Pork Producers Call for Exemptions from Mandatory Front-of-Package Nutrition Labelling for Ground Meat

Farmscape for June 17, 2022

Full Interview 4:00 Listen

Saskatchewan’s pork producers are calling on the federal government to follow the lead of other countries and exempt ground beef and pork from proposed front-of-package labeling that would require symbols indicating products are high in fat, sugar or sodium. Health Canada is proposing the introduction of mandatory front-of-package nutrition labelling for processed foods high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat.
Toby Tschetter, the Chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says the implications for pork and beef producers are concerning.

Clip-Toby Tschetter-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
Pork and beef and pork cuts are exempt from this front of packaging labelling but, if it’s ground up, Canada’s proposed changes would mean that the ground beef and ground pork would have to receive a front-of-package label. Assessment is based on raw product but much of the fat from ground pork and ground pork is removed through the cooking process. Other countries that have implemented these FOP regulations have chosen to exempt all single ingredient whole goods including raw meat. The advice that the government of Canada provides to consumers regarding healthy food choices would only be more important to Canadians as they rebound from a pandemic and navigate through all these fears regarding food security. At a time when inflation and food prices are at an all-time high, vilifying a traditional popular nutrient dense food like ground pork and beef that doesn’t serve well for Canadians. Ground meat should be exempt from the Health Canada proposed front-of-package labelling like other nutritious foods such as single ingredient meat cuts, milk eggs, vegetables and fruits. FOP labelling should address the really nutritious priority. Canadians need to reduce their consumption of highly processed foods. Statistics Canada reports approximately half the calories Canadians consume come from nutrient poor ultra-processed foods.

Tschetter says producers are also concerned with the potential trade implications of the proposal and the message it sends to Canada’s trading partners. He says around 70 percent of Canadian pork is designed to export markets and a warning label is not a positive thing if you need to send anything to your trading partner.

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       *Farmscape is produced on behalf of North America’s pork producers