Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

October 30, 2007 17:02 ET

AAFC: Marking Twenty Years of Research for Safe and Better Foods

SAINT-HYACINTHE, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Oct. 30, 2007) - The Government of Canada is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's (AAFC) Food Research and Development Centre (FRDC) in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec.

"Canada's ability to produce safe and high quality foods is due in no small part to the expertise, professionalism, and dedication of our research community," said the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board. "This Government is pleased to recognize the scientific contributions of Agriculture Canada's Saint-Hyacinthe research team over the past 20 years."

Established in 1987, the FRDC was the first research centre dedicated entirely to food processing. It has since become the centre of a true agri-food technopolis. For 20 years, AAFC research teams in Saint-Hyacinthe and across Canada have worked together to increase knowledge of food systems and foster innovation and growth of the Canadian food industry. These research efforts have helped the food industry produce healthier foods with longer shelf-lives, and at lower costs.

Most recently, scientists at the research centre developed the Canasnack - a bite-sized sandwich cookie with maple, cranberry or blueberry cream filling developed specifically for space crew members. The snacks are shelf-stable, meet spaceflight requirements, taste great and provide valuable experience for scientists in the area of functional foods and nutraceuticals.

"The Canasnacks were great! They were a little bite that was out of this world! Others liked them too, it made me proud that Canada had contributed a great food for astronauts." said Canadian Space Agency astronaut Dave Williams upon his return from Mission STS-118 to the International Space Station where he shared the famous Canasnacks with his fellow crewmates.

Other leading-edge research projects at the centre include screening foods for viruses causing at least 80 per cent of food poisoning cases; working with an artificial stomach to study digestion and the survival of good bacteria; and using specific light wavelengths to determine the lycopene composition in tomatoes without destroying the fruit. Lycopene is a proven antioxidant found to reduce the risk of several types of cancers.

AAFC provides information, research and technology, and policies and programs to achieve security of the food system, health of the environment and innovation for growth.

Through projects such as researching the use of organic stone-ground flour in niche food products and enhancing the health benefits of soy, FRDC research is adding value to commodities and helping farmers harness new opportunities.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Patrick J. McCloskey
    Press Secretary