These labels send a negative message to consumers, Alberta’s ag minister said
By Diego Flammini
More representatives in Canada’s ag community are voicing their opposition to a federal proposal which would put warning labels on some foods.
Members of Alberta’s provincial government are among the latest to oppose Health Canada’s move to put labels on the front of packages of ground beef and ground pork, veal and lamb, warning consumers about high levels of saturated fat in those products.
Placing those types of labels on single-ingredient items could hurt Canadian farmers, said Nate Horner, Alberta’s minister of agriculture, forestry and rural economic development.
“Ground meat, like other whole foods, is a healthy and affordable staple in the diet of many Canadians. Ottawa’s scientifically baseless labelling proposal for ground meat will unfairly affect families struggling with high costs of living and would be an extra kick to producers already working to get back on their feet,” he said in a June 13 statement. “Every Canadian should take pride in the fact that Alberta’s livestock producers drive economic growth by feeding the world with high-quality meat. Imposing these warning labels sends a negative message to customers and makes our producers less competitive in the global economy.”
Horner’s comments come after other members of the beef and pork sectors already raised concerns over these labels.
Should Health Canada move forward with these labels, ground beef, pork and other meats would be treated differently than other products.
Milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables, all single-ingredient items, are exempt from these labels.
Products should be on a level playing field to ensure consumers can make the best choices, said Dr. Melanie Wowk, chair of Alberta Beef Producers.
"Like other nutritious, single-ingredient foods that are already included such as meat, milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables," she told CTV. "We are asking, really, for a policy that is equitable for our industry."
Farms.com has contacted Health Canada about the possibility of ground beef and pork receiving the same exemptions as other single-ingredient foods.