Did you know that there have been serious changes to the recommendations from the medical community about how parents should treat their very young kids around peanuts and products with peanuts in them?
The guidelines from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) are now recommending that children between the ages of 4-6 MONTHS be exposed to high-risk allergens like peanuts, eggs, and fish.
Despite the recommendations that my daughter had grown up with, there was no evidence to suggest that dietary restrictions on first foods helped reduce the occurrence of food allergies in children. In fact, there was a rise in food allergies and so recommendations were made to introduce these potential food allergens around 6 months of age, and on a regular basis.
In fact, in Israel there are virtually no children with peanut allergies. Perhaps not coincidentally, from a very early age, children in Israel are fed snacks containing peanuts.
Contrast that to North America where for many years the medical community advised parents to NOT feed their children snacks containing peanuts and yet there has been no decline in the number of cases of children with peanut allergies.
Canada’s newest superfood is microscopic, but its health benefits are huge. Phytoplankton – found in the ocean and considered the world’s original vegetable – is also known as microalgae, packed with omega fatty acids, vitamins A, C, D and K, beta carotene, dietary fibre, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron and protein.
The Karen brand of phytoplankton – a first-of-its-kind natural health product – is approved by Health Canada and according to company-led studies and anecdotal reports from those who consume it, Karen is effective in treating everything from digestive issues, inflammation, fibromyalgia and migraines to chronic pain, low energy and skin issues such as psoriasis and eczema.
The company behind Karen phytoplankton is New Brunswick-based Blugenics Innovations Ltd., which launched in November 2015. In one year alone, sales of its unique superfood have skyrocketed to $1.8 million. Company founder David Hunter credits Blugenics Innovations’ rapid growth to a remarkable discovery he made more than a decade ago when he decided to eat this “fish food.”
“At first I thought it was a joke, but when I agreed to try phytoplankton, it completely changed my life,” said Hunter, who was first introduced to the idea of eating phytoplankton while working at a fish farm, where phytoplankton was fed to shellfish.
For years, Hunter suffered from “barn-burning” migraines, chronic fatigue and severe allergies. Within days after taking phytoplankton, his health improved. “It affected me in such a profound way – I remember feeling as though I had my life back,” said Hunter, adding that his headaches and allergies are gone, his immune system is stronger and he sleeps better at night. “I haven’t had a cold in years,” he said.
Now, Hunter is on a mission to bring the health benefits of phytoplankton to all Canadians. Today, Karen phytoplankton is cultivated in a state-of-the-art facility that is certified according to strict global food safety protocols HACCP and ISO 22,000, meaning the product is non-toxic and entirely safe for consumption.
Recognizing that Karen is a “word-of-mouth champion” and that the majority of Karen users see the benefits within a couple of weeks, Hunter said the company’s focus is to get people to try the health food, offering Canadians from coast to coast a 30-day trial challenge with a full money back guarantee.
“Karen is a single ingredient superfood phenomenon similar to Quinoa, where you have this ancient product that is suddenly seeing a surge in Western society,” said Dr. Melanie Wills, a University of Guelph PhD student in molecular and cellular biology who is part of a team of researchers at Mount Allison University investigating the product’s effectiveness in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive problems.
Allergen-free, Karen is available over-the-counter at pharmacies, health food stores, and health and wellness centres across Canada in pure powder and tablet form for $49.99. A dermo-cosmetic moisturizing skin cream is available online for $59.99.
Add Karen Phytoplankton powder to smoothies, applesauce and yogurt, or simply mix it with water or juice and drink.
A new international market development strategy is the latest item on the menu offering BC’s agrifood and seafood products to the world. The strategy aims to build on the record $3.5 billion worth of B.C. products exported in 2015.
B.C.’s top five 2015 agrifood and seafood export markets were U.S. ($2.5 billion), China ($343 million), Japan ($190 million), Hong Kong ($62 million) and South Korea ($54 million).
The strategy focuses on providing programs and services that support three key areas: market knowledge, generating investment, and building networks, that collectively support success for B.C. companies in the marketplace.
Research has demonstrated that businesses entering new markets need market knowledge to succeed. The strategy emphasizes that by accessing customized market profiles, cost-competitive analysis and advisory services, as well as attending market readiness seminars and workshops, B.C. companies can be better informed and prepared to succeed in attracting new customers in new markets.
The strategy also highlights the value of government investment in programs that fund the development of new products, practices or technology, help B.C. companies prepare for and participate in targeted international marketing, and support an internationally recognized food safety and traceability system.
The top five agrifood exports in 2015 were $294 million in natural health products and food preparations for manufacturing; $218 million in blueberries; $159 million in baked goods and cereal products; $131 million in mushrooms; and $124 million in chocolate and cocoa preparations.
