Don't Label My Beef!
Join thousands of Canadians fighting for Canadian farmers and ranchers and opposing warning labels on the ground beef we love.
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Health Canada is proposing regulations that would require ground beef sold in stores to carry a “high in” saturated fat warning label. This could lead consumers to believe that ground beef is unhealthy when in fact, it’s a nutrient-rich, wholesome source of protein that Canadians rely on.
Ground beef is a foundational food for Canadian families and a staple in households from coast to coast to coast. It’s one of the most affordable, convenient, and accessible sources of proteins available to Canadians.
Now, more than ever, we need to ensure Canadians continue to have access to affordable, accessible, and whole, nutritious foods, like ground beef. With inflation costs and food prices rising, we can’t afford Health Canada’s proposed warning label on ground beef. It risks affordability and has far-reaching negative economic and nutritional impacts on Canadians, especially the most vulnerable.
Like all meat, ground beef and ground pork are nutrient-dense, whole, single ingredient protein foods. However, based on the proposed Front of Package (FOP) regulations, ground beef and ground pork will be required to carry a FOP label identifying it as high in saturated fat.
The proposed regulations are scheduled to head to Canada Gazette 2 late spring of this year, and we are urgently requesting an exemption for ground beef on the saturated fat content, due to its nutritional value, limited impact on Canadians’ saturated fat intake, and to ensure we do not create trade implications in an already volatile but tight international market.
Other countries that have implemented FOP regulations have chosen to exempt all single ingredient whole foods, based on their nutritional value, including ground beef. Health Canada is doing the opposite.
We strongly believe ground beef should be exempt from Health Canada’s proposed FOP labelling, like other nutritious foods, such as single ingredient meat, milk, eggs, vegetables, and fruit. Ground beef is a nutrient-dense protein that provides critical iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and other essential nutrients deficient in many Canadian diets. Approximately half of the calories Canadians consume come from nutrient poor ultra-processed foods.
The Canadian beef sector recently shared new information with Health Canada suggesting that reductions in ground beef consumption will make a nominal impact, at best, on Canadians’ overall intake of saturated fat while at the same time putting vulnerable populations (including women and children) at risk of increasingly inadequate iron intakes and deficiency. Recent studies document inadequate dietary intakes of iron, which make it a nutrient of concern among women of child-bearing age. Further, recent analyses show that ground meat is a small contributor to the overall saturated fat Canadians are consuming.
Trade implications are also a concern, particularly in the U.S. where further protectionist policies, such as mandatory country of origin labelling are being considered. Approximately 50 per cent of Canada’s beef is destined for export markets; putting a warning label on Canadian beef will send a negative and potentially damaging signal to our trading partners.
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