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CFIA reviewing food label guidelines

CFIA reviewing food label guidelines

Changes could be coming to how foods receive certain designations

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is considering updates to how foods in Canada receive two designations.

On Monday, the CFIA launched public consultations on proposed changes to what “Product of Canada” and “Made in Canada” mean on food labels. Canadians have until June 29 to weigh in on the topics.

Under the current rules, a “Product of Canada” label means more than 98 per cent of ingredients, processing and labour are used to make a food product in Canada.

A jar of pickles, for example, made from Canadian cucumbers, pickled and jarred in Canada using Canadian labour, couldn’t use the “Product of Canada” claim if the jar contained imported vinegar, the CFIA said.

A change to the rules would lower the ingredient threshold to 85 per cent. So, that same jar of pickles could be labelled as a “Product of Canada” because the imported vinegar makes up less than 15 per cent of the product.

The CFIA defines a “Made in Canada” product as “when the last substantial transformation of the product occurred in Canada, even if some ingredients are from other countries.”

Current rules dictate that a qualifying statement must be used to inform consumers that a product contains imported ingredients.

A change to the regulation would remove the qualifying statement.

So, a jug of orange juice, for example, could say “Made in Canada” instead of “Made in Canada from imported ingredients.”

Discussions about food labels are trendy right now because people want to be more informed about where their food comes from, said Clinton Monchuck, executive director of Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan.

“You definitely have consumers who look at labels a little bit closely to understand what they’re buying,” he told Farms.com. “I think that’s a good thing in terms of making sure they’re knowledgeable about the food options they are making.”

Ultimately, however, price is usually the deciding factor into what goes into a customer’s grocery cart, Monchuck said.

GLYPHstock/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo

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