Baby chickens ‘cooked alive’ at hatchery, animal rights group contends

CBC Marketplace investigation: Allegations of abuse at Maple Leaf Foods facility

A worker at Horizon Poultry in Hanover, Ont., sorts baby chicks by sex. The company, owned by Maple Leaf Foods, is accused of mistreating the young birds by an animal rights group.

By Megan Griffith-Greene
A worker at Horizon Poultry in Hanover, Ont., sorts baby chicks by sex. The company, owned by Maple Leaf Foods, is accused of mistreating the young birds by an animal rights group.

A worker at Horizon Poultry in Hanover, Ont., sorts baby chicks by sex. The company, owned by Maple Leaf Foods, is accused of mistreating the young birds by an animal rights group. (CBC)

Megan Griffith-Greene is an associate producer at award-winning current affairs television show CBC Marketplace, Canada’s consumer watchdog. Marketplace airs on CBC TV Fridays at 8:00 p.m. (8:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador).
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Maple Leaf Foods ‘disturbed’ by supplier turkey farm video, promises action

Maple Leaf Foods is facing allegations of animal mistreatment at one of its chicken hatcheries, in the wake of troubling undercover footage shot by an animal rights group and shared exclusively with CBC News.

The video was shot by an employee of the animal rights group Mercy For Animals Canada who got a job working at Horizon Poultry in Hanover, Ont., and used a hidden camera to document events there over a six-week period.

Horizon is a chicken hatchery owned by Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s leading retailers of chicken.

Canadians consume more than one billion kilograms of chicken every year, and Maple Leaf sells both raw and processed chicken under multiple brands, including Schneiders, Maple Leaf Natural Selections and Maple Leaf Prime.

The video, recorded over several weeks at the hatchery, captures a number of questionable practices.

The footage shows dead chicks coming out of a dishwasher, likely as a result of getting their feet caught in baskets that go into the high-temperature washer. When the undercover worker asks how they die, an employee laughs and says, “They boil! I have no sympathy for them anymore.”

The footage also shows an employee euthanizing sick and injured chicks by dumping several large baskets of chicks into a mechanical macerator and pushing them into the grinder with a squeegee.

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Raw video of controversial hatchery practices:

Using a macerator to euthanize chicks is an accepted industry practice and considered humane according to industry guidelines. The guidelines were written by a group that includes industry, researchers and government.

However, the codes of practice explicitly state: “Chicks must be delivered to the macerator in a way that prevents a backlog of chicks at the point of entry … without causing injury or avoidable distress.”

Other footage shows workers picking up birds by their wings and tossing them. The undercover worker who shot the footage wrote detailed notes of the hatchery’s operations, and said that it was a fast-paced environment and that he was expected to sort 1,750 chicks every hour.

Hidden camera video of the undercover employee’s performance review shows a supervisor telling him that he is under his production goal.
Meat company suspends employee

Maple Leaf Foods has a public animal welfare policy that states that the company takes a zero-tolerance stance on animal cruelty.

“Everyone involved in the raising and processing of animals and poultry, from producers and transport workers to all of our employees, are required to adhere to good animal handling practices in accordance with industry guidelines, serving as stewards of the animals entrusted to their care,” the policy states.

Maple Leaf Foods ‘disturbed’ by supplier turkey farm video, promises action
Turkey farm video shows ‘gaping hole’ in government animal welfare oversight​

CBC notified Maple Leaf about the video from Horizon, and showed footage to the company. In response, Ben Brooks, general manager of poultry operations, issued a statement:

“The employee who was overheard making callous remarks on the video does not reflect the values of our workforce or culture, and her comments violate our animal welfare program. The employee has been immediately suspended without pay.”

Brooks responded to the allegations that chicks were killed in the dishwasher, writing that the company is “reviewing procedures and practices at this location to ensure that live chicks are removed safely at all times, as they should be.”

After consulting with an independent expert about footage of a worker dumping several baskets of chicks into the macerator, the company stated that the squeegee was used to space the chicks out, not push them through, and that this is not inconsistent with the company’s welfare guidelines.

