Magical Direction
  • Magical Hiring
  • Magical Systems
  • Magical Marketing

Magical Direction
We know of a CEO who is a devoted reader of the latest books by business leaders. Whenever his leadership team sees a new book on his desk, they brace themselves because they know a change in management style is coming. That CEO believes that if only he follows the thinking of whomever he is reading, he can magically transform his own organization.

On the other hand, consider the case of the executive who asked his lieutenant for two good options to address a pressing issue. After the lieutenant presented both options – with their pros and cons – the boss simply said, “You pick.” When the early career lieutenant pressed her boss for his preference, he replied, “These are both viable. Just decide and go implement and make your decision good.”

So who is the better leader? The one who makes a good decision, or the one who makes his or her decision good? Up to that point, the lieutenant had believed the boss would make the decision, so she felt both relieved and somewhat distanced from responsibility for the outcome. But once the lieutenant was empowered to make her own choices, she was more than ready to pick one and make it a success.

Magical Hiring
Magical thinking can show up in the hiring process, too — most often in an over-reliance on psychometric tests to choose employees. These tests are fine as one minor component of the hiring process that also includes the hard work of interviewing, thorough vetting, and then careful thinking through whom should ultimately be hired for a position. Tests can confirm what a behavior-based interview assessment has concluded, or they can highlight inconsistencies – even point out something that was missed. But tests become magical thinking when a manager uses a score alone to make a hiring decision, or as a pre-screening pass/fail and thus relieve him or her from the responsibility of a careful, holistic hiring process.

Magical Systems
“Our sales will really take off once we invest in a full-function Customer Relationship Management system.” The idea that employees who were not terribly proactive or productive to begin with will suddenly become so because of a new system is simply magical thinking. Training and equipping a sales force is hard work. Systems can help management, but they are not a substitute for the daily discipline and accountability of business development.

Another example of Magical Systems is an investment firm that relies solely on spreadsheets or formulas to pick winners and then waits to see what happens. They fail to realize the difference between passive reliance on numbers and analytics versus nurturing of a culture that not only picks potential winners, but then works hard to maximize the return on each one over the long haul.

Magical Marketing
We also see firms searching for that magical marketing “silver bullet.” They believe, “If we can just get our people more engaged in social media, then they will become more engaged with our clients.” Never mind that they are not picking up the phone or getting on a plane to see prospects now. What they are really saying is that they want to avoid personal contact.

Similarly, the company may think the answer is a new website, the right catch-phrase, or a stellar commercial. Any or all of these may be smart, but they are magical thinking if they lack an intellectually honest assessment of whether or not the product is right – and fail to make sure that those who field the incoming leads are fully equipped to take advantage of the fruit of the marketing effort.

Final Thoughts
Looking for magical solutions doesn’t work because … there are no magical solutions. Deflecting results onto a “thing” is avoiding the reality that people are the ultimate determinant of success. Effective leaders don’t build castles in the air. They chart a course, hire the best talent they can, and then free their team to pursue the chosen course. They make decisions, take action, and then make their decisions good.

 

Greg Duerksen
President, Kincannon & Reed

 

Article provided by Kincannon & Reed

 

About Kincannon & Reed
Kincannon & Reed recruits leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy. Their focus is on the interrelated realms of food, agribusiness, and life science. Their clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, as well as investment funds, financial institutions, industry associations, universities, and non-profit and development organizations. This sector knowledge streamlines the search process and enables them to better asses a candidates organizational fit and more compellingly present to them a client’s opportunity. In addition, the principals at Kincannon & Reed are former senior executives from the sectors they serve. This distinctive difference allows them to understand at a personal level, not just at an intellectual level, the environment in which you operate. The result is a quality conversation around your needs and a smoother recruitment process. To learn more about Kincannon & Reed, visit: www.KRsearch.com



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How Aspiring Entrepreneurs Can Benefit From Proper Business Communication

Posted on December 14 2016 | Author: Admin

For an entrepreneur there are many aspects to running a successful, well-rounded business. One significant factor to success is proper communication among employees and management, as well as B2B and B2C interactions. Without successful business communication, a business could suffer massive losses, injuries and even fatal mistakes can occur. An entrepreneur needs to be able to understand common challenges of business communication, characteristics of communication effectiveness as well as the importance of being able to adapt with technological change and its relation to communication.

Problems Surrounding Business Communication
Problems in business communication can come in numerous forms, and can have very different, problematic effects. For an entrepreneur to succeed they need to be aware of potential barriers within the communication process and how to avoid them. A few specific examples of barriers in business communication are:

Filtering – A barrier created by a speaker manipulating information they communicated to highlight positive aspects within a conversation and filter out the negative topics so that the audience does not know about problems and the severity they may possess.

Selective perception – This is a barrier put up by the receiver to select which information they want to see and hear based on their own specific needs.

Nonverbal communication – This is one of the most common barriers in communication. Many individuals may take nonverbal queues the wrong way, distorting the message that is being communicated.

Regardless of how the information is communicated; it needs to be conveyed in the clearest form possible. The communication process diagram demonstrates the varying areas in which barriers from employees, clients, partners, or other indirect consumers can easily arise and distort the message being communicated. An entrepreneur needs to be able to identify where the problem is originating and how to handle it as fast as possible.

Communication Process Diagram:


 

How to use Business Communication Effectively
Effective business communication has three specific characteristics that entrepreneurs need to follow for business success.

 1. Strategy in business communication comes from an individual’s ability to pre-plan a message. This planning phase involves developing the message, determining a target audience and the most appropriate medium for delivery. With strategy comes plenty of research – and in most instances, an entrepreneur should know the age, race, and gender of the audience to ensure their message will be communicated effectively and avoid misunderstanding.

 2. Being professional while communicating is such an important characteristic for entrepreneurs to follow – it could ultimately be the deciding factor of making a deal or losing one. Professional communication whether in person, via email, over the phone, etc., will foster a positive business reputation.

 3.  Adaptability in business communication trends is a very important aspect of corporate success. Entrepreneurs need to be able to adjust the way they communicate depending on the situation at hand. The situational context of an entrepreneur’s communication can affect how an entrepreneur approaches others and how the recipient deciphers the messages.

Business Communication and Technological Change
Being able to adapt to new communication technology will greatly benefit a new business’ progress by adding efficiency and ease to the workday. Entrepreneurs need to be familiar with technological software like email, video chat applications and online meeting websites.

 Communicating with consumers has greatly changed since the invention of the television and radio. Through technological change, social media has been introduced and developed as a top B2C tool. With over a billion active users on Facebook alone, it is no surprise that entrepreneurs thrive when social media is used effectively as a marketing tool. An entrepreneur must use their social media page correctly by following the three business communication strategies as mentioned above to ensure their messages are communicated properly to their audience.

 

Andrew Forgeron
Corporate Program Assistant 

 

Sources
Barriers to Effective Communication
Business To Business - B To B
Business To Consumer - B To C
How to Adapt the Way You Communicate to Different Situations
Three Steps to Effective Communication
What is Strategic Communications?

 






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Health Canada Approves Use of Stevia as a Sweetener in Nutritional Supplement Bars

Posted on December 08 2016 | Author: Admin

On August 24, Health Canada’s Food Directorate issued a Notice of Modification to Enable the Use of Steviol Glycosides (the active ingredient in stevia leaf extract) as a Sweetener in Nutritional Supplement Bars.

This is great news for the industry, as approval for stevia in various food products has lagged behind the US market for some time, with many customers wondering why low-calorie nutritional bars do not have stevia as an ingredient.

This also led to an unfair playing field in the industry, as Canadian manufacturers were limited in their choice of sweeteners to add to low-calorie Nutritional Supplement bars.

This Notice of Modification adds to expand the list of foods in Canada that can include steviol glycosides (stevia leaf extract) as a sweetener.

While the term is not in common use, Nutritional Supplements are a specific category of food within the Canadian Food and Drugs Regulations (FDR). They are located in FDR Division 24, Foods for Special Dietary Use, specifically in Section B.24.200.

While most consumers will not be familiar with this category as a distinct type of food, most people are aware of the concept of Meal Replacements. Meal Replacements are also found in Division 24 of the FDR. Up until now, Meal Replacements were allowed to use stevia, but Nutritional Supplements were not.

