Dairy Farmers of Ontario encourages farmers to participate in ongoing consultations
By Kaitlynn Anderson
Some producers may be disheartened by evidence revealed in the summaries put together by the Government of Canada for the updated Food Guide.
Evidence for the first guiding principle – a variety of nutritious foods and beverages are the foundation for healthy eating – describes the associations between certain foods and diseases. One, which may alarm livestock producers, is the relationship between red meat and colorectal cancer.
Health Canada’s report noted that increased red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund’s 2011 Continuous Update Project report. Beef, goat, lamb and pork were all included in this category.
In fact, Health Canada wants Canadians to shift toward a more plant-based diet, according to a breakdown of the guiding principles published by the Government. This shift includes not only reducing red meat intake but also substituting saturated fats (cream, cheese and butter) with foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat (avocado, nuts and seeds).
And ag commodity organizations are concerned.
“This recommendation (on dairy substitution) would impact Canada’s dairy farmers if consumption of these products decreases,” said Laural Adams, communications manager at the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.
“It is important to note that milk products, even the full fat versions, have not been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, they have been associated with reduced risk.”
In the first phase of the consultation, Canadians made 19,873 submissions. Of these contributions, 5,096 submissions came from professionals and 461 submissions came from organizations. The food industry represented 265 of these professionals and organizations.
However, members of the agricultural sector still have a chance to be heard in the second phase of the public consultation.
“Dairy farmers should be worried about the recommendations,” said Adams. “We are encouraging them to participate in the online consultation to share their perspective, as well as to share their concerns with their MPs.”
Health Canada extended the deadline for recommendations and discussions on the Food Guide to August 14. There are multiple ways to participate, including online discussion forums and surveys.
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