The company also told the CBC that, “the amount of chicks entering the line did not have a significant impact on animal welfare.”

However, Brooks says that the company is, “going to review the proper care and handling of chicks with our employees and our requirement that they remove them [to the macerator] one box at a time.”

Brooks also wrote that, “we do not promote speed at the expense of animal welfare, nor do we enforce production quotas.”
Treatment ‘completely unacceptable’

Veterinarian Dr. Mary Richardson, an animal welfare expert, was shocked by the video.

“I think the workers are showing such a lack of care and respect for the chicks. It’s almost like they’re widgets in a factory line,” she told CBC Marketplace co-host Erica Johnson.
Mary Richardson

Veterinarian Mary Richardson says we owe it to animals to treat them humanely. (CBC)

“We owe it to animals to treat them humanely, and in this case it’s clear that they are not being treated humanely or respectfully at all,” she says.

Richardson was particularly alarmed by the footage showing dead chicks in a dishwasher.

“What seems to be happening is they’re either being drowned or they’re being cooked alive, really, from the heat of the water, and neither of those methods are humane ways to kill an animal. So that’s completely unacceptable,” she says.

Richardson was also disturbed by footage showing the chicks being euthanized.

“The onus is on us when we use animals, and kill them for our own purposes, to do it humanely and there are laws in place to ensure that,” she says. “To me, these chicks are suffering a lot of anxiety and stress and pain, probably at the beginning before they’re even killed, and that’s not acceptable.”

Most agricultural facilities in Canada — including many farms and hatcheries — are not subject to mandatory animal welfare inspection by government, something animal welfare groups say needs to change.

Mercy for Animals Canada has filed a complaint with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which enforces provincial animal cruelty legislation, and the OSPCA is investigating.

“The government only inspects farms in response to complaints and those complaints are few and far between,” says Anna Pippus, a lawyer for Mercy for Animals Canada.

“The industry is self-regulated but they have proven time and time again that they are incapable of self-regulation.”

Pippus says the solution is for proactive government inspection for welfare issues, and more specific standards for farm animals.

She also says that farms could prove a commitment to animal welfare by live-streaming video from their operations, something the American Veterinary Medical Association has also endorsed.
Trouble with turkey breeder

This troubling footage comes only weeks after a Marketplace investigation detailed cruelty concerns at one of Maple Leaf’s turkey suppliers, Hybrid Turkeys.

CBC Marketplace: The trouble with turkeys

In that case, the video depicted disturbing conduct at a breeding barn in southwestern Ontario.

That video, also shot by an undercover employee working for Mercy for Animals Canada, showed birds with large open wounds, failed euthanizations and an employee advising the undercover worker to kick birds.

After the CBC report, Maple Leaf promised independent welfare audits at Hybrid’s facilities.

“We saw the video on Marketplace for the first time. We are very disturbed by the abuse shown — it violates our animal welfare policies and requirements of our suppliers, who receive eggs from Hybrid to grow their turkeys,” Maple Leaf spokesperson David Bauer wrote in a statement.

In response to the allegations, Hybrid Turkeys suspended four employees, including a supervisor, and launched an internal investigation. According to media reports, at least one employee has since been fired, and others have been conditionally reinstated.

Hybrid refused to confirm the report, saying that it does not comment on matters of personnel.

The OSPCA and OPP are also investigating that incident.

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Posted by on April 15, 2014 in FOOD SAFETY


Rise in beef prices coming to Canadian restaurants, grocery stores

Beef prices rising across the country

Drought and feed prices are hitting Canadian wallets at the dinner table, as the cost of beef is rising this spring.

North American cattle ranchers say they’ve been forced to cut the size of their herds because of dry weather in recent years, including in California, Texas and prairie states and provinces.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said earlier this week the price of a pound of fresh beef is the highest it’s been since the mid-1980s.

The department also said the number of beef cows in America is at its lowest level since 1951.

That, along with the price of importing beef for businesses that choose to do so, is to blame for rising prices at delicatessens and butcher shops across Canada.

