National Newswatch

Cattlemen’s campaign appears to have changed Health Canada’s plans.

Ottawa–A campaign by beef and pork groups against a proposed federal health warning label has paid off with the government’s announcement in late June that those products will be exempt when labels come into effect in 2026.

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), which led a concerted public and an online campaign against the label after it became public, said it was pleased the government “listened to our sector’s concerns and reversed the policy proposal on ground beef and pork–nutrient-dense, affordable proteins. Thank you to all beef and pork producers and consumers across the country for raising the issue with elected representatives.”

CCA President Reg Schellenberg, said “Canadian families rely on ground beef as a nutritious and affordable food staple and an important contributor to food security. We are pleased with Health Canada’s decision to omit ground beef from requiring a misleading warning label.”

Rick Bergmann, Chair of the Canadian Pork Council, said “We’re pleased Health Canada is exempting ground pork along with other nutritious foods such as milk, eggs, vegetables, and fruit from a front-of-package label. Ground pork is a convenient, whole food that contributes essential nutrients many Canadians need more of in their diets.”

Chris White, President & CEO of the Canadian Meat Council, said, “CMC is pleased that Health Canada is exempting ground meat like most other countries. This exemption will ensure that our members can continue to export their products without additional challenges, allowing us to keep feeding the world and Canadians with our world-class protein.”

Almost 50 per cent of beef consumed in Canada is ground beef and more than 90 per cent of Canadians consume ground beef on a weekly basis, CCA said. Ground beef is one of the most popular and trusted sources of protein and an incredibly important source of revenue for the beef industry.

The regulations announced in late June by Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos “demonstrate a recognition of what consumers, farmers and ranchers know well, beef and pork are wholesome sources of high-quality protein that are important staples in Canadians’ diet.”

The warning labels that will have to be displayed on packaged foods that are high in saturated fat, sugars and or sodium. The new nutrition symbol includes a magnifying glass and text to draw attention to important information Canadians should consider as they are buying groceries. The symbol will complement the Nutrition Facts table displayed on the back of food packages.

Front-of-package nutrition labelling is a key part of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, which aims to improve the food environment in Canada, make it easier for Canadians to make informed food choices, and lower the risk of diet-related chronic diseases. Other components of the Strategy include the updated Nutrition Facts table and Canada’s food guide, which offers recipe ideas, tips for healthy eating, and healthy eating resources.

 

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