The two categories are quite similar in terms of compositional requirements of the products. The biggest differences are that Nutritional Supplements are permitted to have a lower total calorie count than Meal Replacements, and in addition they cannot be advertised as a replacement for a meal.  The easiest way for the general public to think of Nutritional Supplements is that they are a Low-Cal version of Meal Replacements.

 

Article provided by dicentra


About dicentra
dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

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A User’s Guide to Social Media Strategies

Posted on November 30 2016 | Author: Admin

In the past, it took 60 years for television to reach 1 billion households. In this generation, it only took 5 years for cellphones to reach the same amount of people. In today’s generation, the increase in cellphone users goes hand in hand with the use of social media platforms due to the growing amount of people who use their phone for the internet and social networking apps. Technology is growing rapidly, requiring consumers, and more importantly businesses, to grow with it. With 70% of the global population expected to have smartphones by 2020, it is imperative businesses are active on social media.

Social media can be a great tool for organizations to reach a large segment of their consumers, help them interact with users and uncover consumer needs. Two of the most popular social media platforms used by businesses are Twitter and Facebook. Each of these platforms has unique strategies and goals associated with it.

Twitter
Twitter focuses on 4 key pillars: public, conversational, real time and distributed information. Since each post is limited to 140 characters, Twitter is not about creating long, in-depth messages– it is about grabbing the users attention, being seen and engaging with the public multiple times a day.

Did you know that 80% of customer service requests come from Twitter?

It is important for businesses to interact with customers to identify needs, areas of improvement and to keep the “conversation going”. It is not often that people take their complaints into a store anymore; businesses should prioritize activity on the platforms that consumers favour and use to express their opinions.  This can assist with fostering customer satisfaction and even staying ahead of the competition.

Twitter is also a great place to keep up with current news and trends. If there is a specific issue that everyone is tweeting about – businesses should consider becoming a part of the conversation! Organizations can increase engagement when they express an opinion, encouraging their consumers to share their views as well. It also indicates to consumers that your organization is keeping up with current trends, news and is active on the platform.

Facebook
Facebook has changed significantly since its launch in 2004. It has grown from a standard image-sharing network to a marketing hub. Today, Facebook is populated with multiple advertisements, promotions, pages, interests and “likes” posted to your profile. This gives companies access to information that they have never been able to see before!

Consumers are able to “like” different company pages, share articles, videos and photos they enjoy as well as comment on all content circulating the platform. This has allowed users to become very interactive online and has created a space to share thoughts and opinions on practically anything. Since consumers can share information online so easily, Facebook is a great way for companies to utilize social marketing. By promoting your organization on Facebook, you allow people to easily share your content with their networks, who can then share with their networks and so on. With features that allow you to “like” and comment, it is easy for consumers to receive feedback and identify what pages their friends are “liking”, and thus, possibly influencing brand behaviour. 

A recent study found that trusted social media users play a larger role in purchase decisions than product manufactures/retailers – these users are often referred to as “influencers”. Consumers value other consumers’ opinions, which means that “influencers” can play a huge part in the marketing of a brand – especially on social media where more than half of the population is active!

By promoting your product on Facebook, it gives people the opportunity to share their interest in your product with their network and potentially promote it with the click of a button. “Likes” and positive comments can help enhance a brand’s reputation and help you promote your product or business.

Growing With Technology
The way consumers use technology has changed, making it extremely important for businesses to adapt and understand how consumers are engaging with it.  Since the invention of smartphones, consumers are using various social media apps to converse and share opinions online. This is the new way of communicating in today’s generation, making it essential for businesses to be part of social media and its communication platform.

Hopefully this post has provided you with more information on using social media across different platforms.

 

Rachael Piccoli Kuschke
Marketing & Events Assistant 

 

Sources
5 Social Media Metrics that Your Business Should be Tracking
70 Percent of Population Will Have Smartphones by 2020
Hootsuite Conference 2016
Impact of Social Influence in E-Commerce Decision Making

 

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Pixabay
 






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Are You Meeting FSMA Produce Safety Rule?

Posted on November 24 2016 | Author: Admin

The Produce Safety Rule (PSR) requires growers to initially establish a Microbial Water Quality Profile (MWQP) for each untreated surface agricultural water source used during growing activities of covered produce (other than sprouts).

The Produce Safety Rules (PSR) must be applied for each water source using a direct water application method and annual surveys must be conducted for that water source in subsequent years.

The water quality profile is based on the levels of generic E. coli in your agricultural water using 100mL sample sizes. The method of testing for generic E. coli must be conducted following U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 1603. Methods other than 1603 may be used but they must be scientifically valid and shown to be at least equivalent to EPA Method 1603 in accuracy, precision, and sensitivity.

Some experts have stated that testing water samples with 100mL sample size is not sufficient and may not detect pathogens if they are at very low levels.

Research led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is examining a new irrigation water sample collection and testing methods that are expected to enable better detection of pathogens and fecal organisms other than E.coli for irrigation water. Ultra filtration water sampling techniques seem to be offering better options for risk assessment. The technique involves robust filters with minute pours that can trap bacteria, parasites and viruses. A battery powered portable pump is used to filter water from rivers, lakes or ponds at rates of 2 to 4 liters per minute.

Agricultural water is defined in part “as water that is intended to, or likely to, contact the harvestable portion of covered produce or food-contact surfaces.”

Geometric Mean (GM): GM is essentially the average amount of generic E. coli in your water source. FSMA Produce Safety Rule criteria requires a GM at or below 126 E. coli CFU/100mL.

Statistical Threshold Value (STV): STV is a measure of variability of generic E. coli levels in your water source. In simple terms, it is the level where 90 percent of the samples (log values) are below the value. Produce Safety Rule requires an STV at or below 410 E. coli CFU/100mL.

CFU (colony forming units) is the estimate of bacterial concentration in your water per 100mL.

 

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra is a professional consulting firm that specializes in addressing all matters related to safety, quality and compliance for all product categories in the health sciences and food industries. We evaluate, implement, and provide all the necessary support for your products and operations to gain market access and build confidence in your brand. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

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The Growing Agri-Technology Industry

Posted on November 16 2016 | Author: Dave Smardon

Fourteen years have gone by since Bioenterprise first opened its doors. Back then, we were a very modest, three person operation, focusing on what little agricultural innovation that could be found; innovation that had gone beyond the applied research phase. Agriculture was a commodity-minded industry – much more so than today. There was no such thing as “agri-technology” or “agri-tech” back then and the movement towards agri-investment was still years away.  Governments were still completely focused on supporting research and the very idea of agricultural or food targeted accelerators, incubators, and clusters, was somewhere off in the future.

I am struck by the incredible difference we see today, from such a short time ago. I joined Bioenterprise in the summer of 2005 and all of the above was still very much true. A decade later and agriculture has been brought out of the shadows and into the mainstream. The First and foremost factor supporting this shift is the exponential growth in start-ups. Bioenterprise tracks start-up activity in our Innovation Portfolio and in our global database of companies. We list nearly 2,000 companies in thirty countries and this number is growing more rapidly than ever.

Not surprising, the leaders in agricultural innovation are countries that had the vision to support agriculture and food innovation a decade ago. The Netherlands, France, Brazil and the United States have become hotbeds for entrepreneurial activity. Of course, Israel always punches well above its weight and their output of start-up companies in agriculture is truly amazing. Countries like France and Brazil have invested $400 million in support of agricultural innovation and commercialization – and did so seven years ago. Today, they are reaping the benefits of their investments. Countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland can certainly hold their own but one must recognize that they represent a second tier. This is to be expected because they have invested less and for a much shorter period of time. But governments do get it now! They have tasted the kool-aid and are rapidly making investments in commercialization programs.

In just the past five years in the United States, we have seen the creation of Yield Lab, Agri-Tech East, Radical, and a new incubator at UC Davis. In Europe, new agricultural incubators are being formed in Norway, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark – just to name a few. Israel  has three! The United Kingdom established the Catalyst Fund and invested an additional £90 million to create agricultural innovation centres of excellence around the country. New Zealand and Ireland have recently established incubators – and I have barely touched the surface.  All of the aforementioned have an agricultural focus and the vast majority of these are, in some way, government supported.

