Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

December 14, 2007 15:35 ET

Government of Canada Invests Over $300,000 to Boost Health Benefits of Beef

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Dec. 14, 2007) - The Government of Canada is investing $305,792 towards bringing to the marketplace Canadian beef enhanced with bioactive lipids considered to be beneficial to human health. The announcement was made today by James Bezan, Member of Parliament for Selkirk-Interlake, on behalf of the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board.

"This project will not only help open a new lucrative market niche for Canadian beef farmers but it will also provide Canadians with healthier food," said Mr. Bezan. "The Government of Canada is committed to supporting agriculture innovation as key to the sector's profitability and competitiveness."

This Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) led project will focus on the development of a strategic business plan for a commercialization pilot program featuring beef containing beneficial fatty acids. These fatty acids, such as Omega 3 and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), are known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. This is an essential first step in taking on the challenge of establishing bioactive lipid-enriched beef as a successful food product in Canada, much in the same way egg producers have developed and marketed Omega 3 eggs.

In addition to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) funds, the project will receive an estimated $96,000 of in-kind contributions through industry stakeholders.

"This is the type of government programming that allows groups like the CCA and the Beef Information Centre to work on innovative projects to help put dollars into the pockets of the Canadian cattle industry and offer additional value to our consumers," said Hugh Lynch-Staunton, CCA President. "The practices that increase the health benefits of beef are environmentally responsible, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing biodiversity."

The project involves all the key players from the beef industry value chain to ensure the most effective and successful production, processing and marketing of biolipid enriched beef onto the consumer's plate.

AAFC funding for this project falls under the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF) Science and Innovation Broker Program. For more information about the Broker Program please visit AAFC Online at: www.agr.gc.ca/broker-courtage.


BACKGROUNDER

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association, established in 1932, is a national association representing the interests of Canada's 90,000 beef producers. Twenty-seven producers from eight provinces make up the Canadian Cattlemen's Association board of directors, structured to represent every phase of the production system: the purebred, cow/calf, backgrounding and feedlot sectors.

The association assists the development, adaptation to new ideas and technologies, and prosperity of the Canadian beef industry while working closely with other sectors of the agriculture and food industries on matters of mutual concern.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association is involved in a wide range of issues that are of concern to Canadian beef producers such as trade, animal health, environment and animal care, fiscal and monetary policy, and grading/inspection.

Bioactive Lipids are fatty acids that have a beneficial effect on living tissues and cells. Examples are omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid and oleic acid. Through managed feeding on grasses, forage and oilseeds, such as flax and sunflower seeds, the bioactive lipid levels in beef cattle can be increased.

Omega-3 fatty acids include ALA, DHA and EPA. Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) is the parent omega-3 fatty acid and is essential to human health because it cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from food, such as meat. ALA is the predominant omega-3 fatty acid found in beef cattle.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a derivative of linoleic acid (LA). CLA is produced as a result of the metabolism of linoleic acid during the rumination process in beef cattle, dairy cows, sheep and goats. Linoleic acid is also a precursor of trans-vaccenic acid which is transformed into CLA in beef tissue and in the human body. Beef cattle take in linoleic acid through feeding on grasses, forage and oilseeds, such as sunflower seeds. Beef and dairy products are almost the only sources of CLA in the human diet.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (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. AAFC's current Agricultural Policy Framework (APF) Science and Innovation Broker program aims to create and support "broker" organizations and activities working between the agricultural sector, industry, government and universities to accelerate the identification of new strategic innovation opportunities.

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Media Relations
    613-759-7972
    1-866-345-7972
    or
    Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Patrick J. McCloskey
    Press Secretary
    613-759-1059