Export success or failure can depend on the quality and reliability of information and the established contacts on the ground in the new market. The Strategy highlights the value that having B.C. Trade and Investment Representatives in 13 international locations can provide in helping connect B.C. companies with buyers and trade representatives in key markets, as can participating in incoming and outgoing trade missions, and tradeshows and promotional events.
The strategy identifies the U.S., China, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong as priority markets for B.C. exports, as well as 17 secondary priority markets, and others with long-term growth potential. The strategy includes goals and targets for export growth, the diversification of export markets, the development of export capacity, knowledge and skills, and the opening of new markets for B.C. products.
B.C. food businesses exported more than 600 types of foods to over 150 markets in 2015 with exports reaching a record $3.5 billion.
The B.C. government’s Export Ready Business Catalogue is also now available in Chinese, Japanese and Korean and has been distributed through B.C. government trade offices in all three countries. The guide represents B.C.’s diverse agri-food and seafood sector, and includes profiles of about 100 B.C. producers of fruits and vegetables, seafood, meat, packaged food, natural health products and beverage makers, ready to export B.C. products.
Just in case you didn’t know, the week of September 12th – 18th is BC Farmers Appreciation Week.
In acknowledgement of B.C. Farmers Appreciation Week, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said, “British Columbia farmers are hard working people supporting their families and our communities by growing the foods that we enjoy every day. I ask all British Columbians to join me in celebrating and supporting them during B.C. Farmers Appreciation Week.
“B.C. farmers produce more than 300 farm products from both the land and sea and the food they grow, harvest and process are important to British Columbians. I’d like to thank all of you for support of B.C. agrifood businesses.
“In 2015, sales of B.C. agrifood products topped more than $13 billion, the highest ever. Meantime, the net cash income for primary agricultural production increased 21.5% in 2015 to $440 million, up from $362 million in 2014. We can thank B.C. farmers for helping us in reaching these milestones.
“The B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan identifies the next steps in our goal to grow the overall sector to a $15-billion-a-year industry by 2020. Farmers, growers, ranchers and the seafood sector will help us get there – it is a team effort.
“I’d encourage all British Columbians to experience your local farmers’ market, roadside stand or agrifood business during B.C. Farmers Appreciation Week and continue to support local businesses throughout the year. You will meet some incredible people producing innovative, safe, high-quality and great-tasting foods for your family, and play a direct role in supporting healthy and diverse communities, and our strong province.”
The BC Hop Company is hoping to quench the thirst for a key ingredient in B.C.’s growing craft beer sector.
In an effort to provide the B.C. industry with a consistent supply of high-quality and local dry hops, the BC Hop Company is building a processing facility in Abbotsford that will include new technologies currently in use in Europe, .
Jati Sidhu, Member of Parliament for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon, Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay, and member of the legislative assembly in B.C. for Abbotsford-Mission Simon Gibson announced $285,000 in funding for the Regional Hops Drying Kiln project through the Growing Forward 2 Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation program. The funding commitment was announced at a BeerBQ event at the BC Hop Company with hop fields in full bloom in the background.
The funding will be put towards innovative pieces of equipment that will kiln dry the hops under controlled conditions. The process helps reduce rancidity and the degradation of alpha acids and essential oils improving product colour and cone structure of the dried hops.
The technology is new to Canada and the goal is to produce a superior, world-class product so producers can remain competitive in both the local and international markets.
My favourite food truck, the Cheese Street Grill is back at their regular location just outside of the Poirier Recreation Centre in Coquitlam. Now, after I exit the gym after an intense work I can once again stop and grab a grilled cheese sandwich!
While I did not go for an intense workout in the gym today (truth be told, I am not sure that I have ever gone to a gym for an intense work out) I did manage to find time to stop and see Scott in the Cheese Street Grill food truck.
Scott set me up with a grilled three cheese sandwich on sourdough with extra caramelized onions, a mound of ham, and a dill pickle. It looked so tasty that I ate half the sandwich before I remembered to take a picture. For $11, this is still one of the best food truck values in the city.
While I was visiting with Scott he told me about an interesting new website – The Food Truck Post that he has developed. The site is designed to allow foodies to read a quick “bio” of all sorts of food trucks, see where food trucks are located, what food truck festivals and events are going on, and just as cool, the site allows people organizing events to contact food trucks directly to see what trucks might be able to come to their event.
Yes, there are other food truck apps, but so far, I am quite impressed with the way that the Food Truck Post dot com works.
BC’s Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick has introduced Bill 11, the Food and Agricultural Products Classification Act in the House so British Columbians can shop with confidence. The regulatory changes would allow the BC government to build on a commitment that requires all food and beverage products marketed as “organic” in BC to be certified under either a provincial or national certification program by 2018, and consider the certification of products made with BC ingredients in the future. If passed, the Food and Agricultural Products Classification Act will replace the Food Products Standards Act, Agri-food Choice and Quality Act, and the Agricultural Produce Grading Act
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