In Canada, there are regional players like PEI BioAlliance, Innovacorp, and Ag-West Bio and then we have a national player in Bioenterprise. I think that it should be noted as a sidebar that British Columbia has assembled a commercialization eco-system to be admired and duplicated. (I look forward to discussing this in a future blog.)

As more and more accelerators and incubators spring up, some problems become very clear. First, many of them are regional players; basically economic development engines designed to build new businesses and attract others to their regions. The latter objective, (attracting businesses to a region) is incredibly difficult and should never be the burden of an accelerator or incubator.  It detracts from their most important objective; to build compelling and sustainable, new businesses.  Second, most are underfunded and lack the capacity and depth in resources to truly make a difference. Funding is often provided on a short-term basis and is subject to the whims of politicians and changes in government.  It is very difficult to build a critical mass of resources using that formula. The result is incubators that fall prey to the same dilemmas as the start-up companies they are trying to help. They end up being underfunded, under-resourced, and can only fade out of existence. They are not built for success. Third, agriculture and food are global industries. Start-up companies in these sectors require help on a much greater scale. They need access to markets, the experience of international executives and a global network that they can tap into for support. As a result, many of these commercialization groups will flounder.

Well, problems bring opportunities! Bioenterprise recently announced a strategic partnership with the Larta Institute in California. They are the only other agri-focused commercialization group with the history of success, pedigree, and breadth of resources similar to Bioenterprise. Together, we represent the largest agri-acceleration capacity in the world! And our organizations intend to capitalize on this unique position. While the details are still being ironed out, I think it can be said that this is only the beginning. It is through partnerships and collaborations between accelerators and incubators, regardless of their geography, that will provide the capacity and resources to truly make a difference… globally! And yes, the raison d’être for each of us can never be ignored but the leverage and global opportunities are so compelling.

As more and more commercialization organizations are created, there is a ground swell of new interest coming from multi-nationals and investors alike. Hopefully, more globally focused commercialization can present them with a smorgasbord of start-up companies and innovative technologies.

Yes, the landscape looks nothing like it did a decade ago, and the degree of change continues to accelerate. The future looks very bright indeed!

 

Dave Smardon
President & CEO 






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Mandatory GE-food labelling coming to the USA Part 1

Posted on November 09 2016 | Author: Admin

Read Mandatory GE-food labelling coming to the USA Part 1 from International Food Focus Ltd.’s President, Carol Culhane.  

 

©2016 International Food Focus Ltd., 211 Carlton Street, East Office, Toronto, ON M5A 2K9 E: focus@foodfocus.on.ca
Food Fax is archived at www.foodfocus.on.ca 






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Merger in Big Agriculture

Posted on November 02 2016 | Author: Alexander Lazier

$66 billion is the price agreed upon in the largest all-cash acquisition in history. In September of 2016, Bayer the German agrochemical giant, reached a deal after months of deliberations to acquire the American seed company, Monsanto. Outpours of public concern followed as the deal would result in history’s largest seed and agriculture company.

Lets look at the facts:

The total revenue produced by Monsanto in 2015 was $15 billion, while Bayer as a corporation produced $46 billion and its subsidiary Bayer CropScience, $12 billion. The acquisition of Monsanto will provide Bayer with 24 percent of the world’s pesticides, 29 percent of its seeds and 70 percent of the cottonseed market.

Public Concerns
A preliminary concern is that Bayer Crop Science dominates the agrochemical/pesticide industry, while Monsanto leads global seed production. An acquisition therefore is not consolidation of like-businesses, but rather a move for full supply-chain control, more aptly known as vertical integration.

Vertical integration of the two largest companies in their respective fields has strong potential to curb competition and thus increase the probability of price gouging. Although agricultural yields have increased over the years, so have crop prices. Therefore, the potential for price gouging poses large risks in keeping global crop prices elevated, which would have strong effects on related industries.

Lastly, the acquisition will leave farmers facing a duopoly in seed: Bayer/Monsanto and, Syngenta/ChemChina and an additional duopoly in chemicals: Dow/Dupont and Bayer/Monsanto.

Company Reassurances
Bayer and Monsanto have attempted to eliminate the negative buzz by outlining the positive benefits of the acquisition. Primarily, merging two businesses with differing expertise will facilitate faster, more effective R&D in the production of environmentally robust seeds, which are crucial to pest aversion and drought resistance as the world’s population skyrockets. With an annual R&D budget of $2.8 billion, the acquisition is hoping to advance seed research exponentially.

Additionally, as large regulatory hurdles must be passed to introduce novel biotechnology to the market, it is difficult for anyone but large players to compete. The unpredictable and lengthy process encourages consolidation and pushes for vertical integration, as it would be inefficient to do otherwise.

U.S. Government Reactions
The U.S. Senate has responded to the acquisition by assigning both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to an investigation to ensure that the acquisition will not substantially lessen smaller scale competition.

Industry Reactions
The agriculture industry responded with mixed opinions. If Bayer is true to their claims, the acquisition will create an advanced seed landscape with an increased profile of products that will increase yield and minimizing losses. However, other growers remain skeptical and believe company-centered values and price hikes will eventually be the reality.

Wherever the public stands on this acquisition, the consequences will not begin to appear clear for months, if not years. While concern is indisputably warranted, the potential for great agricultural gains are equally at play. It is up to time to tell whether this potential will be met.  

 

Alexander Lazier
Junior Analyst, Agricultural Technologies

 

Sources
Monsanto brand name may get the circular file in proposed Bayer acquisition
Monsanto's latest acquisition could send food prices soaring
Why our food would be in danger from a Bayer-Monsanto merger

 

Photo
University of Wisconsin-Extension

 

 






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FDA Addresses Nutrition Label Issue for Small Amounts of Nutrients and Dietary Ingredients in Finalized Guidance Document

Posted on October 27 2016 | Author: Admin

As of the beginning of July 2016, the FDA has finalized the draft guidance document (originally drafted and released for consultation at the end of July 2015) on its policy about Nutrition Labels and how small quantities of nutrients and dietary ingredients should be declared by food and dietary supplement manufacturers.

The finalized guidance document acknowledges the conflict that sometimes may arise when being in compliance with two distinct sections of regulations and which regulation takes precedence in the discretion of the FDA. The two sections of FDA regulations (both from Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations [21 CFR] 101.9) where compliance could potentially be mutually exclusive are:

  • 21 CFR 101.9(c)(1)-(8): These regulations describe the nutrition-labelling requirements in declaring the nutrient values in a serving of conventional food. It specifies that in declaring nutrients, specific “rounding” rules have to be applied, where the stated value has to be to a distinct increment (ex. the quantitative amount of total fat present at 5 g or less must be rounded to the nearest 0.5 increment).  This regulation also specifies how the FDA tests for compliance to these values.
  • 21 CFR 101.9(g)(4)(ii) and (5): These regulations describe the compliance requirements for declaring dietary ingredients and nutrients in nutrition labelling.  These compliance provisions (sometimes referred to as the “20-20” rule) describes a product to be misbranded under the following two conditions:
    1. The amount of a naturally present vitamin, mineral, protein, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, other carbohydrate, polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat or potassium is less than 80% of the value for that nutrient declared on the label (21 CFR 101.9(g)(4)(ii)).
    2. The amount of calories, sugars, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium is more than 120% of the declared value for that nutrient (21 CFR 101.9(g)(5).

The conflicting values for a nutrient can arise when small quantities of nutrients have to be declared.  The rounding requirements under 101.9(c)(1)-(8) may result in a value being declared that exceeds the 20% deviation permitted in 101.9(g)(4)(ii) and (5).  An example would be a food containing 0.70 g of saturated fat per serving.  The quantity that should be declared according to 101.9(c)(2)(i) would be  0.5 g.  However this declaration would not comply with § 101.9(g)(5) because 0.70 g is more than 20 percent in excess of 0.5 g.

