Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A bizarre story of Japan, potato farmers, and Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie Claude Bibeau, which disintegrates into a mess of lazy reporting, exaggerated claims, misdirection and government incompetence once you lift the hood on what is really happening.
Mustard, fries in short supply due to Canada’s climate change woes
McDonald’s has been forced to downsize its fries in Japan due to flooding in Canada brought on by climate change.
Published 25 December 2021 at 1:39pm Source: AFP – SBS
A mix of drought in Canada’s prairies and flooding on its Pacific coast have brought about crop production and shipping woes now leading to international shortages of fries and mustard.
In Japan, for example, McDonald’s has been forced to ration fries as the British Columbia floods squeezed potato imports, while mustard producers in France are forecasting steep price increases because the drought in another part of Canada – the world’s biggest producer of mustard grains – cut supplies.
“When we look back at the state of the agriculture sector in 2021, we can say this year has been marked by extreme climate change weather events,” Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in a recent speech.
“That includes the worst drought in 60 years in Western Canada and the devastating atmospheric rivers in British Columbia,” she told livestock farmers and ranchers who’ve struggled to secure enough hay to feed their animals as pastures dried up.
…Read more: https://www.sbs.com.au/news/mustard-fries-in-short-supply-due-to-canada-s-climate-change-woes/40fab2fe-d266-4588-918d-d78eb3bcf527
Back in the real world there was no major drop in Canadian potato production – however the USA slapped a ban on potatoes from Prince Edward Island, because “potato wart” was detected in two fields on the island.
Trade cloud mars solid potato year
By Alex McCuaig
Reading Time: 2 minutesPublished: December 23, 2021
It was a good year for Canada’s potato farmers in 2021 with seeded and harvested acres and yields reaching levels not seen for more than a decade, according to Statistics Canada estimates.
However, significant challenges remain with Prince Edward Island, the nation’s largest producer, dealing with an export ban while a tough weather year in the West might mean production will fall short of being able to meet an increase in processing capacity.
Nearly 390,000 acres were seeded primarily in the three largest potato growing provinces of P.E.I., Alberta and Manitoba with production up more than 18 percent from 2020 and yields increasing from 293 cwt. to 322 cwt. this year, said the StatCan data released this month.
Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of Potato Growers of Canada, said the initial indications of a good harvest this year proved to be accurate despite some areas where weather impacted producers in the western provinces.
Compared to 2020, which saw production dip, 2021 has turned into a rebound year for the growers, he said.
But challenges in the form of excessive heat on the Prairies this summer and a November federal ban on exports of P.E.I. spuds to the United States due to potato wart in two fields on the island could take a bite out of this year’s bottom line.
…Read more: https://www.producer.com/news/trade-cloud-mars-solid-potato-year/
So if there is no big problem with production, what is going on?
McDonald’s rationing fries in Japan because of Canadian potato issue
Manisha Singh | Dec 23 2021, 4:51 am
Japan is experiencing a McDonald’s fry shortage, and there’s a Canadian connection to this problem.
Due to supply chain issues and BC flood damage, many potato shipments have not been able to get out of the port of Vancouver and have been significantly delayed.
Vancouver serves as a transit point for shipping services for McDonald’s Japan Co., hence the potatoes from North America left unable to get to the country.
“We import potatoes from North America on a large scale near the port of Vancouver, Canada, which is the transit point for shipping services. Import delays have occurred due to flood damage and the impact of the Corona disaster on the global distribution network,” the company said in a statement.
In light of the potato shortage, McDonald’s Japan has decided to sell their fries in a size small only and is offering a 50 yen discount at 2,900 restaurant locations nationwide.
…Read more: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/mcdonalds-japan-fry-shortage-vancouver
Hangon, North American imports, not Canadian? But imports via Vancouver? What about that company statement?
Temporary sales restrictions for “McDonald’s Potato ®” M and L sizes due to delays in importing potatoes from North America – Only S size will be sold at stores nationwide-
At McDonald’s Japan Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, President and CEO: Tamotsu Hiiro), we import potatoes from North America on a large scale near the port of Vancouver, Canada, which is the transit point for shipping services. Import delays have occurred due to flood damage and the impact of the Corona disaster on the global distribution network.
While it is difficult to procure raw materials in a stable manner, we have cooperated with importers and suppliers to proactively take alternative measures such as arranging airmail, and have continued to provide “McDonald’s Potato”. From December 24th (Friday) to December 30th (Thursday), 2021 <planned>, “McDonald’s Potato” including set menu will be sold only in S size so that many customers will continue to enjoy it without interruption. I will do it.
We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and inconvenience caused to our customers.Source: https://www.mcdonalds.co.jp/company/news/2021/1221a/ (translated via Google Translate)
When I first read the SBS story, I thought OK, maybe Canada had a production shortfall, and Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau was just taking an opportunity to score points by blaming the carbon demon. But digging deeper, McDonalds Japan appear to be saying they don’t even use Canadian potatoes – they import American potatoes via Vancouver. The real issue is only that Vancouver is experiencing transportation problems.
My opinion, the climate claim is likely just cover for the utter incompetence of British Columbia transport authorities, whose inability to handle Covid and bad weather is in my opinion likely the root cause of the Vancouver shipping chain mess which is hurting US potato exporters, and probably a lot of other businesses as well.