Delicatessens raising sandwich prices

“It’s a simple economic issue,” said Stanley Devine, owner of an Ottawa Dunn’s Famous Restaurant location.

“The demand for beef is still high, but the supply is low and that’s why prices are going up.”

Mtl Schwartzs Meat Prices 20140331

Smoked meat lovers will have to fork over a little more cash the next time they visit the iconic Schwartz’s deli in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/CP)

​Devine said he’s raising the price of a small smoked meat sandwich by 50 cents and a large sandwich by a dollar in a few weeks.

Schwartz’s deli in Montreal is also raising its prices for a regular sandwich by a dollar this month.

The famous restaurant’s general manager told The Canadian Press they’ve never had to increase prices this much.

“We try to keep prices down, but as of April we’re definitely going to have to raise our prices,” said Frank Silva.

“I think a lot of customers will be upset, but they’ll see that right across the board it will be higher — groceries will be higher, everything is going to be higher.”
Costs up for farmers
Dan O’Brien Beef Price Farmer

Winchester, Ont. farmer Dan O’Brien says the price of buying a calf has nearly doubled in two years. (CBC)

Ottawa-area cattle farmer Dan O’Brien said he’s needing to buy cattle from other farmers to meet demand at the 60 restaurants he supplies.

He said he’s already increased his sale prices by eight per cent because it’s costing a lot more to buy a cow.

“A calf you could have got for $800 two years ago, today would cost you $1,400,” he said.

Many grocery stores have already started passing along this increase to customers.

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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in FOOD TALK!!


Video: Tim Urban from the website Wait But Why asked bartenders and other experts about how much you should tip and why. One finding: You should tip a waiter between 17 and 20 percent.

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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in FOOD TALK!!


Why Is Bacon Called Bacon? and Other Favorite Food Name Origins

It’s a little odd to think of the fact that every single word that we say, in any language, has its origins somewhere. From bacon to bread, the name of every single food in existence also got its start somewhere. We rounded up 10 of the most essential foods around, did some digging and tracked down where their names came from.

Click Here to see The Origins of More of Your Favorite Foods

Like most English words in general, the names of most foods are Latin in origin. But that doesn’t mean that every word has ancient roots: certain foods, like sandwiches, are named after people. Many foods have roots with the cultures that first brought them to English-speaking countries; foods that were popular with Eastern European Jews, for example, continue to bear monikers similar to the ones bestowed on them centuries ago.

The word “bacon” actually has a fairly lengthy back story, but the word itself has the same Old French origin as the word “back,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Back bacon is commonly found in England and is comprised of the loin with a small amount of belly attached.
John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, is largely credited with being this food’s namesake. While eating meat in between two slices of bread was initially more the domain of the lower classes (as a drinking food), the English aristocracy had appropriated it as a late-night snack by the 1700s. While this type of food was originally just called “bread and meat” or “bread and cheese,” the Earl’s friends took a shine to his regular requests for one in order to play cards one-handed, and began to ask the butler for “the same as Sandwich!” And a legend was born. Click Here to see More of the Origins of Your Favorite Foods Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/Thinkstock
By the late 1600s, bagels were one of the most popular foods in the Polish city of Krakow, where they were first invented. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the spelling at the time was bajgiel, from the Yiddish beygl, from the Middle High German böugel, from the Old High German bouc, which meant, not surprisingly, “ring.” Photo Credit: iStockphoto/ Thinkstock
The earliest word for butter was the Greek bouturon, meaning “cow cheese.” From there the Romans picked it up and started calling it butyrum, and it’s not too difficult to see how that word became butter. Photo Credit: iStockphoto/ Thinkstock Click Here to see More of the Origins of Your Favorite Foods
It’s common knowledge that the hamburger was named after the city of Hamburg, Germany. In the 1600s, Hamburg’s port was a main stop for ships coming from Russia, and Russians brought recipes for chopped steak tartare with them to the city. While the cooked patty version became fairly popular in Hamburg, the word hamburger was actually coined by restaurant owners in New York, in order to lure in recent German immigrants looking for a taste of home. Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/Thinkstock
French Fries
While it’s debated as to exactly when folks began taking large quantities of fat and deep-frying sticks of potatoes in it, there’s no debate that it began in Belgium. Belgian cuisine was assimilated into that of neighboring France, and soon enough “french fried potatoes” became popular in the U.S., first appearing in English in 1856. There’s a rumor that “French” actually refers to the way the potatoes are sliced, but the food item actually predated the technique known as ‘frenching.’ The U.S. is one of the only countries that calls them French fries; they’re chips in England, frites in France, and patatas fritas in Spain. Click Here to see More of the Origins of Your Favorite Foods Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/Thinkstock