The FDA’s resolution  (“to be applied to all products in a consistent way” ) is based on the rationale that as the FDA’s nutrition labelling requirements in 21 CFR 101.9(c)(1)-(8) specifies the increments and units of measure for declaring nutrient values while 21 CFR 101.9(g)(4)(ii) and (5) does not, the “FDA considers it more practical and consistent” for manufacturers to follow paragraph (c)(1)-(8) when a conflict occurs between 21 CFR 101.9(c)(1)-(8) and 21 CFR 101.9(g)(4)(ii) and (5).

 

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article. 






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Bioenterprise and Women in Agriculture

Posted on October 19 2016 | Author: Jennifer Kalanda

Earlier this month, members from the Bioenterprise team attended the Advancing Women in Ag Conference in Toronto, Ontario.  It was the second Annual event in Toronto and the fourth across Canada.  Our team learned of this event last year and had since heard several positive reviews, determining that this event could be a great opportunity for several of us at Bioenterprise.

The conference was sold out and the banquet room was filled with more than 400 women from the entire value chain of agriculture.  Several topics and studies presented revealed that throughout agriculture, the industry is heavily dominated by men, and even more so, in executive level positions.  The conference also presented personal and professional development opportunities.  I personally found the presentations about leadership and time management to be my most valuable take-aways from the event. 

Some of the speakers discussed the importance of reducing barriers for women in agriculture, the challenges that lie ahead to do so, and the importance of inviting both genders to contribute to the conversation.  This discussion also stood out to me and fostered a sense of pride as an employee of Bioenterprise.

Bioenterprise was formed in 2003, with one office location and a very small team.  Bioenterprise has grown significantly since then – now with six office locations across Canada, nineteen full-time employees and two part-time positions.  We are even currently looking to fill two additional full-time openings on our team!

Our team has grown a lot, but what is interesting to note is how many of our positions are held by women.  Twenty-one employees total and THIRTEEN of them are women!  We also have two extremely well established women serving on our Board of Directors.

Some of my female colleagues and I have been with Bioenterprise for several years.  For the most part, we started out new to our roles or the industry itself, but we have been fortunate enough to receive the necessary support and opportunities to grow as professionals.  Dave Smardon, President & CEO, takes an active role in identifying areas for growth and then provides us with the tools to do so.  We have all been promoted or have advanced at Bioenterprise, demonstrating that gender just doesn’t seem to be a barrier within our organization.

The issues discussed at the Advancing Women in Ag Conference were certainly not lost on me and I truly learned a lot – but I am also proud to be a part of an organization that seems to be setting a positive standard.  

 

Jennifer Kalanda
Marketing Manager

 






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Food Fax

Posted on October 14 2016 | Author: Admin

 

Read the lasted Food Fax newsletter from International Food Focus Ltd.’s President, Carol Culhane.  

 

©2016 International Food Focus Ltd., 211 Carlton Street, East Office, Toronto, ON M5A 2K9 E: focus@foodfocus.on.ca
Food Fax is archived at www.foodfocus.on.ca 






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WHO Cares About Food Safety: Red Meat

Posted on October 13 2016 | Author: Admin

It was only last October that the World Health Organization (WHO) announced, based on a report from the International Agency of Cancer Research (IACR), that processed meats and red meats were carcinogenic.

The WHO, however, did not attempt to establish the degree of risk to the public or the actual nature of the risk. While they did assign an IACR Group 1 classification to processed meats and an IACR Group 2A classification to red meats, it is important to remember that a “group” simply refers to the weight of evidence available to support the carcinogenic designation; not to the actual level of risk involved.

It is not clear, therefore, if or to what degree the risks involved can be mitigated (for example, if they can be lessened by avoiding high temperature cooking or by avoiding certain methods of preservation). As a result, and as expected, sales of processed and red meats declined immediately following the announcement. What is perhaps surprising is that within just a few weeks, sales of such meats began to return to normal, as reported in a March 2016 Global News broadcast. The reasons for such a rebound may vary – perhaps people have short term memories, perhaps they began to doubt the WHO’s findings, perhaps they decided that the health benefits of such meats to outweigh the risks, or perhaps they find such meats too delicious to give up.

Of course, the potential risks should not be so readily dismissed. Estimates of cancer deaths, based on independent research conducted by the Global Burden of Disease Project, due to diets high in processed meats are about 34,000 worldwide per year, while those attributed to diets high in red meat are estimated at 50,000 per year. On the other hand, putting this into perspective, the number of deaths worldwide per year due to ingesting contaminated foods is about 420000, with 40% of those being children under the age of 5, and an additional 500 million+  individuals falling ill each year (according to the WHO’s own statistics).

While in the case of meats it is still unclear how to mitigate the overall risks, in the case of food contamination we do know how risks can be reduced and avoided.  This involves observing simple food safety practices throughout the supply chain, from the sourcing of raw materials to the dinner table. For consumers at home, this means proper handling, refrigeration, and cooking of foods. For industry, this means implementing HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and adopting effective food safety programs.

Were producers, suppliers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers to take food safety more seriously and adopt simple but effective measures towards preventing contamination and adulteration, the global food supply would be far safer than were the WHO to declare an outright global ban of red meats.


Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article. 






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Proposed amendments to Canadian corporate and competition laws

Posted on October 11 2016 | Author: Admin

A bill amending the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA), the Competition Act and federal cooperatives and not-for-profit legislation was tabled for first reading in the Canadian parliament on September 28, 2016. The changes proposed (the Amendments) are intended to ensure that Canada continues to have a modern economic framework that allows federally regulated corporations to operate flexibly and innovatively. The Amendments are further intended to increase shareholder democracy and participation while reducing the burden of regulation.

CBCA amendments

Election of Directors

  • directors of public CBCA corporations will be required to be elected on an individual and annual basis. Currently the CBCA allows directors to be elected by slate and for up to a three-year term.
  • the Amendments introduce majority voting for the election of directors of public corporations where there is only one candidate nominated for each position available on the board. Each nominee must receive a majority of votes to be elected. If a nominee does not receive a majority of votes, he or she may not be appointed a director before the next shareholders’ meeting at which directors are elected.
  • the Amendments regarding election of directors bring the CBCA substantially in line with the requirements of the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). There will be prescribed exemptions for certain corporations from these requirements.  

Shareholder Communications

  • “notice-and-access” allows the notice of a shareholders’ meeting and access to related documentation to be delivered electronically. While securities legislation was amended in 2013 to introduce notice-and-access, the current provisions of the CBCA are not entirely compatible with the full use of notice-and-access by federal corporations. The Amendments, if enacted, will facilitate the use of notice-and-access by federal corporations.
  • the Amendments will simplify the time frame for a shareholder to submit proposals to a federal corporation by introducing a prescribed period for submission.

Women on Boards of Directors and in Management
To support the representation of women on the boards of directors and in senior management of federal corporations, it has been announced that the Amendments will require distributing corporations to include disclosure regarding gender diversity among their directors and senior managers. This will bring the CBCA in line with Canadian securities regulations pursuant to which TSX-listed issuers are currently required to make such disclosure on a “comply or explain” basis.

Transparency
The Amendments clarify that all shares and warrants of CBCA corporations must be in registered rather than bearer form to increase transparency.

Competition Act amendments
The definition of “affiliate” in the Competition Act is proposed to be amended to reflect a broader range of non-corporate bodies such as trusts, partnerships and other unincorporated entities by referring to entities rather than corporations.

Other legislation
The bill also proposes amendments to the Canada Cooperatives Act (CCA) and the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (NFP), which statutes are based on the CBCA. The Amendments to the CCA include changes regarding election of directors, transparency and shareholder communication described above. The Amendments to the NFP are largely of a technical nature.

Next steps
Regulations that will provide details of the Amendments and their application are pending. Further in its announcement of the Amendments, the federal government stated that there are important corporate governance issues that were raised in the 2014 public consultation on the CBCA by the government that require further analysis and consultation. Further changes to the CBCA may be coming.

More information to come
For more information on this development, please access the Government of Canada’s Backgrounder and FAQs.

