ICYMI: Fallout from health minister’s advice, Planet Organic to close all locations, and more

Here are five stories you might have missed in food news this week

Last week, we reported that Canada’s health minister was advising Canadians to stockpile food and medical supplies to prepare for the risk of coronavirus contraction. Since then, social media feeds across the country have been inundated with posts depicting empty shelves at stores like Costco and Walmart. 

This week, Health Minister Cameron Friesen of Manitoba stated that after speaking with Ottawa's Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the two are in agreement that the initial statement was not effectively communicated, and that stockpiling supplies is unnecessary. 

The two ministers weren’t the only ones working on mitigating coronavirus misinformation this week. The Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice launched the Stop the Spread campaign this week in Toronto in an effort to combat coronavirus-related racism and xenophobia. Working alongside Toronto-based agency The Hive, the council’s campaign included handing out bottles of branded hand sanitizer and challenging people to rethink their actions and attitudes toward the Asian community. 

Here are five stories you might have missed in food news this week.

Health Minister’s advice leads to empty shelves

Last week Canada’s health minister advised Canadians to stockpile food and medical supplies in case of coronavirus infection. Since then, a relative panic ensued, leading to empty shelves at stores across the country. 

This week, after speaking with Canada’s health minister, Manitoba’s health minister said in a statement that the initial call for preparedness wasn’t effectively communicated. He added that it’s never a bad idea to ensure you have medication at home, but stockpiling other supplies is unnecessary. 

Head to the National Post for more on the state of Canadian supplies and check out Global News for more from Manitoba’s health minister.

Planet Organic closing all locations

Back in early December, we reported that Planet Organic was facing numerous accusations of unpaid invoices from its suppliers. At the time, Planet Organic indicated it was committed to finding a payment solution; however, this week, the company announced that all 11 of its locations will be closing. Between 300 and 400 jobs will reportedly be affected, but many have suggested that neither its employees nor its suppliers are likely to see any compensation. 

Find the full story at the Calgary Herald.

Chinese Canadians stand up to coronavirus-related racism

The Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice launched a “Stop the Spread” campaign this week in Toronto, aimed at combating misinformation and racism related to the coronavirus. In addition to being subject to blatantly toxic behaviour, multiple Asian-owned businesses across the country have reported a decline in business since the initial outbreak, with some reporting sales drops of up to 80 per cent.  

Find out more at Global News.

Federal funding to make food more accessible in Halifax

Hope Blooms Youth Social Entrepreneurial Ventures is set to receive $25,000 in federal funding from the Local Food Infrastructure Fund to help it continue its quest to increase food security and social inclusion in Halifax. The funding will be used to create eight new cooking stations that will allow an additional 70 at-risk youths and 65 families to come together to cook food, share meals, teach cooking classes, and support food entrepreneurs. 

Get the full breakdown from Newswire.

Founder of Trader Joe’s dies at age 89

Joe Coulombe opened the first Trader Joe’s in 1967 in California with the intention of selling high-quality international goods like olive oil and wine for a lower price. Coulombe was known for treating his employees well and offering full benefits. Today, there are more than 500 locations across 42 states. 

Head to Eater for more.