The culinary world is a living, breathing thing, and new foods are being invented all the time. The current rage is portmanteaux, or the fine art of taking two food names and combining them into a completely new word. Take the Cronut, for example, invented last summer by pastry chef Dominique Ansel. It’s an amalgam of the words croissant (which is French for ‘crescent’) and doughnut, a word which was actually first written down by writer Washington Irving, who described them as “balls of sweetened dough, fried in hog’s fat” in his 1809 History of New York (they were most likely closer in resemblance to doughnut holes, which look more or less like “dough nuts”).

So next time you’re munching away on a bagel, take a second and remember that once upon a time, there was no word for that delicious orb of dough, and some baker thought long and hard before christening it accordingly. Maybe one day, when you’re tinkering around in your kitchen at 1 a.m., you too can invent a food that nobody’s ever eaten before, and you can invent a food name as well. In that case, we’d suggest brushing up on your Latin.

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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in FOOD TALK!!


Watch the Trailer for Jon Favreau’s upcoming movie “Chef”.




Here now is the trailer for writer/actor/director Jon Favreau’s hotly anticipated movie Chef. The film premiered at SXSW to largely positive reviews — see Eater’s interview with Favreau here — and is set to hit theatres nationwide in May. The trailer below finds Favreau as a chef who picks a fight with a critic on Twitter and ends up leaving the fine dining world to start a food truck which he brings all over the country. The star-studded cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt (as the critic), and Robert Downey, Jr.


· Chef [Apple Trailers]

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Posted by on April 8, 2014 in FOOD TALK!!


8 Beers That You Should Stop Drinking Immediately

Many of us choose what we eat very carefully, or at least dedicate our minimum attention to it. But when it comes to drinks, especially alcoholic beverages, we do little to make the best decisions for our health. Which is a HUGE mistake. All the work for your body can be ruined in a weekend out. While foods and non alcoholic beverages are required to list their ingredients and are monitored by the FDA, beer does not belong in either. Alcohol industry had lobbied for years to avoid labeling its ingredients. Some to protect its recipes, but most – to hide harmful ingredients.

Here’s some harmful ingredients that are commonly found in beer:

GMO Corn Syrup
GMO Corn
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Fish Bladder
Propylene Glycol
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Natural Flavors
GMO Sugars
Caramel Coloring
Insect-Based Dyes
& lots more!

Here are the 8 beers that are commonly found in bars in United States that you should stop drinkingimmediately.

1. Newcastle Brown Ale


The Newcastle beer has been found to contain caramel coloring. Class 3 and 4 caramel coloring is made from ammonia, which is classified as a carcinogen. “The one and only” beer with cancer causing qualities.

2. Budweiser


One of the most popular beers, or most advertised is Budweiser. Budweiser contains genetically modified(GMO) corn. In 2007, Greenpeace discovered experimental GMO rice in Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) beer.

3. Corona Extra


I used to love Corona’s commercials. They were so peaceful and relaxing. That is until I found out that the beer contains GMO Corn Syrup and Propylene Glycol. Propylene Glycol is controversial, and is said to may be potentially harmful to your health.

4. Miller Lite


This is another very popular beer in America that contains GMOs. Miller Lite contains GMO corn and corn syrup. It’s “GMO time”.

5. Michelob Ultra


Less popular but still readily available Michelob beer, should be eliminated from your choices. This beer has been found to contain a genetically modified sweetener (GMO dextrose).

6. Guinness


Guinness is often praised for it’s smoothness. However, several investigations proved that Guinness ingredients are quite disturbing. The beer contains fish bladder and high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup has been long banned from many stores and drinks.