 

Tracey Kernahan
Senior Knowledge Lawyer, Norton Rose Fulbright

 

Article provided by Norton Rose Fulbright

 

About Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice that provides the world's pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers share food and agribusiness sector knowledge and experience across provincial and national borders, enabling them to support their clients anywhere in the world. To learn more about Norton Rose Fulbright, please visit www.nortonrosefulbright.com

 

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How to choose the right food & beverage co-packer

Posted on October 05 2016 | Author: Alexandra Coccari

Are you an entrepreneur in the food and beverage space? Is there an established market for your product? If so, you have probably considered scaling-up production to meet the consumer demand for your product. This can be done in one of two ways: investing and manufacturing the product in-house or outsourcing production through a contract manufacturer, otherwise known as a co-packer.

Many start-up food and beverage companies utilize co-packing facilities for a number of reasons. Some of the benefits include a lower production cost, increased efficiency, having the expertise of an experienced manufacturer on-site, and most importantly, cutting the costs of equipment and other capital purchases.

Choosing a co-packing facility may seem like a daunting task; however, creating a plan of attack will ease this process. There are a number of things to consider before deciding what co-packing facility is right for your company. The following are some tips and factors to consider before navigating the co-packing industry.

Establish your production process and needs. Understanding every detail of your production process is crucial when deciding which co-packing facility to choose. Where will you source the ingredients for your product? Does the facility have the equipment you need? Where will you source packaging materials? Does the facility have available storage space? These are just a few of the questions you should be ready to answer when seeking out the right co-packer. The more you know about your manufacturing process, the smoother the production run will be.

Consider manufacturing costs. It is extremely important to ensure that choosing to outsource the manufacturing of your product is not only efficient, but is often financially beneficial. A number of co-packing facilities have a minimum order quantity for each production run. If your start-up company is looking to do a smaller production run, it is likely that you will be charged a premium fee, which may not be feasible. On the other hand, manufacturing too much of a product in order to avoid these fees may be detrimental if you cannot sell it before the expiry date.

Confirm food safety and quality assurance policies. In addition to cleanliness and sufficient organization, it is imperative to ensure that proper safety and quality assurance policies are in place. Deciding which certifications that will appear on your product label will narrow down the co-packing facilities that are suitable for your company. Food safety certifications such as HACCP, GMP, and SQF will contribute to the quality of your product and reduce the risk of contamination. If your product requires any front-of-package certifications such as Organic, Kosher, Halal or Gluten-Free, confirm that the co-packing facility is capable of meeting these regulations.

Leverage any additional services offered. A number of co-packing facilities offer services designed to accelerate start-up companies. Many of the innovation-focused co-packing facilities will offer R&D services, including recipe development to very early-stage companies. If your company lacks in the marketing and branding development, a co-packer who offers such services would be very valuable and may save your company both money and time.

Do your research. Once you have narrowed your list of potential co-packing facilities, you should then conduct preliminary background research. What clients have they worked with in the past? Do these past clients give the facility good reviews? These are some of the questions that can be answered by asking the co-packer for a list of current clients and contacting them. This may make it easier to determine what working with the co-packer would be like.

The factors listed above are just a few considerations to review before choosing a co-packing facility. Co-packing facilities can help accelerate the growth of your company. Once you have identified and chosen a suitable co-packer, a contract outlining the details of your partnership should be drafted.  This will protect your product and may benefit your business in the long run.

Co-packing facilities are great resources for start-up food and beverage companies. Having a clear vision and a trusting relationship with your co-packer can lead to your company’s success. By leveraging the services offered, you could save valuable time and money.

 

Alexandra Coccari  
Junior Analyst, Food & Food Systems

 

Sources
5 things to consider when selecting a co-packer   
Three main steps to choosing a co-packer  
4 tips for scaling your food start-up with a co-packer  
How to choose the right co-packer for your supply chain needs

Photo 
Pixabay






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The Growing Safety Concern of Alpha Lipoic Acid and Hypoglycemia

Posted on September 29 2016 | Author: Admin

The Growing Safety Concern of Alpha Lipoic Acid and Hypoglycemia:
Marketed Health Products Directorate Issues ALA Summary Safety Review

August 08, 2016 Marketed Health Products Directorate provides Summary Safety Review for Alpha Lipoic Acid.

In an effort to increase transparency and consumer safety, Health Canada’s Marketed Health Products Directorate published a Summary Safety Review (SSR) on Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) on June 30, 2016. ALA is a medicinal ingredient generally used, in Natural Health Products (NHPs), as an antioxidant for the maintenance of good health and to help promote healthy glucose metabolism. ALA can also be used in NHPs, as a non-medicinal ingredient, with a preservative function. To date, Health Canada has licensed more than 800 NHPs containing ALA as a medicinal ingredient.

The Health Canada SSR issuance on ALA was prompted by reported international cases of Insulin Autoimmune Disorder (IAS) considered to be linked to the use of ALA containing products. IAS, also known as Hirata disease, is a rare case of serious and spontaneous Hypoglycemia. It is characterized by extremely low blood glucose, and extremely high insulin and insulin autoantibody levels. Current evidence suggests exposure to certain sulfhydryl-containing oral drugs such as ALA, in individuals with specific genetic predispositions, can induce Hypoglycemia and increase the risk of IAS. The reported cases demonstrate Hypoglycemia resolution following discontinuation of ALA oral consumption. At the time of the review, no Canadian cases of Hypoglycemia were reported as a result of ALA oral use. It is however unknown how prevalent the suspected genetic predisposition may be in the diverse Canadian population.

As a result of the SSR findings, Health Canada is looking into updating the ALA labelling standard risk information to inform consumers to discontinue product use and consult a healthcare professional if they experience symptoms indicative of Hypoglycemia (sweating, paleness, chills, headache, dizziness and/or confusion). Health Canada has also committed to publish a Health Product InfoWatch article to raise awareness of this potential risk and continue to monitor safety information involving ALA.


Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article. 






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Management vs. Leadership: A middle manager’s perspective

Posted on September 21 2016 | Author: Jessica Bowes

The organizational structure of a company largely depends on the nature and size of the business. With innovation at the core, entrepreneurial businesses need to promote regular interaction and communication among its internal teams, regardless of how it’s structured, in order to follow through on the founder’s vision for success. For start-ups and early stage businesses that are too small to departmentalize, management resources must be maximized.

Companies need leaders
There’s a fine line between management and leadership, but there is a difference. Managers plan, organize and coordinate whereas leaders should inspire and motivate.  A successful entrepreneur needs to be both a strong leader and manager.

Strong leaders put others ahead of themselves, and the team ahead of everyone.  They make their expectations clear, even when it’s uncomfortable. They push people outside of their comfort zones. And, they hold people accountable while empowering them to learn and grow.

True leadership is like an inverted pyramid, where an entire organization relies on a single leader to support their efforts by providing vision and strategic guidance. This becomes particularly important once your business grows and you hire new staff to carry out your vision for the company.

Leadership and management must go hand-in-hand

“Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.”

-- Steve Jobs

As a manager, your duty is to implement company strategy in the most efficient way. You’re also responsible for creating an effective working environment, administrating the work process in compliance with organization’s requirements, leading people, and reporting to the highest level of management.

Functions of the role can typically be divided into 3 main categories, all of which can be profoundly impacted by the person’s leadership skills: Technical, Human Resources and Strategic.

Technical:
In the agri-technology sector, there is almost always an element of technical understanding required to manufacture, market or sell a product or service. Education and/or training of staff in this capacity may then play a significant part of the managerial role.  Relationships with staff that are built through patience, creativity, and supportive collaboration are indicative of good technical leadership.

Human resources:
Managers are also responsible for administering day-to-day routines, monitoring performance and making sure everything is done in compliance with company’s needs. One of the most important functions, directly associated with operational leadership, is motivating and inspiring staff to perform well. This also includes building a cohesive team and supporting team members when necessary.

Strategic:
Strategic functions of a manager may involve analyzing a group in terms of productivity and financial effectiveness, creating a strategy to improve the current situation and reporting to executive management.  Strong strategic leadership is grounded in understanding the relationship between the company and its environment, then thinking, acting and influencing the team to promote success. Strategic leadership is not limited as a task for a few top executives, but is needed throughout the company.

Every employee has the opportunity to lead
Fostering an environment where people feel empowered, appreciated, and genuinely happy to be part of the team will not only allow employees to shape and create their own futures, it will create career progression opportunities for employees to adapt, innovate and ultimately lead your company to success.

