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New OMAFRA investments focus on food safety

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March 15, 2023
By Bree Rody

The Ontario government is investing more than $343 million over five years to support agri-food research and innovation, thanks to a new agreement with the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. The Alliance is a collaboration between the province, the University of Guelph and the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario.

The funding will be used for research focusing on food safety and animal welfare and support the development of a highly skilled workforce that will lead to more economic growth opportunities for the agri-food sector.

The Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance supports fundamental programming to help farmers and the broader agri-food sector build resiliency by:

  • Managing threats to food production and food security such as African swine fever and avian influenza.
  • Advancing science, research, innovation and commercialization of new products, processes and practices that support the long-term success of the agri-food system.
  • Building a future skilled workforce and develop talent that will advance Ontario’s agri-food sector including veterinary medicine in the agri-food sector and rural communities.
  • Maintaining and maximizing use of the network of state-of-the art research centres owned by the Government of Ontario through its agency, the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) and managed by the University of Guelph through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance.

The renewal of the Alliance for an additional five years builds on the success of the government’s previous agreement, which increased Ontario’s GDP by $1.4 billion and supported more than 1,300 jobs. Research investments that led to new businesses in Ontario include:

  • Clēan Works, a $7 million agri-food innovation company with 12 employees that has commercialized a novel waterless process called Clēan Verification for decontaminating fresh and frozen produce, proteins, dried goods and shipping containers.
  • Escarpment Labs which provides unique, local and accessible yeast cultures to both local and global beer producers.
  • Psigryph Inc. which delivers a naturally derived nano-delivery technology that can increase bioavailability to improve the health of humans, animals and environment. This innovative company was recently named one of Canada’s “most investable” cleantech companies by Foresight Canada.

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