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Pork industry's loss, food banks' gain

lau-andree-52.jpg
by Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca

It's been a dismal last few years for Canada's pork producers, culminating last month in the beginning of an unprecedented cull. But the industry's collapse is giving Prairie food banks a helping hand.

With feed and fuel costs rising, Canada's 10,000 pork producers were hit by prices that plummeted to pennies per pound. The federal cull is designed to balance out supply.

pigs.jpg
(CBC)

More than 150,000 pigs, or 10 per cent of the country's breeding herd, will be killed off by this fall under a $50-million federal program.

The governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are covering the cost of processing the pigs so that some ground pork can be diverted to food banks.

Meat costs the Red Deer Food Bank, for example, $400 to $500 a week, so the shipments will be welcome. The first deliveries are expected this month. As much as 272,000 kilograms (about 600,000 pounds) of ground pork could go through Alberta's food bank shelves by the time the cull is over.

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Caitlin

Winnipeg

Just ground pork? No ribs or roasts? :-(

Posted May 21, 2008 08:23 AM

DM

Winnipeg

You ask about ribs or roasts, but don't forget that the animals being culled are young animals that would normally be shipped to the US to be fed up to market weight.

But since the US has their panties in a knot about labelling, the feeder operations down there are afraid to buy our animals for fear they can't sell them once the US sorts out the specifics of their new rules.

As a result, the animals that are being culled are well below market weight because we have mostly sow barns and don't have the facilities to grow the weanlings once they're off the sows teet. And little animals don't have enough meat on them to make ribs or roasts, so all that is practical is ground pork.

Posted June 11, 2008 12:36 PM

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Amber Hildebrandt Amber Hildebrandt writes for CBCNews.ca in Toronto. Growing up on a farm in Manitoba, she acquired an insatiable appetite, but it was during a stint in Japan that she developed her discerning tastebuds and "foodie" ways.

Andrea Chiu Andrea Chiu is an associate producer at CBC Radio Digital. Though she loves to eat, cook and discuss food, don't ask her to bake. It never turns out well. She tweets as @TOfoodie on Twitter and organizes food and wine events in Toronto called FoodieMeet.

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Elizabeth Bridge Elizabeth Bridge is a writer with the CBC Digital Archives in Toronto. She first ventured into the kitchen as a child to indulge a sweet tooth by baking cookies and making fudge. A student budget compelled her to be a vegetarian (for a while) and instilled in her an ongoing curiosity about food and cooking.

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