 

Jessica Bowes
Manager, Business & Technology Analyst Group

 

Sources 
Management vs Leadership: Five Ways They Are Different
The End of Middle Managers (And Why They’ll Never Be Missed)
The Three Strengths of a True Strategic Leader

 






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FSMA is Not Just Coming… FSMA is HERE!

Posted on September 15 2016 | Author: Admin

It’s been 5 years since you’ve first started hearing about looming FSMA deadlines. Now that the first deadline for 2016 has arrived, its time for you to understand how this will impact your business.

If your business is simply a retail or restaurant establishment, you initially may feel untouched by this legislation.  This assumption, however, may be very untrue.  Although FSMA is geared to food growers, manufacturers and distributors, businesses in other sectors that are not legally required to comply will still be impacted.  A supplier of ingredients to retail and restaurant business is fully impacted and so as a result, this will inevitably have an impact on all business not directly captured by the law.

It’s quite obvious that one of the main intentions of the new law is to give legislators at FDA more power to regulate and enforce.  The ultimate goal is to shift food industries from a reaction mode to a prevention mode. This shift will initially appear to be very costly and labor intensive, but the reduction in food safety incidents leading to recalls will outweigh all initial costs.

The first FSMA deadlines related to compliance to Preventative Controls for Human and Animal Feed are outlined below:

September 2016: Companies with more than 500 full-time employees
September 2017: Companies with fewer than 500 employees
September 2018: Companies with less than $1 million in average annual sales

Under FSMA each site will be required to have a “Preventative Control Qualified Individual” (PCQI).  A PCQI is required to have successfully completed training in the development and application of risk –based preventative controls.  This individual is responsible for:

  • Performing or overseeing the preparation of the food plan
  • Validating the preventative controls
  • Reviewing records for implementation and effectiveness of preventative controls
  • Appropriateness of corrective actions
  • Managing the required reanalysis of a food safety plant every three years or whenever changes occur

Being FSMA ready will mean moving from HACCP to HARPC as reviewed in previous articles.  While HACCP involves Critical Control Points (CCPs), HARPC involves controls that are not CCPs.

Supply chain control is essential and is obvious from the Foreign Supplier Verification Program.  This program has compliance deadlines in 2017, but has a huge impact on ingredients and foods coming into the U.S. from outside the country.

In order to import food from foreign suppliers, importers need to ensure they have:

#1. Determined known or reasonably foreseeable hazards with each food they are handling
#2. Evaluated the risk posed of the food they are importing based on the hazard analysis, and the foreign supplier’s performance
#3. Used the risk evaluation connected to the food and the supplier’s performance to approve suppliers and determine appropriate supplier verification activities
#4. Conducted supplier verification activities
#5. Conducted corrective actions

Since importers are responsible for their own food safety plans, they are expected to reevaluate these plans every three years. This involves conducting a Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls, or HARPC assessment on each item of food being imported, and verifying each supplier being used. Importers are also responsible for keeping detailed records of all data and analyses.

Under the Third Party Certification rule, FDA will be choosing accreditation bodies to implement the certification of qualified organizations who will confirm that the requirements of FSMA are being met.

This rule establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of third party certification bodies, also known as auditors, to conduct food safety audit and issue certification of foreign facilities and the food for humans and animals they produce.  These certifications may be used by importers to establish eligibility for participation in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) which offers expedited review and entry of food.  To prevent potentially harmful food from reaching U.S. consumers, the FDA can also require in specific circumstances that a food offered for import is accompanied by a certification from an accredited third party certification body.

This article has not dealt with every aspect of the FSMA requirements, but it will hopefully give you an understanding of the areas in your business that need to change in order to come into compliance with the new expectations.


Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article. 






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Business Networking: Tips and Results for Sustainable Growth.

Posted on September 01 2016 | Author: Admin

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.
Margaret Fuller
(1810-1850, Journalist, Critic and Women’s Rights Activist)

Expanding your networks and building strategic partnerships play an integral role in successful and sustainable growth, especially in today’s society. The new economy - also called the digital economy has had, and continues to have, a remarkable impact on businesses and how they are creating awareness amongst others.

Nowadays, growing and maintaining business relationships have become much simpler thanks to technological advancements like cell phones or GoToMeeting and social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Building a network for your business is an important way to leverage different assets, create exposure, and ultimately learn in a mutually beneficial manor.

Pre-Networking
Prior to engaging in networking activities, it’s important to understand your strengths, weaknesses and what you are trying to gain from this experience. For example, if you are excellent at carrying conversations and enjoy large groups of people, consider participating in larger networking events, conferences or trade shows. If you are more the one-on-one type, meeting for coffee or smaller seminars may be more suitable for you to begin.

Take advantage of the different social platforms effectively, and make networking more efficient. For example, webinars are virtual learning sessions you can attend with others on a specific area of interest. These can be useful for a quick lunch-break networking. Another technological advancement that has impacted networking is GoToMeeting or conference programs via the Internet to communicate with people in different cities or even across the world. This makes it easy to decrease travel costs and increase connectivity.

Before choosing your networking event, it’s also important to take into consideration and determine the value in attending. What would you like to gain from this experience? Make new connections? Keep up to date on the latest industry trends? Strengthen existing relationships?

Here are several suggestions to consider, prior to engaging in a networking event:

  1. Research the organizations and key players who are attending. It demonstrates you’re prepared and keen to become connected. This can also help identify shared areas of interest, making it effortless to carry out a conversation. This can be done simply through searching LinkedIn profiles or company websites that contain employee information. After all, the information is there to be read!
  2. Make sure you’ve read about the event and know the details: time, place, what you should bring etc. It’s never a good feeling to be rushed or arrive late.
  3. Be prepared! Bring business cards, company handouts, pens, a notebook, etc. It is strongly recommended to prepare ahead of time, and decrease your chances of forgetting something.
  4. Dress to impress. This is an obvious one however there are always a few people who tend to overlook dress codes. Remember that it’s better to be slightly over dressed than under dressed. To simplify: Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. –Rachel Zoe
  5. Consider preparing a list of people you’d like to talk to, questions or topics you may wish to discuss or what it is you want to gain from the event.
  6. Don’t go into a conversation expecting something. The best interactions are genuine and on the basis of goodwill. 
  7. Be kind, polite and sincere to everyone because you never know who could be joining in on a conversation or passing by.
  8. Keep an open mind. Opportunities arise quickly and you never know whom you’re going to meet or how you may be able to help one another.
  9. Make sure you’re rested! Sleep is obviously very important.  

Let the Networking Begin
When you’ve reached your networking event, it’s always important to be alert and aware. You don’t want to miss out on any potential opportunities. Keep your goals in mind and if necessary, take frequent breaks to ensure you’re on track.

Try to avoid hesitation when intimidated by someone you wish to speak with. We all can learn from one another so take the opportunity to seek what you are looking for, stay optimistic and keep your head up. Don’t forget to hand out your business cards or information and vice versa. Collecting others information will help with the follow-ups. Go for it and take a few risks! 

Post-Networking
Post-networking is crucial for truly harnessing those relationships. This is the time for follow-ups and next steps. It’s important to make the effort to email or call the connections you’ve made to thank them for their time or ask any additional questions. This can further open the relationship up to future interactions and opportunities for collaboration. Add your new connections on LinkedIn to broaden your network and to stay in touch through a social media platform targeted specifically towards networking!

The benefits from networking are very helpful to sustainably grow your company. These outcomes can benefit you in a range of ways. You could meet investors who show interest in your company, professionals who want to join your team or even gain new clients. You will also continue to grow and learn as an individual. While all of this is happening, you are simultaneously creating exposure and establishing a reputable image for you and your company!

So my advice to you is to keep calm and network on!


