Health Canada proposes new label for ground beef


Health Canada proposes new label for ground beef

June 13, 2022

The label is for foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat

Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) expressed concern over a new healthy eating campaign that includes front-of-package (FOP) labeling for foods high in sodium, sugars and/or saturated fat in a recent post on their website.

In October 2016, Health Canada launched the Healthy Eating Strategy to “improve the food environment and help make the healthier choice the easier choice for all Canadians.” Part of that strategy included front-of-package (FOP) labelling. According to Health Canada, the intent of FOP labeling “is not to convey a warning, rather it aims to help reduce risks to health by providing consumers with quick and easy-to-use information on foods high in sodium, sugars and/or saturated fat.”

Despite a list of exemptions that include whole foods like whole cuts of meat, according to ABP ground beef is set to be labelled.

“Not all ground meat will require the FOP nutrition symbol,” reads a Health Canada release. “There are options within the ground meat category that are lower in saturated fat and would not be required to carry the FOP symbol (eg, extra lean ground pork or extra lean ground beef with 5% or less of its weight as total fat). ”

Proponents of whole foods like ground beef have a number of concerns, from minimizing the nutritional benefits with an oversimplified label to the possibility of trade implications. In a recent statement, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) shared that “Canada will be the only jurisdiction in the world placing a health warning label on its ground beef.”

The worry there is for potential trade implications. Approximately half of Canada’s beef is exported.

CCA is strongly urging Health Canada to exempt all classes of ground beef from FOP regulations.

“Farmers and ranchers produce a high-quality, accessible, affordable, and nutritious protein,” said Reg Schellenberg, CCA president. “It is a food source that Canadians rely on to feed their families. Health Canada is not sending the right message to consumers.”

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