7. Coors Light


Coors light is a drink that is very popular at bars and among college students. Mostly because its cheap. The beer contains GMO corn syrup.

8. Pabst Blue Ribbon


Pabst Blue Ribbon contains GMO corn and GMO corn syrup.

Healthy Beer Alternatives

So when it comes to beer you have to be very careful. Your best option is to find a microbrewery that you can trust. As with everything, try to avoid cheap, low-quality products. Bars may offer Coors Light, Miller Lite or Budweiser specials, but they are cheap for a reason. The rest of the world is banning GMOs everywhere, while USA is lagging years behind, and only several states offer GMO labeling laws. Try to stay away from any American beers. Choose organic beer. Beers that contain 100% organic labels, have to have ingredients that are all 100% organic. While an “organic” label just means 95% of it will be organic. European beer is most likely to be safe from GMO ingredients but unfortunately, most other beer contains GMO artificial ingredients, stabilizers, grains and preservatives, plus, HFCS.

GMO Free Beers:

Organic Beers (Unpasteurized & Unfiltered)

Wolaver’s – all beers
Lamar Street – Whole Foods label (brewed by Goose Island)
Bison – all beers
Dogfish Head (organic when ingredients available)
Fish Brewery Company – Fish Tale Ales
Lakefront Brewery – Organic ESB
Brooklyn – (organic when ingredients are available)
Pinkus – all beers
Samuel Smiths – Samuel Smiths Organic Ale
Wychwood – Scarecrow Ale

Non-Organic Beers (Unpasteurized & Unfiltered)

Sierra Nevada – all choices
Duck Rabbit – Brown Ale, Porter, Amber Ale, Milk Stout
Dogfish Head- 60 Minute IPA, Shelter Pale Ale, Chicory Stout
Shipyard – Summer Brew
Victory Brewery – Whirlwind
North Coast – Blue Star
Bridgeport – IPA (Bottle conditioned)
Ayinger – all choices
Royal Oak – Pale Ale
Fraziskaner – Hefeweisse and Dunkel Weisse
Weihenstephaner – Hefe Weissbier
Maisel’s – Weisse
Hoegaarden – Belgian Wit


Amstel Light
Duchy Original Ale Organic
Mill Street Brewery
Fuller’s Organic
Nelson Organic Ale
Natureland Organic

Share This with Fellow Beer Drinkers

It’s important to expose companies that use harmful ingredients in our products. This information is hidden from the public with millions of dollars of false advertising, laws, etc. You can always vote with your money. As this information about GMO beers spreads, we will see a decrease in production of these beers and the companies may eliminate the harmful ingredients altogether. Most importantly, when you hang out with your friends, you will be able to share beer that’s more delicious and healthier.

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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in FOOD TALK!!


CFIA Finds Whole Cantaloupe Samples Mostly Salmonella-Free

As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) routine testing of various food products, a study released today found that 99.8 percent of whole cantaloupe samples tested negative for the presence of Salmonella.

A total of 499 whole cantaloupe samples were collected and tested for Salmonella bacteria, which can cause a serious illness with long-lasting effects. One sample was found to be unsatisfactory due to the presence of Salmonella. The CFIA initiated a food safety investigation as a result of this unsatisfactory result, which led to a product recall (currently available at Library and Archives Canada). No illnesses associated with the consumption of any of this product were reported.

The CFIA has identified cantaloupes as one of the priority commodity groups of fresh fruits and vegetables for enhanced surveillance. This targeted survey focused on Salmonella and represents part of the collection of more than 3,500 cantaloupe samples over five years (2008/2009 – 2012/2013). The CFIA continues its surveillance activities and will make public its findings when available.

The overall finding of this survey suggests that the vast majority of cantaloupes in the Canadian market are produced and handled under good agricultural and manufacturing practices. However, cantaloupe contamination with Salmonella could sporadically occur. Consumers should follow these safety tips when choosing to purchase and consume cantaloupes and other melons at

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Posted by on April 6, 2014 in FOOD SAFETY


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