Elisha Amar
Corporate Program Assistant


Sources
5 reasons networking is necessary for start-ups
Business quotes for sharing knowledge
Tom Farley networking tips

Photo
Pixabay






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Category Specific Guidance Finalized: Temporary Marketing Authorization for Supplemented Food

Posted on August 31 2016 | Author: Admin

Supplemented Food guidance document has been finalized by the Food Directorate with an extension for Supplemented Food TMAL holders

In addition to the Caffeinated Energy Drink (CED) guidance document that was finalized in 2013, the Food Directorate has published the long awaited final Temporary Marketing Authorization for Supplemented Food Guidance Document this past February. This guidance document has been long awaited by both companies currently developing new formulations, since it provides guidance on acceptable quantities of vitamins and minerals that may be added to a supplemented food, but also by companies whom currently hold TMALs set to expire August 31, 2016.


A few interesting highlights of this new guide are as follows:

  • Definition: Supplemented food has been defined as “a pre-packaged product that is manufactured, sold or represented as a food, which contains added vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbal or bioactive ingredients. These ingredients may perform a physiological role beyond the provision of nutritive requirements.” A key point here is that it is now permissible to submit a product through the TMA process that contains only herbal or bioactive ingredients (with no vitamin or mineral fortification) for review. Additionally, the guide provides a subset of novel ingredients that are being permitted in the TMA pathway as per Appendix 2 of this guidance document, see more on this below.
  • Extension: TMALs set to expire on August 31, 2016 have received an extension to comply with the new guide until February 22, 2017. Although to maintain market access beyond February 22, 2017 you must be compliant with this guide, as well as any other applicable Food and Drug Regulations provisions and provide an updated copy of the TMA and label with a letter outlining the revisions to the formula by August 31, 2016. Acceptable products will then be extended until December 31, 2021.
  • 2 Pathway system: Supplemented foods will now be categorized into a pathway system based on the potential for adverse effects. In short the 2 pathways are as follows:
    • Path 1 – Intended for a general subpopulation (children ≥4 years old) with maximum levels of addition of ingredients based on a per serving
    • Path 2 – Intended for a subpopulation  ≥14 years old with maximum levels of addition of ingredients based on a per day. This pathway will also have a threshold for vitamin and mineral fortification which when exceed will trigger specific cautionary labelling statements.
  • Revision to vitamins and minerals not accepted for addition: Consistent with the feedback that Health Canada provided in several regulatory sessions, they have amended the list of ingredients not permitted for addition. Importantly calcium and manganese have been removed from this section and are now permitted in Path 2 (products not intended for children) supplemented food products in quantities specified in this guide.
  • Novel Ingredients: Appendix 2 of this guidance document has now been populated with specific novel ingredients that are eligible for consideration in a supplemented food product. Although, it is worth noting that when an ingredient from this Appendix is added, the Food Directorate cannot commit to the timelines outlined in their performance standards guidance document, and it could delay the TMAL significantly.
  • Unique Identifier: No definitive guidance has been provided yet, but Health Canada has indicated that they are exploring the possibility of a front-of-pack identifier on the label of supplemented foods so that consumers can easily identify them. Health Canada has currently developed several options, which have not yet been disclosed, and will test them with consumers.
  • Market Research Protocol (MRP): For companies that have already received TMALs they may be aware that they are required to provide data in the form of a MRP on their product to address data gaps to aid in the development of specific regulations for supplemented foods. While TMAL holders of Caffeinated Energy Drinks have been advised that they are expected to prepare a MRP and collect data in accordance with this protocol, supplemented food holders had not yet been advised that they must begin this requirement. Once a TMAL holder of a supplemented food receives their final extension, as discussed above, they will be advised of their expected research requirements to fulfil this obligation in their Letter of Agreement.

In summary, the finalized Supplemented Food guidance document is an overdue, appreciated guidance regarding the requirements of a fortified food (outside of foods that are already permitted to be fortified in the Food and Drug Regulations). This guidance should help many companies develop unique and novel products that have a legal path to market without worry of Health Canada reformulation requests.
 

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article. 


 






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The New Age of Advertising

Posted on August 24 2016 | Author: Admin

Facebook, Twitter and many other channels have millions of users, so why not take advantage?

Social media advertising is dramatically shaking up the marketing industry. With lower costs, higher returns and available reporting metrics, it seems obvious why countless organizations are focusing on this outlet. Social media advertising allows you to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time.

The most revolutionary and unique aspect of social media advertising is the number of target selections available to focus on a specific group of individuals. Below are just a few examples of the possible target options:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Education
  • Interests
  • Friends
  • Relationship Status
  • Actions Taken
  • Occupation
  • Location
  • Friends of Friends
  • Job Title



Advertising budgets can go a long way over social media. With the benefit of spending as much or as little as you’d like, it helps enhance the quality and reach of your campaigns, to promote your brand to the right audience. Primarily, targeted advertisements should be your focus, but also note that it is important to create blanket-marketing messages that appeal to a wider group of people as well.


Determine An Outcome
Before creating your campaign; outline your goals and objectives to best tailor your advertisement. Monitor and analyze the channel’s metrics frequently to determine if these goals are being met.

The three most important metrics are below and they display how your campaign is performing:

  • Click through rate (CTR): Measures the number of clicks on your advertisement VS. the number of impressions received (clicks divided by impressions). This shows how relevant your content is to your audience as well as traffic quality. Higher is better.
  • Conversion Rate: Tracking the landing page visits from your campaign provides an idea of the quality of clicks it is receiving, which can help to better develop content for future campaigns. Calculate by dividing conversions by number of clicks. Higher is better.
  • Cost Per Conversion (CPC): Each campaign should have a clear goal or call-to-action (ex. Newsletter signups, sales, web traffic, etc.). To calculate the return on investment of your goal, divide the amount of money spent by the number of conversions (provided in your metrics). This assesses your campaign’s profitability and also helps determine a potential future budget. Lower is better.


Choose A Channel
Each platform offers various tools and reporting outcomes. Therefore, analyzing which is the most appropriate for your marketing objectives is essential for success.

Facebook

  • Pro: Facebook is a great option for small businesses because it has the largest audience and can easily boost visibility for the company and its advertisements. Also, it has many targeting options such as: gender, location, education, workplace and relationship status that help reach the right individuals more accurately.
  • Con: Compared to other channels, Facebook provides minimal information for reporting on the performance of your campaigns.
  • Cost: This is one of the most cost effective channels, with the option to spend as little as $1 per day.

Twitter

  • Pro: Twitter has the target option to reach people based on their current interests. Using hashtags helps target the advertisements more specifically, similar to Google Adwords.
  • Con: Despite the convenience of hasthags, other Twitter advertising options do not offer the same ease, with a limited selection of targets to choose from.
  • Cost: There are three different options, but the most frequent and least expensive is promoting tweets.  For approximately $0.5-$2.00 per engagement (retweet, favourite, click, etc.), you can boost the reach of a tweet you wish to promote.

LinkedIn

  • Pro: The best aspect of LinkedIn advertising is the user base, which are mainly business professionals. Similar to Facebook, you have the ability to target specific groups through location, titles and demographics, for example.
  • Con: Although there is a higher conversion rate, this platform provides a very low click through rate. Generally, the users behind the clicks are much more qualified than compared to other social media networks.
  • Cost: LinkedIn is one of the more costly networks, averaging of up to $4-5 per click.  However, since it hosts a greater audience quality, your campaign reaches only those who are immediately interested, which may be worth the extra cost.


Create an Advertisement
Now that you’ve determined your campaign goals and the appropriate channel to use, you can begin to create your advertisement. Consider the following when developing the campaign:

  • Be consistent: Create the ad so its parallel with your company message and culture
  • Be informal: Use language that is similar to how your audience converses over social media
  • Be honest: Display your brands uniqueness and culture so your advertisements appear genuine
  • Be concise: You only have a few moments to grab their attention so be sure to make a good impression
  • Be obvious: Incorporate a call-to-action, make it clear what you want them to do
  • Be visual: Always include images for a greater impact and the potential to increase click through rates

Advertising through social media has created endless possibilities. To use it effectively, you need to be frequently engaged, create quality resources for your audience and analyze the metrics provided. Only by analyzing your outcomes and productively utilizing the appropriate channels, will your company be able to refine its voice on social media and truly communicate with the right audience.

Rebecca Reynolds
Marketing & Events Assistant

 

Sources
www.pennapowers.com
www.hootsuite.com
www.hubspot.com


 






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Nurturing Relationships with Sponsors

Posted on August 10 2016 | Author: Kelly Laidlaw

Congratulations! You created an attractive service offering that provides great benefits to corporate sponsors.  Next, you entered into formal business partnerships with corporate sponsors. But how do you nurture these relationships so that they last? Below are some ways to ensure long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with your valued sponsors.

Know your sponsors. Take the time to truly understand their short-term and long-term strategic business goals in order to help them succeed. Also, learning their preferred communication style (phone, email, face-to-face, etc.) will help to enhance communication and strengthen your partnership.

Don’t play favourites. Make it a priority to treat each sponsor fairly regardless of company size or sponsorship level. Maintaining a list or chart to track the benefits that each sponsor has received will ensure that everyone is presented with equal opportunities. Also, it’s important to set clear expectations about how you’ll approach competitors.

Set clear expectations. This will help minimize disappointments and misunderstandings to ensure that both parties are in agreement of what the partnership entails. Manage any conflict that should arise with grace, and your relationship could grow stronger because of it.

Be thoughtful. Seemingly small things such as pronouncing names correctly and remembering birthdays go a long way to show that you value and appreciate your business relationships.

Promote your sponsors. You partnered with your sponsors because you believe in their company, so let your network know how much you value the partnership. This could lead to mutually beneficial relationships between those in your network and your sponsors. Promoting your sponsors on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) websites, newsletters, blogs, events, and by word of mouth will provide your sponsors with recognition and industry visibility to a target audience that they may otherwise not have the chance to reach.

Be honest and transparent. Let your sponsors know what you’re up to by sharing your success stories, sending them your company newsletters, and inviting them to attend industry events with you. All of these are opportunities to build your relationship while letting your sponsors understand your mission. Plus, sharing this information with your sponsor may spark new ideas for collaboration.

Ask for feedback. Check in with your sponsors frequently to ensure that they’re getting what they need from the partnership, and ask if there is any room for improvement. This may develop into a great opportunity to discuss new ideas or to discover additional ways that you could collaborate. 

Treating your sponsors with honesty and respect, while returning value to the sponsors, is a surefire way to ensure your valued relationships last.

 

Kelly Laidlaw
Program Manager, Corporate Relations
 






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Maximizing Online Entrepreneurship Education Opportunities

Posted on July 27 2016 | Author: Carolyn Dowling

There are numerous online educational opportunities that can be accessed to enhance your personal or professional aptitude beyond the textbooks and lectures of conventional school learning. The demand for online courses is rapidly increasing due to the shear increase in accessibility to and reliance on high-speed Internet, the explosion of “convenience culture” fostered by Generations X and Y, and the rise of “Do-It-Yourself” and entrepreneurship. Since entrepreneurship is the name of the game for Bioenterprise, maximizing free online education is critical for our entrepreneurs from where to begin with a concept for a new technology, product or service all the way down the commercialization pathway for how to secure retail shelf space and investment.

Although a number of Canadian colleges and universities have started to offer in-class and online entrepreneurship training and education, there may be limited industry-specific case studies, examples, and resources available through these academic routes. It is often beneficial to test-drive these programs through a free online portal and create your own curriculum that you can then complement with other industry sources. If you discover some courses with fees, be sure to investigate if an “audit” option is available, so that you can determine what works for you without necessarily investing your hard-earned dollars.

One of the most popular online platforms is massive open online course (MOOC) provider, Coursera. Although the options range from business to data science to engineering, all courses are based on a professional compilation of short video lectures, interactive quizzes, some peer-graded assessment, and virtual forums for connecting with fellow learners and instructors from top universities and colleges. For example, the University of Maryland offers an Entrepreneurship Specialization composed of three top-ranked courses: “Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship”, “Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace”, and “New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs”.  These courses provide a general introduction to entrepreneurship, industry, markets and capital.


EdX is another virtual MOOC provider founded by Harvard University and MIT to offer courses from the world’s best institutions covering most of the same topics as Coursera. Again, EdX offers a number of programs in the entrepreneurship stream. Specifically, “Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer?” is a good place to start to identify the right direction to take your business in.

Aside from the virtual classrooms offered by Coursera and EdX, the enterprise-learning portal, Degreed, offers a curated collection of articles and videos from online resources. Specifically, Degreed’s “Entrepreneurship Learning Pathway” includes a series of lessons from a foundational overview of entrepreneurship to practical applications of entrepreneurship in action.  Some of the advanced topics include “Women Entrepreneurs”, “Economic Development” and “Global Perspective”.

MaRS Discovery District is a notable Canadian hub connecting entrepreneurs with resources, talent, and tools necessary to succeed. One of their flagship resources is the “Entrepreneur’s Toolkit”, which include a library of resources, hands-on workshops, as well as Canada’s largest live and online entrepreneurship course, “Entrepreneurship 101”. MaRS also offers a Certificate in Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the University of Toronto if you want to take your online learning to the next level. More recently, MaRS introduced the online portal “Bizsmarts”, which is a joint project with Futurpreneur Canada and Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) that provides a wealth of resources from basic start-up costs up to raising investment dollars.

Whether you are considering starting a business on your own or expanding your current business, knowledge is an invaluable tool in the entrepreneur tool belt. The examples above are but a few of the online education forums available for entrepreneurs. Keep in mind the same theory applies to all free online programs – you get out what you put into it. Ongoing engagement with peers and instructors, studying real-life scenarios and case studies, and finding programs that are relevant to your company, stage, product/technology, goals and even tailored to your learning style will be critical success factors in maximizing your online education experience.
 

Carolyn Dowling
Senior Analyst

Sources:
http://www.startupist.com/2015/01/06/entrepreneurship-in-coursera-three-courses-you-should-sign-up-for-this-january/
http://articles.bplans.com/11-excellent-free-online-courses-for-entrepreneurs/

 






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What’s the Difference – HACCP vs HARPC?

Posted on July 22 2016 | Author: Admin

There is some confusion over HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and the more-recent food-safety plan, HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) that is part of FSMA.

Just to recap, 6 out of 7 rules of FSMA have now been published, and if you are a U.S. based food operation, you need to be actively working out how to comply.  One of the key questions that food processing companies are struggling with is how to use HACCP to shift to HARPC. So what’s all the fuss about?  What are the main differences between these two systems?

HACCP is a global standard that was developed in the late 1950’s by a team of engineers from Pillsbury, the U.S. Army’s Natick Research Labs and NASA which joined forces to make a global food safety standard in line with Codex Alimentary. Originally the point of developing a HACCP System was to ensure quality and food safety, specifically for the manned space program.  In 1974, the U.S. FDA incorporated its concepts into its low acid and acidified food regulations, and by the end of 1980’s, McDonald’s started requiring all of its suppliers to adhere to HACCP in order to ensure the food being served in its restaurants were safe. The key motivation for implementing HACCP was not the requirement to meet regulations.  The real motive for implementing HACCP was simply to gain more market share.  Most large companies followed McDonald’s lead and HACCP became the standard to measure food safety. Later, in 1989, the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) published the first official HACCP document, which standardized the process by presenting seven principles as follows:
 

  1. Hazard Analysis
  2. Critical Control Point Identification
  3. Establishment of Critical Limits
  4. Processes for Monitoring
  5. Corrective Actions
  6. Record Keeping
  7. Establishment of Verification Procedures.

At this point in time, the standard for food safety was very clear, and HACCPs use spread globally. In contrast, HARPC is not a global standard, but an updated U.S. standard that was incorporated into the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on July 4th, 2012. HARPC applies to almost all-food processing facilities in the United States.  The only facilities not required to comply with HARPC are those subject to the Standards of Produce Safety, those already governed by HACCP and those facilities regulated by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for Dietary Supplements. Small and very small businesses, as defined by FDA are also exempt.  HARPC requires facilities to:
 

  1. Conduct a hazard analysis for all food processing procedures
  2. Develop and implement preventative controls, and then monitor their effectiveness
  3. Provide a detailed plan in writing, describing how the hazards will be controlled, the preventative controls, and a schedule and method for monitoring the controls
  4. Verify the effectiveness of the controls and maintain written records of the verification
  5. Re-analyze the HARPC Plan at least every three years; more often as new product lines are added or changes are made to equ